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Penn State Hockey Recruit Brett Murray Is Selected in the 2016 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres

It will be a long year waiting for Murray to arrive, but when he does, it will be worth the wait.

Brett Murray was selected 99th overall in the fourth round by the Terry Pegula-owned Buffalo Sabres. Murray, a highly-talented left wing who currently plays for Carleton Place of the CCHL, was expected to be drafted in this general area. He will join the Lions in 2017.

Murray scored 19 goals and added 40 assists in 64 games in the very competitive Central Canada Hockey League. His size, 6’5” 216 pounds, and skill are impressive considering that he will not turn 18 until July 20. While his stick-handling and above average size stick out among his peers, Murray is viewed as an overall quality player, not one that will lean on a couple of high-end skills. There are no holes in his game.

Murray was the only player associated with Penn State that was drafted.

Penn State Players Previously Taken in the Draft

Five previous Penn State players were drafted by NHL teams prior to joining the Lions on the ice. Eamon McAdam was drafted in the 3rd round, the 70th pick overall, by the New York Islanders in 2013. McAdam signed with the Islanders following his junior season in March.

Mike Williamson was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks in 2013 as the 175th pick in the sixth round. Williamson ended his career in January of his junior season due to chronic injuries.

Incoming freshman Nikita Pavlychev was taken 197th in the 7th round in 2015 by the Penguins.

Patrick Koudys was drafted in the 5th round, 147th overall, in the 2011 draft by the Washington Capitals. Koudys participated in summer camps with the Capitals but never signed with the team. The former captain signed with Chicago’s ECHL affiliate the Indy Fuel following his senior season in 2015.

Max Gardiner was drafted in the 3rd round, 74th overall, in 2010 by St. Louis. Gardiner ended his hockey career after his senior season at Penn State.

What Does It Mean When A Player Is Drafted?

The rules for players being drafted are many but can be simplified. If a Penn State player or recruit is drafted, the team has draft rights until the player leaves college or the player’s class graduates. There are many variables that could apply but that’s the basic scenario.

Being drafted is an opportunity for the player. While not all players sign with the team that drafts them, it opens doors such as training camps in the summer, visibility among peers and scouts. It is also a clear indication that the player has serious upside at the collegiate level. Some players are drafted for their overall skill or the likelihood of becoming an NHL-caliber player. Others are drafted for one or two abilities that they may have, such as size, a great shot, skating, goal-scoring. Those traits are easy to see when a player is in college among other players that may not have NHL-level skills in those categories.

Nikita Pavlychev has a tremendous amount of potential, and a skill set that could develop into NHL-grade quality. But he was likely drafted because of his skills and also because he is a 6’7” left-handed center. If he can continue to develop, he will be a serious problem for teams in front of the net.