First-Rounder Leblanc Leads Two Harvard NHL Draft Picks

First-Rounder Leblanc Leads Two Harvard NHL Draft Picks

MONTREAL-Louis Leblanc became the second Harvard player to be selected in the first round of the National Hockey League Entry Draft when he was taken by his hometown Montreal Canadiens Friday night at Bell Centre. Fellow Crimson incoming freshman Alexander Fallstrom was picked by the Minnesota Wild in Saturday's fourth round.

Leblanc, a native of Kirkland, Que., a Montreal suburb, was chosen with the 18th overall pick to loud cheers from his hometown crowd. The forward joins the Crimson after spending one season with the Omaha Lancers and being selected as Rookie of the Year of the United States Hockey League.

Harvard's only previous first-round pick was Chris Biotti '89. He was the 17th overall pick in 1985, chosen by the Calgary Flames. Leblanc is the seventh first-round pick in ECAC Hockey history. He was the second college-affiliated player selected in this year's draft, behind only Minnesota freshman Nick Leddy, who was drafted by the Wild.

Fallstrom, also a forward, was the 116th pick of the draft. The Gothenburg, Sweden native joins Harvard after captaining the team at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, Minn., last season. He was the 78th NHL Draft pick in program history, the most of any ECAC Hockey team.

Leblanc and Fallstrom were among 12 ECAC players and three Ivy League players taken in the 2009 Draft. Colgate, Rensselaer and Yale matched Harvard with two selections each.

The 2009-10 Harvard roster will include six drafted players: Fallstrom, Leblanc, senior captain Alex Biega, senior Doug Rogers, junior Matt McCollem and sophomore Alex Killorn. Rogers, Biega and McCollem were taken in 2006 by the Buffalo Sabres, New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues, respectively. Killorn was a third-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2007.

Crimson players have been selected in 13 of the last 14 and 26 of the last 28 NHL Drafts.

Photo © Getty Images