Rising sophomore winger Denis Smirnov and Penn State men’s hockey commits Cole Hults and Aarne Talvitie were selected on day two of the NHL entry draft Saturday, joining incoming freshman Evan Barratt.
The Los Angeles Kings took Hults No. 134 overall, while Smirnov was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche with the No. 156 pick, and Talvitie went off the board moments later at No. 160 to the New Jersey Devils. The selections bring Penn State to 10 all-time draft picks since joining the Division I ranks five years ago.
After a breakout debut that saw Smirnov shatter the program record for points in a single season with 47, he becomes the first active Penn State player to hear his name called in the draft. Hults, a defenseman from Stoughton, Wisc., committed to the Guy Gadowsky’s Nittany Lions in late March and will join the team for the upcoming season. It’s currently unclear when Talvitie, an Espoo, Finland, forward, will arrive in State College.
Smirnov, who was ranked as the No. 167 North American prospect by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, was Penn State’s best forward last season. He was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team after starting his college career with at least a point in 10 consecutive games.