The University of Minnesota men’s hockey team has a long history of recruits and players being selected in the NHL Draft. On Sunday the Gophers had to wait until the second round to hear their first recruit’s name called. The St. Louis Blues selected defenseman Tommy Vannelli at No. 47 overall.
The Minnetonka, Minn. native will join the Maroon and Gold on defense this fall and wear No. 3. At Minnetonka HS this past season, Vannelli scored eight goals and assisted on twenty-three others. After the conclusion of his senior season, he played twenty games with the U.S. National Under-18 team and recorded five points on the blue line.
Vannelli was the second Minnesotan taken in the draft overall. Edina native Connor Hurley was selected No. 38 overall by the Buffalo Sabers. He is committed to play college hockey at Notre Dame.
At 6-feet, 2-inches and weighing in at 175 pounds, Vannelli will be a nice addition of some size on the Minnesota back end after losing some big players from last season’s roster.
Dan Shrader of Future Considerations commented on Vannelli by saying he “uses his incredible skating ability to not only defend but also to be the proverbial fourth forward. He effortlessly joins the rush with his tremendous acceleration but also has the ability to retreat and recover as well. Needless to say, he possesses massive upside.”
Some kind words on the Gophers recruit. It is always cool to have local players get recruited by the Gophers and then go on to have success in the NHL. Nick Leddy recently filled that role and hopefully Vannelli will get a crack at adding his name to the Stanley Cup eventually.
In Round 3 of the draft, Gophers recruit Taylor Cammarata was selected No. 76 overall by the New York Islanders. The high-scoring centerman will wear No. 13 at Mariucci Arena this fall. Cammarata is from Plymouth, Minn. and has been playing in the USHL with the Waterloo Blackhawks.
In Round 4, the Los Angeles Kings selected recruit Hudson Fasching with pick No. 188 overall. Fasching is a native of Burnsville, Minn and played HS hockey at Apple Valley. Fasching spent the last season on the USNTDP Under-18 team and was a teammate with Vannelli when he arrived from Minnetonka HS. Fasching will wear No. 24 this fall for Don Lucia.
The final Gophers recruit to be selected was Michael Brodzinski in Round 5 to the San Jose Sharks. The Blaine, Minn. native will wear No. 20 for Minnesota this fall. He skated this past season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL. He was third overall on the team in points with 33. That total put him in a tie for sixth in the league in scoring for defensemen.
All four of these picks will be in Lake Placid, N.Y. this August for the World Junior Championships selection camp. Lucia will be the head coach of that team as well and will likely bring some Gophers with him to Malmo, SWE for the tournament in December.