Saturday, June 25, 2011

Three Ice players picked

Three Indiana Ice players found new homes in this year's draft, including two-thirds of the USHL's highest-scoring line this year.

USHL Player of the Year and USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year Blake Coleman was the first Ice player selected, picked 75th by the New Jersey Devils.

Linemate Brian Ferlin went next, at the end of the fourth round, going 121st to the Boston Bruins.

Then, Sean Kuraly went in the fifth round to the San Jose Sharks. Kuraly plans to be with the Ice again next year, while Coleman (Miami) and Ferlin (Cornell) will play collegiately.

This matches the Ice's 2010 draft haul, when Stanislav Galiev (Washington), Anthony Bitetto (Nashville) and Nick Mattson (Chicago) were all selected. In addition, defenseman R.J. Boyd (Florida) was traded to the Ice this past off-season and gave the team a fourth player with ties to the NHL Draft.

The biggest draft year was 2007, when Brett Bruneteau (Washington), Ben Blood (Ottawa), Paul Carey (Colorado) and Scott Darling (Phoenix) were all selected. The 2006 (Brett Bennett-PHX, Alex Kangas-ATL, Brent Gwidt-WSH) and 2008 (John Carlson-WSH, Corey Fienhage-BUF, Garrett Roe-LA) classes also included three players each who either played for or would eventually play for the Ice.

The Ice have now had 20 players drafted since joining the USHL in 2004. Of those, 18 have come in the last six drafts.

They were among 43 players with USHL ties picked among the 210 players selected in this year's draft.

Next year's Ice squad figures to have draftees Kuraly and Boyd on the roster, plus a handful of potential draftees, including Daniil Tarasov, the USHL's leading goal scorer this past season and -- should he choose to play in Indiana -- Quebec star Jeremy Gregoire. Adam Erne, considered one of the top American prospects in his age group, won't be draft-eligible until 2013.

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