Nashville Predators take UND forward Grant Mismash in second round of NHL Draft
An uncharacteristically quiet NHL Draft day for UND ended Saturday afternoon with only one name being called.
Incoming rookie forward Grant Mismash was selected by the Western Conference champion Nashville Predators in the second round, No. 61 overall, in Chicago's United Center.
Mismash, who made the trip for the event, donned a Predators jersey after the selection and did interviews with the gathered media.
"It's amazing," Mismash said. "All the hard work us players put in to get to this point, my family and friends who supported me along the way, I couldn't thank them enough."
Mismash entered the draft knowing he would likely go in the second round, though an outside possibility existed for him to move up or down a round.
Mismash told media he's playing at UND this season, but didn't set any timetable for how long he would be in college.
"We'll have to wait and see how I develop there," he said. "We'll take one step at a time."
With the summer's early NHL signings of first-round picks Brock Boeser and Tyson Jost, Mismash will now carry the title as the highest-draft player on UND's roster this season.
Multiple factors led to the quiet draft year.
For starters, the NHL Draft heavily focuses on first-year draft eligibles. For this draft, that meant those born between Sept. 16, 1998 and Sept. 15, 1999. UND had only two guys in that range—Mismash and goalie commit Adam Scheel, who will come to campus in 2018.
Second, some of UND's incoming players were draft eligible last year and got picked—Collin Adams went to the New York Islanders, Peter Thome went to the Columbus Blue Jackets and 2018 recruit Mitchell Mattson went to the Calgary Flames.
Third, UND has gone after some high-end undrafted players like defenseman Gabe Bast and forward Jordan Kawaguchi—guys who remind coach Brad Berry of Troy Stecher and Drake Caggiula, undrafted free agents who starred in college and are now in the NHL.
The last time UND had only one player selected in a draft was 1999—a draft that had some striking similarities to this one.
The only UND player selected that year was Mike Commodore, who went in the second round to a rising team in the New Jersey Devils.
Like Commodore, Mismash went in the second round to a rising team that's coming off of a Stanley Cup Final appearance.
In the season that followed Commodore's draft, UND used a combination its draft picks and some high-end undrafted players like Jeff Panzer, Jason Ulmer, Travis Roche and Karl Goehring to win the NCAA national championship.
That will be the same recipe UND tries to use this season.