Two Incoming Freshmen Picked in NHL Draft

Published by Robert S Samuels on June 25, 2012 at 3:12AM

Following a surprising year-end run that nearly culminated in an ECAC title, the Harvard men’s hockey team graduated some of its top players, including forward Alex Killorn, who paced the squad with 46 points in 2011-12.

But just months after the Crimson’s most prolific goalscorer in nearly a decade headed south to play in the Tampa Bay Lightning organization, a new crop of NHL draftees—including another Lightning pick—is coming to Cambridge.

Incoming freshmen left winger Jimmy Vesey and right winger Brian Hart were selected in this year’s NHL Draft, held on Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh, Pa. While Vesey was taken in the third round by the Nashville Predators, the Lightning selected Hart in the second round with the 53rd overall pick.

Hart became just the seventh player in Crimson history to be taken in the first two rounds of the draft and is Harvard’s highest draft pick since Louis Leblanc, who was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft. Leblanc is now part of the Montreal Canadiens organization and played in the NHL this past season.

Not surprising given their high draft selections, both Hart and Vesey had standout seasons in 2011-12. At Phillips Exeter, Hart averaged over two points per game. Vesey, meanwhile, played for the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s South Shore Kings, where he set a scoring record with 91 points (48 goals) in 45 games.

Following Hart’s and Vesey’s selection this weekend, the Crimson now has seven drafted players in its rising freshmen and sophomore classes.