PITTSBURGH — Two incoming University of Maine freshmen were taken in the top five rounds of the National Hockey League draft at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Center Devin Shore from Ajax, Ontario, was selected in the second round by the Dallas Stars and defenseman Ben Hutton was chosen in the fifth round by the Vancouver Canucks.
Two Maine natives were also selected as Harvard-bound right wing Brian Hart of Cumberland, who played for Phillips Exeter Academy (N.H.) the past two years, was chosen in the second round (53rd overall) by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Indiana Ice (United States Hockey League), and goalie Jon Gillies of South Portland, who will attend Providence College, was selected in the third round (75th overall) by the Calgary Flames.
Players chosen in the draft remain the property of the teams that drafted them until Aug. 16 of the year their class graduates. Shore and Hutton are still expected to attend UMaine, but they can be signed by their pro teams at any time during the next four years.
The 6-foot, 186-pound Shore, who was the 61st overall pick, had 29 goals and 29 assists in 41 games for Whitby (Ontario) and was chosen as the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year. He was also a second team All-OJHL pick and was selected as his team’s Most Valuable Player.
He had a team-high nine power-play goals and 17 power-play assists.
He had seven goals and 25 assists in 23 playoff games for Whitby.
Shore, who will turn 18 on July 19, was also chosen as the most valuable player in the World Junior A Challenge in Langley, British Columbia, as a member of Team Canada East. He had a tournament-leading six points in four games.
The 19-year-old Hutton, the 147th overall pick, played for Kemptville and Nepean of the Central Canada Hockey League this past season and racked up 11 goals and 32 assists in 57 games. He had six power play goals.
The 6-2, 183-pound Hutton had five goals and eight assists in 18 playoff games.
Hutton hails from Brockville, Ontario.
They will be asked to help fill the offensive void left by the departure of four of Maine’s top five scorers off last year’s 23-14-3 NCAA Tournament team.
Hart had 30 goals and 32 assists for Phillips Exeter Academy this past season while Gillies led the USHL in wins with 31. Gillies was 31-11-9 with a 2.77 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage. Hart will be playing for Harvard this fall and Gillies will play for Providence.