NHL Draft: four Badgers selected on <br>day two

In all, the five UW skaters selected during the two-day draft was the most since 1986

The wait was longer than expected for Wisconsin wing Robbie Earl. The most electrifying player on the rejuvenated Badgers roster a year ago, Earl was third on the squad with 14 goals and 27 assists as a freshman. He was rated the No. 59 skater in North America heading into this weekend's NHL Entry Draft, so it came as some surprise when Earl had to wait until late in the sixth round before Toronto made him the No. 187 overall selection.

All in all, it was a fairly fulfilling weekend for Wisconsin hockey players, however, with NHL teams claiming the future professional rights to five Badgers, the most since five were selected in 1986. Five UW players were also drafted in 1988, but one was chosen in a supplemental draft.

The Chicago Blackhawks took Jake Dowell, Earl's UW classmate and a 6-foot, 195-pound center, in the fifth round, 140th overall. Dowell tallied six goals and 13 assists as a freshman and was also a part of the U.S. World Junior Championship team that won a gold medal last winter.

The Blackhawks also selected incoming freshman Matt Ford, a 6-foot, 200-pound wing who played last season for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the United States Hockey League. Ford led the Stampede with 37 goals and 68 points and was named USHL Rookie of the Year. He was taken with the 256th overall choice, an eighth-round selection.

For the second day in a row, Anaheim chose an incoming Wisconsin freshman. After selecting defenseman Kyle Klubertanz in the third round Saturday, the Mighty Ducks picked wing Matt Auffrey in the sixth round Sunday (No. 172 overall). Auffrey had 14 goals and 16 assists playing for the U.S. National Team Development Program last year.

Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Jeff Likens, who also played on the gold medal-winning World Junior team, was the only UW player rated in the final NHL Central Scouting Service's North American Skater Rankings that was not selected in the nine-round draft. Likens, who was rated No. 202, had four goals and 13 assists as a freshman last season.


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