NHL Draftees Wear Crimson

Icemen Lead Nation With Five Players Picked in 1996 Draft

Freshman defenseman Matt Scorsune of Morris Plains, N.J., decided he'd rather stay at home than travel to Missouri to find out where he was selected.

"I stayed at home and waited to get a call from the team drafting me," Scorsune said. "My family and I were thinking of going, but it would have been more nerve-wracking."

In fact, Scorsune waited it out with fellow freshman and high school buddy J.R Prestifilippo.

"We were hanging out and didn't really know what was going on," Prestifilippo said.

Prestifilippo's father saw the draft results appear over the Internet and called home to tell J.R. and Matt that they had been selected.


J.R. was taken with the 165th pick overall by the New York Islanders.

"It was pretty exciting because it was a hometown team for me," Prestifilippo said.

Scorsune was taken by the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in the eighth round.

"I'd met with the Islanders and the Calgary Flames, but Colorado was a surprise," Scorsune said. "I'd never talked to them before they drafted me."

Being drafted before freshman year can make any player's first season more difficult, with all the extra attention he has to endure.

"I guess there is a little bit of added pressure to perform up to expectations," Scorsune said.

Added pressure may be just one of the reasons a high draft number does not necessarily lead to outstanding college or professional play.

"I think the fact that we had five players drafted shows we have a lot of promise, but we have to play well to do well," Scorsune said.

Also, professional teams often look for different assets than do college teams, with a distinct emphasis on a player's long-term potential. For example, junior Ethan Philpott is the Crimson player with the highest overall draft number--he was selected 64th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1993 draft. Philpott's 6'4", 233-pound frame was a definite attraction at draft time for NHL teams looking for an Eric Lindros-like player.

However, depending on the college team, different strengths and skills make for a successful college-level player.

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