INCOMING FRESHMAN CHRIS LEBLANC DRAFTED BY OTTAWA IN NHL DRAFT
NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Chris Leblanc, an incoming freshman skater for the Merrimack men's ice hockey team, was selected in the sixth round by the Ottawa Senators in the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday at the Prudential Center hosted by the NHL's New Jersey Devils.
Leblanc, a Winthrop, Mass., native, was the 10th selection in sixth round – 161st overall – by the Senators, joining former Merrimack All-American Stephane Da Costa in the Ottawa organization.
"We're excited for Chris and his family and obviously want to congratulate him," head coach Mark Dennehy noted. "I think all parties involved understand that this is the next step. It's amazing how far he's come from Winthrop High School, to the South Shore Kings and now to being an NHL draft pick. We're excited to work with him for this coming season and play whatever role we can in his development as a person, as a student and obviously as a hockey player."
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound right wing was one of nine players with Hockey East ties taken in Sunday's draft, adding to the league's total of 548 drafted student-athletes in the 29-year history of the league, which includes 11 first round choices in the last seven NHL Entry Drafts.
Leblanc, who will turn 20 this September, is coming off a prolific campaign with the South Shore Kings (EJHL). In his final season playing junior hockey, Leblanc partook in 44 games during the regular season, tallying 13 goals and dishing 20 assists for 33 total points, ranking sixth on the team in total offense. The Winthrop, Mass., native also buried seven power play strikes and tallied one game-winner, and added another goal in two playoff games for the Kings.
Leblanc will join a Merrimack squad that brings back all of its top-10 scorers from 2012-13 and will eye a fifth consecutive berth in the Hockey East Tournament this coming season.