Four Badgers Selected in NHL Draft Saturday

SELDEN, N.Y. —  One current and three incoming Badgers earned selection on Saturday at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, which was held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. Wisconsin’s four selected student-athletes were split among the fourth and seventh rounds of the

Michael Mersch

draft.

Joseph LaBate went highest, going 101st to the Stanley Cup runner-up Vancouver Canucks. The fourth-round pick arrives this fall in Madison from Academy of Holy Angels in Minnesota. An Eagan, Minn., native, the 6-4 forward was one of 10 finalists for the 2011 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award. He posted 27 goals and 49 points in 25 games this past season.

Just nine picks later, sophomore forward Michael Mersch went 110th to the Los Angeles Kings. A Park Ridge, Ill., native and a product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, he scored eight goals and 19 points in 41 games at Wisconsin last season.

The second two Badgers selected came eight picks apart in the seventh round as defenseman Patrick Daly and forward Brad Navin went 189th to the New Jersey Devils and 197th to the Buffalo Sabres, respectively.

Daly, another 2011 Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalist, attended Benilde-St. Margaret’s in Richfield, Minn., this past season, collecting 40 points and going plus-52 in 27 games as a team co-captain. The Victoria, Minn., native also excelled at baseball during his high school career.

Navin, a Waupaca, Wis., native, led all juniors in Wisconsin in scoring with 53 goals and 92 points in 25 games played, then followed that up with 29 goals and 52 points in an injury-shortened 14-game senior season. He was named Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association First-Team All-State for both campaigns.

Navin attended the Sabres combine in Buffalo earlier this month and spoke to Sabres.com about the experience. 

“Everybody I met was awesome,” Navin said. “All the coaches that ran drills and interviewed me were awesome. I really enjoyed it.”

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