June 26, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame sophomore-to-be center David Inman (Toronto, Ont.) has been selected by the New York Rangers in the second round of the annual National Hockey League Entry Draft, as announced today at the Fleet Center in Boston.
Inman – who was the 59th overall pick due to various “compensatory picks” in the second round – becomes the first Notre Dame hockey player ever selected in the first two rounds of an NHL draft, since the draft’s inception in 1968. Four previous Irish players were selected in the third round of the NHL draft during the mid-1970s.
Selection by the Rangers holds extra significance for Inman, who was born in New York City and owns joint citizenship in both Canada and the United States. His mother Straughn, a native of West Virginia, and father Ron met while students at Yale University. The Inman family lived in Manhattan until David was three years old, before moving to Toronto. Due to his joint citizenship, Inman was one of 26 invitees to tryouts for the 1998-99 USA junior national team and could receive a similar invitation for the 1999-2000 U.S. junior team tryouts.
Inman – who was joined at the draft ceremonies by his parents and fifth-year Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin – was the 12th college player, the sixth college forward and the fourth player from a Central Collegiate Hockey Association school selected in Saturday’s draft. Only two college centers-incoming Northeastern freshman Michael Ryan (32nd pick) and Dan Cavanaugh of Boston University (38th)-were selected higher than Inman.
Several other current Notre Dame players could be selected in Saturday’s nine-round draft (information will be released if that is the case).
Just four previous Notre Dame hockey players have been selected with a higher pick in the NHL draft than Inman, who is the highest-drafted Irish hockey player (in terms of overall pick) since 1976. The previous Notre Dame hockey players (all wingers) that were selected in the third round include: Don Jackson (Minnesota, 1976, 39th pick), Alex Pirus (Minnesota, 1975, 41st), John Campbell (N.Y. Rangers, 1973, 46th) and Clark Hamilton (Detroit, 1975, 50th). (For the sake of comparison, it should be noted that the early selection of European-based players has become a common occurrence only recently in the NHL draft history. The 58 players selected on Saturday before Inman included 17 players from European leagues.)
Inman is a physically-gifted center who could be due for a breakthrough season with the Irish in 1999-2000. His physical attributes include a 6-1, 190-pound frame, great vision on the ice, strong skating ability and a rifle shot. Inman centered the Irish second line for most of the 1998-99 season, before sliding back to the third line for the final three weeks. He is Notre Dame’s third-highest returning scorer, after totaling 10 goals and 10 assists-plus a team-high 74 penalty minutes-as a freshman.
Inman will be part of a 1999-2000 group of Notre Dame forwards that includes nine players who have been drafted and/or played for USA Hockey (on a junior national team or with the developmental program).
Prior to joining the Irish, Inman led the Wexford (Ontario) Raiders to the 1998 Metro League title and a runner-up finish to the Milton Merchants in the Provincial League finals. He was named a 1998 Metro League all-star after leading the Raiders in overall goals (51 in 53 games, plus 69 assists), playoff goals (15, in 16 games) and playoff assists (25).
- College players must be 19 years old to be eligible for the entry draft and the respective NHL clubs maintain rights to drafted players even if they opt to continue will their college careers (as is the expected course of action for Inman).
- Four current Irish players were selected in the 1997 entry draft: senior-to-be forwards Ben Simon (by Chicago) and Joe Dusbabek (San Jose), junior-to-be defenseman Ryan Clark (N.Y. Islanders) and forward Kay Kopischke (Los Angeles).
- Five highly-regarded incoming Notre Dame players will be eligible for the 2000 draft: forwards Michael Chin, Connor Dunlop and John Wroblewski and defensemen Evan Nielsen and Paul Harris.
- Since the inception of the draft in 1968, 36 Notre Dame players have been selected by various NHL teams. Three previous Notre Dame players have been drafted by the Rangers: Campbell in 1973 and defensemen John Rushin (1991, 7th round) and Davide Dal Grande (1992, 6th round). Jackson’s 311 career games in the NHL included a final stint with the Rangers.
- In addition to Ryan and Cavanaugh, the other college players that were selected before Inman on Saturday included: Michigan D Jeff Jillson (14th), Wisconsin D David Tanabe (16th), Maine LW Barrett Heisten (20th), North Dakota D Mike Commodore (42nd), Minnesota D Jordan Leopold (44th), Rensselaer LW Matt Murely (51st), Michigan State RW Adam Hall (52nd), MSU D Andrew Hutchinson (54th) and Maine D Doug Janik (55th).
- Inman joined Jillson, Hall and Hutchinson as the four CCHA players taken in the first two rounds, tying with Hockey East for the college conferences with the most first or second-round draft picks (the Western Collegiate Hockey Association had three).
- Inman entered the draft ranked 19th on the NHL Central Scouting list for North American skaters but ended up being the 33rd North American skater selected. The 28 first-round picks included 10 players from European leagues, 14 players from U.S. and Canadian junior/minor leagues, three college players and one re-entry applicant. The 14 junior/minor picks in the first round included five players that hail from Europe (meaning that more than half of the first-round picks were European players).
QUOTES FROM DAVID INMAN
General comments about the draft process
“I had a lot of uncertainty about this whole afternoon and it was really draining. At times, it felt kind of disappointing but I realized that the draft is just one step to playing professional hockey some day. For now, making the most out of my Notre Dame career is the most important thing. I had the chance to meet some of the coaches and general managers. It was a neat experience and a real thrill.”
On being drafted by a team from his birthplace
“It’s kind of interesting that I could end up where my life started, back in New York City. I love New York City and the Rangers are one of the original six (NHL teams), so I feel real honored that they selected me. There were a lot of New York fans here and a they were coming up to me and asking for my autograph. I still feel real connected to Notre Dame but there’s a different feeling now after being drafted. It’s a great honor.
On his approach to the draft
“I tried to come in with an open mind and realized that things were out of my control. It was tough to sit and wait through that – it was very tedious and slow. But I knew that I was going to get picked sooner or later. It would have been a great thing to have been drafted in the first round and go up to the stage. But I’m still going to make the most of my opportunity and I was drafted by a great organization.”
Looking ahead to his sophomore season at Notre Dame
“I have high expectations of myself. Next year, being a sophomore, I expect to play a more important role on the team. I’ve done a bunch of interviews with teams during the past few weeks and the topic of improving my consistency and intensity was discussed-and those are things that will come with experience. Last season was a really good stepping stone for me and I’ve got to put it in perspective and look to help the Irish do even better next season. The experience and lessons that I learned as a freshman and during this draft process should help push me next year to be a player that my teammates can rely on.”
“I can’t wait until the season starts. We have a great class coming in and all the players that are coming back should be even better. We lost a great class to graduation, but there are a lot of other guys who will step up. We’re ready to make a run at a real successful season.”