June 23, 2007
Notre Dame, Ind. – Freshman defenseman Ian Cole (Ann Arbor, Mich.) became the first Notre Dame hockey player ever selected in the first round of the National Hockey League Entry Draft on Friday night when the St. Louis Blues called his name with the 18th overall pick of the draft. Following Cole, four other Irish players heard their names called in day two of the draft on Saturday afternoon at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Defensman Teddy Ruth was one of three Notre Dame players who played on the U.S. Under 18 team to be drafted by the NHL. He was a second round pick of the Washington Capitals.
Joining Cole were defenseman Teddy Ruth (Fr., Naperville, Ill.), who was selected 46th overall in the second round by the Washington Capitals; left wing Ryan Thang (So., Edina, Minn.) who was picked in the third round, 81st overall by the Nashville Predators; center Ben Ryan (Fr., Brighton, Mich.), a fourth round, 114th overall selection by Nashville and goaltender Brad Phillips (Fr., Farmington Hills, Mich.), who went in the seventh round, 182nd overall by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The five players selected are the most for Notre Dame since the 1997 draft when the Irish had four players picked – Ben Simon (5th round by Chicago), Joe Dusbabek (7th round by San Jose), Jay Kopischke (8th round by Los Angeles) and Ryan Clark (9th round by New York Islanders).
Cole, ranked 81st by the NHL’s Central Scouting in their final rankings, saw the Blues make a trade with the Calgary Flames to move up six places from 24th to the 18th spot to select the 6-1, 211-pound defenseman.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, St. Louis’ assistant general manager and director of amateur scouting, Jarmo Kekalainen said, “I think Ian Cole was one of the best defensemen on the U.S. team. He’s 214 pounds and strong as an ox and he can really move the puck.”
The same story had Blues’ director of hockey operations John Davidson say, “He’s a man. He’s got a great shot. He sticks up for teammates. Our guys really liked him. They loved his upside. He’s just a big man who can play the game and play it well.”
Cole played in 49 games for the U.S. Under-18 team in 2006-07 and had four goals and 16 assists for 20 points and 50 minutes in penalties. One of Team USA’s top three players at the Under-18 World Championships in April, he saw his rankings climb in the week’s leading up to the draft. He surpasses Rob Globke `04 as the highest drafted Notre Dame player in the program’s history. The Florida Panthers selected Globke in the second round, 40th overall in 2002.
Ruth was the next Notre Dame player to go in the draft as the Washington Capitals selected him in the second round. Cole’s defensive partner for most of the season with the Under-18 team, Ruth was the highest ranked Irish player as Central Scouting had him ranked 32nd. A 6-1, 199-pound stay-at-home defenseman, Ruth had five goals and 11 assists for 16 points in 39 games last season. He also had 64 minutes in penalties.
Incoming freshman center Ben Ryan was selected in the fourth round by the Nashville Predators.
The Nashville Predators took the next two Notre Dame players as they selected Thang in the third round and Ryan in the fourth. For Thang, who had a great freshman year for the Irish, it was a dream come true.
“It’s really an awesome feeling,” said Thang who is back at Notre Dame for the summer. “It’s great to have someone believe in you and pick you. But you have to take it with a grain of salt, because I know that I have a lot more work to do. I want to get faster and get stronger and put on some more weight. And there’s all the little things that I can work on to get better.”
Thang, who was Notre Dame’s rookie-of-the-year last season and a member of the CCHA’s all-rookie team, led Notre Dame in goals (20), power-play goals (10) and game winners (6) while finishing second in points with 41 in 2006-07. The sophomore-to-be had a feeling that the Predators would be calling sometime on Saturday.
“I had talked to several teams but met with Nashville a couple of weeks ago at home and had a strong hunch that they would pick me between the second and fourth round. It really is a dream come true.”
Joining Thang next season at Notre Dame and in the future in Nashville is Ryan. A 6-0, 195-pound center, Ryan played last season for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. He was third in scoring there with 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points. He scored 10 power-play goals and added two game winners while helping Des Moines to a 29-21-10 record and a first-round playoff upset of first-place Omaha. Ryan went into the draft ranked 37th in Central Scouting’s final rankings.
Goaltender Brad Phillips was the final Notre Dame player selected in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft when Philadelphia selected him in the seventh round.
Phillips rounded out the group of five Irish draftees when Philadelphia picked him with the first pick of the seventh round. The 6-2, 163-pound goaltender was ranked ninth among North American goaltenders after spending the last two seasons with the national program. With the Under-18 Team last season, Phillips played in 24 games and was 15-5-2 in 1,425:55 minutes played. He had a 2.33 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage while turning in two shutouts on the season.
The five draftees give Notre Dame seven players on the 2007-08 roster that have been drafted as they join defenseman Kyle Lawson (So., New Hudson, Mich.) who was selected in 2005 in the seventh round by the Carolina Hurricanes and junior right wing Erik Condra (Livonia, Mich.), a seventh round pick in 2006 by the Ottawa Senators.
2007 DRAFT NOTES:
â€¢ Overall, 73 players with ties to Division I schools were selected in the 2007 Entry Draft, including players who are committed to schools for 2008. The CCHA led the way with 27, the WCHA had 24, Hockey East had 16 picks and the ECAC had six.
â€¢ The University of Minnesota led the way with eight players selected. The Gophers were followed by Michigan with 7, North Dakota with six and Notre Dame and Wisconsin with five each. In the CCHA, Miami followed Michigan and Notre Dame with four selections, Michigan State, Western Michigan, Nebraska-Omaha and Ohio State had two picks each and Bowling Green, Ferris State and Alaska had one each.
â€¢ All-time, the Irish have now had 54 players selected in the NHL Draft in the 40-year history of the program.
â€¢ Cole (18th overall) and Ruth (46th overall) are just the second duo of Irish players selected in the top 50 picks. The other duo was Alex Pirus (41st) and Clark Hamilton (50th) in 1975. There were only 12 teams in the league at that time, compared to 30 in this year’s draft.