Months before they’ll put on a Harvard uniform for the first time, four incoming Crimson freshmen were chosen in Saturday’s National Hockey League draft.
With these four additions, there will be eight NHL draftees on Harvard’s roster going into the 2011-12 season.
The structure of the NHL draft differs from that of the other three major American sports. Unlike in MLB, the NBA, and the NFL, players selected by NHL teams can continue to compete on the amateur level while remaining the protected picks of the team that originally selected them.
Baseball, football, and basketball prospects are forced to choose between signing a professional contract or retaining amateur status and NCAA eligibility shortly after the draft.
Two future Harvard icemen, goaltender Stephen Michalek and forward Petr Placek, were taken in the sixth round. Forward Colin Blackwell and defensemen Max Everson—brother of junior forward Marshall Everson—were both taken in the seventh round.
In total, five rising Harvard freshmen have been drafted. Patrick McNally was selected in the 2010 draft and will suit up for the Crimson for the first time this fall.
Junior forward Alex Fallstrom and senior forward Alex Killorn were selected by NHL teams before their freshman seasons, and junior defensemen Danny Biega was taken before the start of his sophomore year.
While draftees have the option to play through college, not all do. Louis Leblanc, formerly class of 2013, left Harvard after his freshman year to sign with Montreal Canadiens.
But for now, the Crimson can look forward to the addition of five rookies with NHL-caliber talent.