Future Gophers Highlight NHL Draft

With the 2011 NHL Draft taking place just a few miles from the University of Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center, it is only fitting that a handful of future Gophers would be selected.

The first Gopher selected was Kyle Rau of Eden Prairie High School who went in the third round, 91st overall, to the Florida Panthers. Hockey fans will remember Rau's incredible senior season for Eden Prairie in which he racked up 33 goals and 36 assists on his way to Mr. Hockey honors. Rau also led his team to the AA State Championship in which he scored the game winner in the third overtime period.

He then went on to play 11 games in the USHL with the Sioux Falls Stampede where he tallied four goals and six assists. Rau is the second Mr. Hockey winner in a row to be drafted by the Panthers, the other being current Gopher forward Nick Bjudgstad.

The next Gopher chosen didn't have to wait long as Mike Reilly of Shattuck-St. Mary's was picked by the Columbus Blue Jackets with the 98th overall selection. Reilly is the younger brother of twins, Connor and Ryan, who have also committed to Minnesota.

Mike Reilly, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound defenseman, had a stellar season with the hockey powerhouse of Shattuck-St. Mary's. He tallied 14 goals to go with 34 assists. Gopher fans have time to wait for Reilly as his expected date of arrival at Minnesota is the 2013-2014 season.

Seth Ambroz was the third Gopher off the board. Ambroz, a 6-foot-3 physical forward, also is headed to Columbus who picked him in the fifth round with the 128th overall selection. Ambroz looked like a first-round lock as the season began but saw his stock take a late hit as questions about his skating ability arose. That being said, there is no questioning Amboz's skill and toughness.

He has been playing for the Omaha Lancers in the USHL since he was 15 years old and has gained valuable experience during his tenure. Last season he scored 24 goals and added 22 assists while spending 89 minutes in the penalty box. Amboz will bring a grittiness to the Gophers that has not been seen for some time in Mariucci Arena.

Center, Travis Boyd may not be a familiar name to some, but the United States Development Team standout should give Gopher fans something to cheer about in the coming years. Originally from Hopkins High School, the 5-foot-10 Boyd chose the Development Team route in Ann Arbor, Michigan to play his high school hockey.

Boyd was a sixth round selection where the Washington Capitals picked him 177th overall. Boyd ended up fourth on his team in scoring this past season, racking up 13 goals and 25 assists in 60 games.

The last future Gopher to hear his name called was goalie Adam Wilcox, originally of South Saint Paul High School. Wilcox, a 6-foot, 171-pound netminder was chosen right after Boyd with the 178th pick by the Tampa Bay Lightening.

This past season playing for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL, Wilcox posted 16 wins, six losses and one tie with 0.922 save percentage and a 2.20 goals against.


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