NOTRE DAME, Ind. — A pair of Notre Dame freshman forwards were selected on the second day of the 2020 National Hockey League Draft, with Chicago taking Landon Slaggert in the third round (79th overall) and Colorado trading up to pick Ryder Rolston in the fifth round (139th overall).
Slaggert and Rolston became the 86th and 87th Notre Dame players selected in the NHL Draft and the 39th and 40th of the Jeff Jackson era.
Slaggert, the son of current Notre Dame associate head coach Andy and the brother of current junior forward Graham, became Notre Dame’s highest selection since Andrew Peeke and Cam Morrison were chosen with the 34th and 40th picks in 2016.
Rolston, the son of former NHLer and Stanley Cup Champion Brian Rolston (who helped Lake Superior State win the 1992 NCAA National Championship under current Irish head coach Jeff Jackson) joins a pair of current Irish defensemen in Nate Clurman (161st in 2016) and Nick Leivermann (187th in 2017) as Colorado draftees. In addition, Brian Rolston played 50 games for the Avalanche during the 1999-00 season.
Slaggert joins a Blackhawks organization that features Notre Dame alum Stan Bowman as the president and general manager, while this past season recent Irish defenseman Dennis Gilbert played 21 games on the Chicago blue line. Recent graduate Cam Morrison also signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Blackhawks in August.
In addition to deep prospect ties, Rolston joins an Avalanche organization that saw a pair of former Irish players suit up during the 2019-20 season, including former All-American Ian Cole and former NCAA Div. I Rookie of the Year T.J. Tynan. Recent graduate Cal Burke signed with the Colorado organization following Notre Dame’s 2019-20 season as well.
Slaggert and Rolston move the total of current drafted players on the Irish roster to eight, joining:
- Junior defenseman Nate Clurman: Colorado Avalanche, sixth round/161st overall (2016)
- Junior defenseman Nick Leivermann: Colorado Avalanche, seventh round/187th overall (2017)
- Senior defenseman Matt Hellickson: New Jersey Devils, seventh round/214th overall (2017)
- Junior forward Jake Pivonka: New York Islanders, fourth round/103rd overall (2018)
- Junior defenseman Spencer Stastney: Nashville Predators, fifth round/131st overall (2018)
- Sophomore forward Trevor Janicke: Anaheim Ducks, fifth round/132nd overall (2019)
Landon Slaggert | F | South Bend, Indiana
- Slaggert played for the USNTDP for the past two seasons before joining the Irish.
- For the 2019-20 season playing with the U18’s, he skated in all 47 games and scored 13 goals and added 11 assists for 24 points.
- In 19 USHL games, he totaled 10 points on six goals and four assists.
- Also played in the 2020 Biosteel All-American Game where he recorded an assist.
- Helped Team USA win the Five Nations Tournament in Sundsvall, Sweden (November 2019).
- In 2018-19, he skated in 48 games with the U17 team, scoring 10 goals and adding 14 assists for 24 points.
- Also in 2018-19, he skated for Team USA in the U17 Four Nations Tournament (second) and the World U17 Hockey Challenge.
- Before joining the NTDP, Slaggert helped guide the Chicago Mission to the High Performance Major Bantam crown in 2017.
Ryder Rolston | F | Birmingham, Michigan
- Rolston joins the Irish after playing the 2019-20 season with Waterloo (USHL), where he played in 42 games and scored 16 goals and added 17 assists for 33 points.
- His 16 goals ranked fourth on the team, while his 33 points ranked fifth.
- Three of his 16 goals proved to be game winners.
- Ranked No. 102 among North American Skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Rankings (April 8, 2020).
- Named to the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game (Dec. 27, 2019)
- Named to the 2019 U.S. Junior Select Team for the World Junior A Challenge where he helped Team USA earn bronze.
- Prior to joining Waterloo, Rolston skated with the USNTDP for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.
- In 2017-18, he played 52 games for the U17 program, scoring 26 goals and notching 11 assists for 37 points.
- Then in 2018-19, he played the majority of the season with the U18 team, skating in 54 games and totaling 20 goals and 13 assists for 33 points.
- Played with the Little Caesars program before joining the USNTDP.
Notre Dame in the NHL Draft
- Since the inaugural season of Irish hockey, 87 members of the Notre Dame hockey program have heard their names called at the National Hockey League Draft.
- Since 2004, at least one current or former Irish player has been taken in the draft.
- Additionally, 40 Irish players have been selected since head coach Jeff Jackson took over the Irish program.
- Notre Dame has had three first round selections. Forward Riley Sheahan was a first round selection of the Detroit Red Wings in 2010 (21st overall). Before that, former defenseman Ian Cole (St. Louis, 18th overall in 2007) and former forward Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim, 26th in 2009) also were first round selections.
Notre Dame in the NHL
- A program-best 16 former Irish players appeared in the NHL during the 2019-20 season. The 16 alums tied for the sixth-highest total in the country (Boston College 20; Michigan 20; North Dakota 20; Minnesota 18; Boston Univ. 17; Notre Dame 16; Wisconsin 16).
- The 16 former players to appear in the NHL during the 2019-20 season included Anders Bjork (Boston Bruins), Ian Cole (Colorado Avalanche), Thomas Di Pauli (Pittsburgh Penguins), Jake Evans (Montreal Canadiens), Steven Fogarty (New York Rangers), Dennis Gilbert (Chicago Blackhawks), Vinnie Hinostroza (Arizona Coyotes), Stephen Johns (Dallas Stars), Anders Lee (New York Islanders), Jordan Gross (Arizona Coyotes), Kyle Palmieri (New Jersey Devils), Andrew Peeke (Columbus Blue Jackets), Cal Petersen (Los Angeles Kings), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh Penguins), Riley Sheahan (Edmonton Oilers) and T.J. Tynan (Colorado Avalanche).