One incoming Pioneer picked in 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Photo credit Dylan Buell/Getty Images

In what has become an annual late June tradition, one more future Pioneer has been selected in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago. While he wasn’t drafted in the first round on Friday night, D Ian Mitchell was taken in the second round on Saturday.

Mitchell, the Pioneers’ highly touted incoming freshman defenseman prospect, was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks near the end of the second round with the 57th overall pick. Mitchell will join Blake Hillman as the second Blackhawks defenseman prospect on Denver’s roster.

In his third year with the Spruce Grove Saints of the Alberta Junior Hockey League last year, Mitchell tallied 37 points on 8 goals and 29 assists. Scouts have touted Mitchell as a raw defenseman with a very high ceiling. The St. Albert, AB native will have an excellent opportunity to grow and develop into a highly skilled defenseman over the course of his career at Denver.

Coming into the draft, it was assumed that two Pioneers would be taken, but incoming goalie Dayton Rasmussen wasn’t selected in any of the seven rounds. The goalie’s dream isn’t over as there is always a great chance that he can sign as a free agent after his time with DU.

After all, he’s an exciting goalie prospect who played for both the Tri-City Storm and 2017 USHL champion Chicago Steel. Rasmussen figures to fit in with the Pioneers as the third goalie behind defending Mike Richter Award winner Tanner Jaillet and Vermont transfer Packy Munson. In other words, the Pioneers’ depth between the pipes is going to somehow get even better than it was before Evan Cowley graduated this year.

With the Storm and Steel, Rasmussen put up a 2.45 GAA and a .912 SV% on his way to winning the Clark Cup, which is awarded to the USHL champion.

Mitchell joins a growing group of NHL draftees on the Pioneers roster that includes Henrik Borgström (23rd overall, FLA), Dylan Gambrell (60th, SJS), Hillman (173rd, CHI), and Troy Terry (148th, ANA).

Stay tuned to LetsGoDU over the next few months. We will have more analysis of the 2017-18 Pioneers and their upcoming NCAA Championship defense.