June 21, 2012
Notre Dame, Ind. - While temperatures might be in the mid-90's the last few days, for several current and future members of the Notre Dame hockey team, dreams of playing professional hockey will hopefully come true this weekend at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The National Hockey League will hold its annual Entry Draft on Friday and Saturday, June 22-23 at the home of the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins. The first round of the draft - on Friday night - will start at 7:00 p.m. and will be televised by the NBC Sports Network and TSN in Canada. Rounds 2-7 will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday and will be televised by the NHL Network and TSN in Canada.
Four players with ties to the Notre Dame hockey program, including two who will play for the Irish in the 2012-13 season, could hear their names called this weekend, most likely on Saturday in rounds two through seven. Leading the group is current sophomore Austin Wuthrich (Anchorage, Alaska) who was a regular in the Notre Dame lineup last season as a freshman. He will be joined by incoming freshman Thomas DiPauli (Woodbridge, Ill.) and future Irish players Vincent Hinostroza (Bartlett, Ill.) and Justin Wade (Aurora, Ill.) who signed national letters-of-intent in November of 2011. DiPauli played last season for the USA Under-18 team while Hinostroza and Wade will play their second seasons in the USHL this year - Hinostroza with the Waterloo Black Hawks and Wade with the Fargo Force.
Wuthrich, who was eligible for the draft last June, is excited about his chances this year and will attend the draft with his parents this weekend.
"I didn't really look at the NHL Draft as being a big part of last year for me," said Wuthrich earlier this week at the Compton Family Ice Arena. "I didn't worried about it; it wasn't a focus for me. I got off to a good start at Notre Dame and after the season ended I started getting calls from different teams telling me that they were considering me."
"It's definitely an honor to be considered for the draft. It's a feather in my cap, I guess. It's not going to change anything about me or my work ethic. It will be nice to get chosen but if it doesn't happen, I will keep working hard at my game."
All four players were ranked in NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings in April. DiPauli was the highest ranked Irish player as he was ranked 81st among North American skaters. Wuthrich was ranked 94th overall and was followed by Hinostroza at 115th and Wade at 144 among the 210 North American skaters that were ranked.
Players born between Jan. 1, 1992 and Sept. 15, 1994 are eligible for selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Additionally, undrafted, non-North American players over the age of 20 are eligible for the draft and those players who were drafted in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but not signed by an NHL team and who were born after June 24, 1992, are also eligible to re-enter the draft.
The 6-1, 194-pound Wuthrich was a regular in the lineup for the Irish at right wing during the 2011-12 campaign and led all freshmen in scoring with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points, picking up 34 penalty minutes in 36 games. He ranked fifth overall in team scoring and was second on the team with a +4 plus/minus. He was eligible for the Entry Draft in 2012 after seeing limited action with the USA Under-18 Team due to an early season broken leg.
DiPauli is a 5-11, 188-pound forward who spent last season with the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. The talented playmaker served as an alternate captain on the USA Under-18 team that won the gold medal last April in Brno, Czech Republic at the World Under-18 championships. In 55 games with the national program, DiPauli had 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points with 22 minutes in penalties. Of his 11 goals, one came on the power play and two were short-handed with one game winner.
Hinostroza, who is ranked 115th overall by NHL Central Scouting, played last season for the Waterloo Black Hawks. The 5-10, 170-pounder finished second in scoring with 20 goals and 24 assists for 44 points and had six power-play goals, two short-handed tallies and three game winners. He helped Waterloo to a third-place finish in the USHL's Western Division where they advanced to the Clark Cup finals, losing to Green Bay, three games to two.
Wade is a 6-2, 210-pound up-and-coming defenseman and was ranked 144th by Central Scouting. He played in 57 games for the Fargo Force during the 2011-12 season, scoring a pair of goals with five assists for seven points. He led the team with a +17 plus/minus and helped Fargo to a fourth-place finish in the USHL's Western Division.
Since 1969, National Hockey League teams have drafted 69 Notre Dame players, including four first round selections - defenseman Ian Cole in 2007 (18th overall by St. Louis), center Riley Sheahan in 2010 (21st overall by Detroit), defenseman Jarred Tinordi in 2010 (22nd by Montreal) and right wing Kyle Palmieri in 2009 (26th overall by Anaheim). Tinordi never played at Notre Dame.
The Irish currently have 10 players on their roster who have heard their names called at the NHL Entry Draft - senior Nick Larson (Calgary, fourth round in 2008), junior Jeff Costello (Ottawa, fifth round in 2009), junior Anders Lee (New York Islanders, sixth round in 2009), junior Stephen Johns (Chicago, second round in 2010), junior Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh, third round in 2010), junior Kevin Lind (Anaheim, sixth round in 2010), junior T.J. Tynan (Columbus, third round, 2011), sophomore Robbie Russo (New York Islanders, fourth round, 2011), freshman Steven Fogarty (New York Rangers, third round in 2011) and freshman Mario Lucia (Minnesota, second round, 2011).