The 2022 NHL Draft came to a conclusion on Friday with five future Minnesota Gophers players being selected. Three were chosn in the first round Thursday night giving the Gophers their most first round selections in one draft since 2006 when four players were taken.
The draft kicked off Thursday night with future Minnesota center Logan Cooley being taken third overall by the Arizona Coyotes. He is the 12th Gopher all time to be selected by the Coyotes organization—the 4th most of any NHL franchise. He joins fellow freshman defenseman Cal Thomas who was selected in the 6th round by the Coyotes in 2021. Cooley was the first player selected in the first round by Arizona since Blake Wheeler in 2004. He will get his first look at his new home rink when the Gophers travel down to Tempe to play Arizona State over Thanksgiving weekend in the new shared facility between the Sun Devils and Coyotes.
The second Gopher taken in the first round was Jimmy Snuggerud who went to the St. Louis Blues with the 23rd pick. Snuggerud becomes the 11th Minnesota player selected by the Blues in the NHL Draft and the third first round pick after and Jeff Taffe in 2000 and Erik Johnson in 2006 who was also the most recent Gopher selection by the Blues. The also becomes just the sixth father/son Gopher duo to be selected in the NHL draft. His dad Dave Snuggerud who played from 1985-1989 was selected in the 1987 NHL Supplemental Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. They now join Jack/Mike Ramsey, Rem and Rhett/Lance Pitlick, Tyler/Marty Nanne, Mike/Mike Reilly and Jake/Grant Bischoff. Blake McLaughlin is the stepson of Grant Bischoff as well.
The third future Gopher to go in the first round was a defenseman, but not necessarily the one that was predicted. Chaska High School’s Sam Rinzel who played with Waterloo in the USHL at the end of last season was selected #25 overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. Rinzel will not be a Gopher until 2023-24 and has not yet signed his NLI and is expected to play next year in the USHL. Rinzel is the 8th Gopher all-time selected by the Blackhakws and the first ever in the first round. The most recent Gopher picked by the Blackhawks was Jack Ramsey in 2014.
The Gophers had hoped to get four players into the first round but it was not to be. The defenseman many thought would go in the first round Ryan Chesley would need to wait until Friday morning to hear his name called and it was quickly after the tart of the 2nd round. Chesley was taken with the #38 overall selection by the Washington Capitals. He is the 10th Gopher selected by the Capitals all-time and the highest selection by the club. The most recent Gopher to be taken by Washington was Travis Boyd in 2011.
Rounding out the Gophers selections was forward Connor Kurth who was taken with pick #192 in the 6th round by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kurth becomes just the 5th Gopher taken by Tampa Bay and the first since Sammy Walker in 2017.
Minnesota now has had 227 NHL Draft picks in program history, the most of any NCAA school. Minnesota has had at least one player drafted in 48 of the last 49 drafts with just 2001 being the lone outlier.
Gopher fans will be able to see Cooley, Snuggerud, Chesley, and Kurth all wear the maroon and gold this fall as they open their season October 1st at home against Longwood.
Congrats to all five drafted future Gophers!