2013 NHL Draft: Big Ten sees plenty of firsts in New Jersey

Michigan incoming freshman J.T. Compher was the highest-drafted player with Big Ten ties. - Bruce Bennett

13 players with Big Ten ties were chosen Sunday during the 2013 NHL Draft.

In 20 years, J.T. Compher will be the answer to a trivia question. So will Eamon McAdam.

13 players with Big Ten ties were selected Sunday (June 30) in the 2013 NHL Draft. Four of the six B1G teams had players selected. Michigan leads the way with five players drafted by teams in Newark, New Jersey; one behind North Dakota for the most in NCAA hockey.

Minnesota, meanwhile, was just behind the Wolverines with four drafted players. Two teams - Ohio State and Michigan State - did not have a player drafted.

Compher, a Michigan recruit who spent this season playing for the US NTDP, was the highest-drafted player with Big Ten ties. The Buffalo Sabres selected him in the second round with the 35th overall pick after trading up.

"It's great to be wanted. (Buffalo) a great organization," Compher said after being drafted. "It's going to be a great opportunity for me. I know Coach (Ron) Rolston from the national program before he went to Rochester.

"So overall, I'm very excited."

With this being the first year that the Big Ten is sponsoring men's ice hockey, technically Compher is the first player from the conference ever drafted.

The rest of the Wolverines who heard their name Sunday include forward Andrew Copp joining former teammate Jacob Trouba as a Winnipeg Jets prospect (104th overall). Copp, who scored 21 points (11 G-12 A) as a freshman, was one of 3 players with University of Michigan ties to be selected in the fourth round. Incoming freshman Michael Downing was selected 97th overall by the Florida Panthers and Tyler Motte was the last pick - 121st overall by the Chicago Blackhawks - of the round.

Michigan defenseman commit Nolan De Jong was drafted in the 7th round (198th overall) by the Minnesota Wild. De Jong spent last season with Victoria of the BCHL.

Other firsts include Penn State being represented in the NHL Draft. Two incoming Nittany Lions, goalie Eamon McAdam and defenseman Mike Williamson, were drafted. McAdam went 70th overall to the New York Islanders in the third round. Williamson was taken three rounds later by the Vancouver Canucks 175th overall.

While the Nittany Lions had a pair of drafted players on its team last season in Max Gardiner (St. Louis Blues) and Patrick Koulys (Washington Capitals), both players transferred to Penn State after playing college hockey. McAdam and Williamson are the first PSU commits to be drafted in the short history of the hockey program.

The University of Wisconsin also had two players drafted Sunday in their second year of draft eligibility. For the second year in a row, Anaheim selected a Badger when the Ducks chose incoming freshman Grant Besse in the 5th round (147th overall). The 2013 Minnesota Mr. Hockey joins teammate Nic Kerdiles, who was taken in the second round last year, in the Ducks organization.

Another incoming Wisconsin freshman forward, Jedd Soleway, was taken in the 7th round by Phoenix (193rd overall). Soleway split time in the BCHL between Vernon and Penticton Vees. On the latter team, he was on an Upper Midwest collegiate coalition line with Wade Murphy (North Dakota/Nashville Predators) and Louie Nanne (Minnesota recruit/Minnesota Wild).

Lastly, the University of Minnesota had four players selected. Incoming freshmen Tommy Vannelli (#47 to the St. Louis Blues), Taylor Cammarata (#76 to the New York Islanders), Hudson Fasching (#118 to the Los Angeles Kings) and Michael Brodzinski (#141 to the San Jose Sharks) each heard their names called.

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For more SB Nation College Hockey coverage, follow us on Twitter @sbncollegepuck and like us on Facebook.

You can follow Nate on Twitter @gopherstate.

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