Wisconsin Badgers men’s hockey saw a resurgence in Tony Granato’s first season in charge of the program. He also has brought an influx of NHL-level talent to the program as well.
That bore itself out on Saturday afternoon as four incoming freshmen were picked up in the final few rounds of the 2017 NHL Draft. UW’s four players drafted tied the mark set last season, the most for the program since the 2011 NHL Draft.
Leading the way was defender Tyler Inamoto, who was picked in the fifth round by the Florida Panthers, No. 133 overall. He came in to the draft as the No. 68 ranked forward by NHL Central Scouting.
With the 133rd pick, we take defenseman Tyler Inamoto! ? pic.twitter.com/CM1IOrGCXD
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) June 24, 2017
The other three Badgers picked had to wait a bit longer to hear their names called as defensemen Wyatt Kalynuk and Josh Ess and forward Linus Weissbach all went in the seventh and final round of the draft.
Kalynuk was picked by the Philadelphia Flyers at pick No. 196 overall.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) June 24, 2017
Perhaps the most interesting pick was that of Ess, who went to the Chicago Blackhawks in the seventh round himself.
— USHL (@USHL) June 24, 2017
Swedish forward Weissbach went to the Buffalo Sabers in the final round as well, going first of the three in the final round actually. He may have been the first off the board had an injury or two not knocked him down a peg on draft boards.
— Wisconsin Hockey (@BadgerMHockey) June 24, 2017
Unlike year’s past, you can expect all four of the drafted players to show up in a Badgers uniform this season and likely for a few more as well. But, it is still good to know that the program is back to stockpiling NHL-level talent once again.
With these kind of players in the mix, Wisconsin is certainly looking to reach the NCAA tournament at the very least this upcoming season.