On June 24, four more players on the Michigan hockey team had the distinction of being an NHL draftee.

Angela Cesere
Billy Sauer was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the seventh round of the NHL draft. (RODRIGO GAYA/Daily)

Sophomores Mark Mitera and Billy Sauer and incoming freshmen Trevor Lewis and Chris Summers were among the many players called during the 2006 NHL Draft, held in Vancouver.

Unlike last year, when then-incoming freshman Jack Johnson was the third overall pick in the draft, it took a little longer before the first Wolverine was taken off the board. That honor belonged to Lewis, the 17th overall selection by the Los Angeles Kings.

The Murray, Utah, native spent last season playing forward for the United States Hockey League’s Des Moines Buccaneers. He led the team with 75 points (35 goals, 40 assists) during the regular season and notched 16 points (three goals, 13 assists) in the postseason en route to a USHL playoff title.

Mitera was drafted 19th overall by the Anaheim Ducks. The Livonia native logged a lot of playing time for Michigan last season, usually playing on the team’s second defensive line. In the process, he had 10 assists and a +5 plus/minus rating for the season. He was also a defenseman for Team USA at the 2006 World Junior Championship in Vancouver.

The Phoenix Coyotes used their first pick (29th overall) on Summers, the third Wolverine chosen in the first round.

The Milan native spent the past two seasons skating for the United States National Team Development Program (NTDP), based in Ann Arbor. Summers – also a defenseman – had a 6-11-17 line in 59 games last season, and tallied the game-winning goal in the World Under-18 Championship tournament, earning himself and his teammates the gold medal for Team USA.

All three first round draft picks will participate in the 2007 U.S. World Junior Championship evaluation camp this summer.

The last Michigan hockey player to be called at the draft was goaltender Billy Sauer. The Colorado Avalanche picked up the Walworth, N.Y., native in the seventh round (201st overall). Sauer appeared to the heir apparent to Al Montoya at the beginning of last season, but inconsistent play forced him to share the role with now graduated Noah Ruden.

For the season, Sauer posted a 11-6-4 record, 3.04 GAA and a .898 save percentage. He’s expected to compete for the starting spot next season with incoming freshman Steve Jakiel.

Mark your calendars: Last Tuesday, June 27, Michigan coach Red Berenson officially announced the 2006-2007 schedule for the Wolverines. In all, eighteen games will be played in Yost Ice Arena and the majority of those games will be played during the first half of the season.

The exhibition season begins on Saturday, September 30, with the annual Blue/White scrimmage and the regular season beings on October 13 when Michigan squares off against Alabama-Huntsville.

The first CCHA series of the season will be the following week against defending regular season champs Miami. The series begins on October 19 and will be a Thursday-Friday series instead of the traditional Friday-Saturday series.

The Wolverines will face off against Michigan State twice at Yost. The first meeting will be on November 4 and the second will be on November 21.

A first time for everything: The 2006 NHL draft marked the first time three Michigan hockey players were chosen in the first round. Sixteen players in all have been selected in the NHL draft’s opening round.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *