When the 2021-22 season begins, the Vermont men’s hockey team will feature five NHL draft picks.
Incoming freshman Luca Munzenberger and Andrei Buyalsky were chosen just two picks apart in the third round of the 2021 draft, at 90 and 92 respectively.
Munzenberger, a defenseman, was chosen by the Edmonton Oilers, while forward Buyalsky was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche.
“When you can have players on your roster who have been recognized by the greatest league in the world as being one of 200-odd people to be drafted to be the property of an NHL team, that shows that we’re marching in the right direction,” UVM men’s hockey head coach Todd Woodcroft said.
The two incoming first-year players join fellow first-year forward Timofey Spitserov, who was chosen by the San Jose Sharks with the 210th pick of last year’s NHL Draft. 2017 draftee Robbie Stucker was picked 210th by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2017, and he joins the UVM squad as a transfer from the University of Minnesota.
“It’s a long road ahead of us. We’re aware of that,” Woodcroft said. “It’s nice to know you have a couple soldiers in your lineup that you know are going to be NHL players at some point.”
UVM had a third player picked this year in defenseman Cal Thomas, (6th round, 171st overall by the Arizona Coyotes) but he won’t join the Catamounts until the 2022-23 season.
A couple rising sophomores were passed up on in forwards Dovar Tinling and Ray Vitolins, but Woodcroft was confident they will be drafted next year.
“Every good story has a little bit of drama,” Woodcroft said. “There’s a guy who just scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal, UVM alum named Ross Colton. He got drafted his third time around.”