— JT Compher (@Jcomph7) July 1, 2013
Incoming freshman J.T. Compher was the first Wolverine off the board when the Buffalo Sabres traded up in the second round to select Compher 35th overall. Compher becomes the first player ever selected from the Big Ten Hockey Conference.
Compher had 18 goals and a team-high 32 assists in 52 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program. His 50 points ranked third on the team, despite missing 15 games due to injury.
Associated head coach Billy Powers tells College Hockey Inc.:
“J.T. is a guy who really has a lot of tools. He’s being talked about a lot as a defensive, third-line forward type but there’s some offensive potential there as well, and we think that will flourish in college. We see him as a power play, penalty kill player right from the start, and he’ll manage a line as a center in our top six. He’ll come in a boy and at some point in the next few years we’ll release him as a man.”
Compher raving about Michigan program at podium, saying ability to churn out pros factored heavily into his recruitment.
— Matt Slovin (@MattSlovin) June 30, 2013
No Wolverines would be selected in the rest of the second and third rounds, then three went off the board in the fourth round.
Incoming freshman defenseman Michael Downing was selected by Florida with the 97th overall pick. Downing admittedly struggled after his older brother Jake was traded at season’s start, then tried doing too much at the start of this past season to impress scouts and failed doing so, resulting in his stock dropping before his older brother set him straight.
“He just pretty much ripped me a new you-know-what, told me to quit [messing] around and get back to my game,” Michael Downing said. “Most of the time, the stuff he says I listen to.”
NHL Central Scouting took notice of the difference in his play, too.
“As the season progressed he played a much more confident and complete game,” Central Scouting’s David Gregory told NHL.com. “He carries the puck well out of the zone and makes good decisions on when to hang on to it or move it ahead. Sees the ice well in transition and has a pro pass. He is willing to mix it up, especially when defending down low. He is also very good at moving the puck on the power play. He has a good, hard shot that he gets through to the net, but can and will fake his shot and make a quick pass to the open man. He is not afraid to jump to an open hole on the offensive attack to create scoring chances. He will need to show all of this with more consistency for the next level.”
Billy Powers believes the college game will benefit Michael.
“Michael is the type of player who will really benefit from the college environment, spending time in the gym and getting one-on-one access to top strength coaches. He’s got a great frame, but he’s a bit skin and bones. Once he adds strength he could be really good. As it is he has some nice snarl to his game to go with that size and a very good stick.”
— Jacob Trouba (@JacobTrouba) July 1, 2013
Sophomore-to-be Andrew Copp was picked up by the Winnipeg Jets in the 4th round, 103rd overall. As you can see, his former Michigan teammate Jacob Trouba was excited by the news.
— Jacob Trouba (@JacobTrouba) July 1, 2013
Copp started out the season as projected—a third/fourth line role player. By the end of the season, he was centering the top line as Michigan made a desperation run to the CCHA Championship game in their only hope to make the NCAA tournament. Copp finished with 11 goals and 10 assists in 38 games, with 17 points coming in the second half of the season. His hard work at both ends of the ice earned him an alternate captain nod for this coming season.
Billy Powers on Copp:
“Andrew came to us from the NTDP, but he was really a part-time player for them in a way. He was a pretty elite high school quarterback and played football through Thanksgiving, so this was his first year focusing on one sport. We knew he was a character kid who had the ability to play a defensive role, but in the second half he really showed that there’s more to him on the offensive side. He has good puck vision and hockey sense, and he loves to go to the tough areas. He was overlooked last year but we really feel as a staff that a team will be very fortunate to get him this time around.”
With the final pick of the 4th round, the Chicago Blackhawks selected Tyler Motte 121st overall. Motte, like Compher, is another product of the U.S. National Team Development Program. He had 26 goals and 19 assists in 67 games. His 45 points ranked fifth on the team.
A little undersized, Motte receives high praise from Billy Powers:
“Tyler reminds me a lot of Kevin Porter when he was coming out of the USA program. He’s a gifted all-around player who will be involved in special teams and be a key forward for us right from the start. He’s around 5-10, and to make another comparison, he could be like a Carl Hagelin type – he may not wow you with his physical gifts at 18 but in three or four years he could be special.”
Incoming defenseman Nolan De Jong was picked in the 7th round, 197th overall by the Minnesota Wild. A one-time Cornell commit, De Jong posted five goals and 19 assists in 51 games with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL this past season. Also has the awesomely named Twitter handle @JongShow.
Billy Powers via College Hockey Inc.:
“Nolan is similar to Michael Downing in ways, and we’re excited about both of them. He’s a heady player with good offensive instincts and will play a role on the power play for us. He’s an 18-year-old and it will be a transition to adjust to the college game, but as he adds strength to his frame he’s got a lot of potential.”
Incoming forwards Alex Kile (Green Bay/USHL) and Evan Allen (U.S. NTDP) went undrafted.