Hondo S. Carpenter

June 25, 2006
Ratchuk first Spartan selected, by Philadelphia in second round
East Lansing, Mich. - Rising sophomore Nick Sucharski (Toronto, ONT) and incoming freshmen Michael Ratchuk (Buffalo, NY) and Ryan Turek (Northville, Mich.) heard their names called on Saturday evening in the 2006 National Hockey League entry draft, held in Vancouver, British Columbia. Ratchuk was the highest selection of the three, going in the early second round to the Philadelphia Flyers; Turek was the first pick of the fourth round by the St. Louis Blues, and the Columbus Blue Jackets made Sucharski the 136th pick overall in the fifth round.
Ratchuk, who entered the draft ranked 81st among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting bureau, was the 42nd pick overall, and was Philadelphia’s third selection of the day. A product of the US National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Ratchuk helped the Under-18 team to a gold medal - its second straight - at the IIHF World Under-18 championship in Sweden. Ratchuk assisted on the game-winning goal in the gold medal game against Finland, and he appeared in 55 games overall on the year with 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points.
The incoming blueliner is the 20th Spartan to be selected in the first two rounds in the last 18 seasons, and is the third second-rounder in the last three years. Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon, Mich.), a rising sophomore, was the 42nd pick in the 2005 entry draft by the Detroit Red Wings, while recent graduate David Booth was the 53rd overall selection in 2004, by the Florida Panthers. Ratchuk is the sixth Michigan State skater to be selected in the NHL draft by the Flyers; the last was Steve Beadle in the 1990 supplemental draft. The first-ever Spartan selected in an NHL entry draft was selected by the Philadelphia organization - Norm Barnes was a ninth-round pick (122 overall) in 1973. Other Flyer selections through the years were Pat Murray (1988, second round/35 overall), Jeff Harding (1987, second/30th), and Bruce Rendall (1985, second/42).
Turek was ranked in the third round of American skaters (69th overall) in the final NHL Central Scouting Rankings prior to the Entry Draft, and had skated at the NHL Draft Combine in Toronto earlier this spring prior to St. Louis making him the 94th selection in yesterday’s draft. Turek is a gifted skater who can play either forward or defense, and scored 17 goals and added 11 assists as a blueliner for the Omaha Lancers (USHL) this past season. The Blues have now drafted eight Spartans all-time, and only the New York Rangers have drafted more players out of the Michigan State program. Turek is the first Blues draftee, however, since Tyler Harlton in 1994 - who was also the 94th pick. Other Spartans to hear their name called on draft day by St. Louis have been Kevin Harper (1994, 10th/250), Mike Buzak (1993, seventh/167), recent Stanley Cup winner Rod Brind’Amour (1988, first/9), Mike O’Toole, (sixth, 115), Tom Tilley (1984, 10th/196) and Tom Ross (1976).
Sucharski’s selection in the fifth round (136th overall) made history of sorts, as he became the first Spartan to ever be drafted by the NHL club. Sucharski had entered Saturday’s draft with a Central Scouting ranking of 140 among North American skaters. Sucharski skated in 36 of Michigan State’s 45 games this season, and scored two goals and added five asssists for seven points. Both of his goals were game-winners. He was named the CCHA Rookie of the Week on January 9, after scoring the game-winning goal against Wayne State at Munn Ice Arena. He had missed a significant stretch of the beginning of his freshman season due to illness.
The Blue Jackets had 10 total picks in the draft, tied with Philadelphia for the second-most behind the 13 selections made by the New York Islanders. Sucharski was the sixth Columbus selection of the day, and is the third fifth-rounder for MSU in the last three years, joining Woodbury, Minn. native Jim McKenzie (Ottawa 2004, 141 overall) and classmate Tim Crowder (Victoria, BC) (Pittsburgh 2005, 126 overall).
The selection of Sucharski, Ratchuk, and Turek pushes MSU’s total current draftees to seven. In addition to Abdelkader, Crowder, and McKenzie, sophomore Tim Kennedy (Buffalo, NY) was drafted by the Washington Captials in the sixth round in the 2005 draft, but his rights have since been traded to his hometown Sabres.
Courtesy of the MSU SID!