Harvard’s Hart, Vesey Taken in Early Rounds of NHL Draft

Harvard’s Hart, Vesey Taken in Early Rounds of NHL Draft

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PITTSBURGH—Incoming freshmen Brian Hart and Jimmy Vesey of the Harvard men’s hockey team were selected Saturday in the 2012 National Hockey League Draft at Consol Energy Center.

Hart was chosen in the draft’s second round, with the 53rd overall pick, by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Vesey was taken just 13 selections later, in the third round, by the Nashville Predators. The two forwards are the 15th and 16th Harvard players to be selected in the draft’s first three rounds. Hart, the Crimson’s highest pick since Louis Leblanc was chosen 18th in 2009, is Harvard’s fifth player to be taken in the second round and its seventh to be taken in the first two rounds. Harvard has had 87 players drafted all-time.

A native of Cumberland, Maine, Hart is the third Harvard player to be drafted by Tampa Bay. The previous two were Dennis Packard ’04 and Alex Killorn ’12, who earned All-America honors as a senior last season and won the 2012 Calder Cup with the Norfolk Admirals, the Lightning’s American Hockey League affiliate. Hart, listed at 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, totaled 68 points on 32 goals and 36 assists in 29 games for Phillips Exeter Academy last season.

Vesey, a North Reading, Mass., native and the son of former NHL player Jim Vesey, is the second Harvard player to be drafted by Nashville, joining Ryan Maki ’07. The 6-1, 194-pound Vesey set an Eastern Junior Hockey League scoring record last season with the South Shore Kings, registering 91 points on 48 goals and 43 helpers in just 45 games.

The 2012-13 Crimson roster will feature nine NHL draftees. Captain Danny Biega was a third-round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2010, and fellow senior Alex Fallstrom was a fourth-round pick of Minnesota in 2009, before his draft rights were traded to the Boston Bruins. Sophomore Patrick McNally was drafted in 2010 (Vancouver Canucks, fourth round), and classmates Colin Blackwell (San Jose Sharks, seventh round), Max Everson (Toronto Maple Leafs, seventh round), Steve Michalek (Minnesota Wild, sixth round) and Petr Placek (Philadelphia Flyers, sixth round) were selected last year.

Pictured: Brian Hart, courtesy Getty Images