UND commit Andrew Strathmann has an NHL Draft story to remember – Grand Forks Herald

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Andrew Strathmann will forever have a laugh when he tells his NHL Draft day story.

As the Columbus Blue Jackets made their pick at No. 98 and his family began celebrating in the Bridgestone Arena crowd, Strathmann was nowhere to be found.

Perhaps unfortunate timing on his part, but the UND commit ran to the bathroom at the end of the third round, expecting to have a quick break. However, that break was short-lived and Strathmann was taken just two picks into the fourth round.

“I ran over to the bathroom and I’m running back, and my buddy on the concourse was like, you got picked,” Strathmann said. “So I walked back into the arena and my family was standing up cheering. Just a funny story.”

Strathmann enjoyed a successful second United States Hockey League season, notching a career-high 38 points during the regular season and helping lead the Youngstown Phantoms to their first Clark Cup.

He was the USHL’s highest-rated non-NTDP defenseman and third-highest skater — No. 44 — in Central Scouting’s final draft rankings. He also had a good showing at the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo in early June.

While it was almost a lock the left-shot defenseman would hear his name called in Nashville, the big question was where.

“You do get a little nervous sitting out there but it’s been unreal to spend the time with my family and friends,” he said. “I’m glad it was Columbus because there’s a lot of connections there with me, so I’m excited.”

UND commit Andrew Strathmann releases the puck during a game in the 2022-23 season.

Contributed / Youngstown Phantoms

Strathmann’s parents, Ralph and Laura, were both on hand in Nashville, along with a group of about15 friends and family members.

Strathmann will return to Youngstown next season for one more year of junior hockey, then head to Grand Forks in the fall of 2024.

His future head coach, UND’s Brad Berry, was in Nashville on Thursday to witness the special day. Strathmann was one of four UND commits selected, joining Michael Emerson, David Klee and Jayden Perron.

“I think it’s an amazing experience,” Berry said. “I know I’ve been doing this for quite a while, but for these kids, it’s a surreal experience and they’re excited. There’s a little bit of anxiety and a little bit of nervousness, but once they get drafted it’s a special moment and I’m glad to be here to see it.”

Strathmann said he tries to model his game after Vegas defenseman Shea Theodore and New York Rangers captain Jacob Trouba.

His offensive ability has shined during his first two USHL seasons, but Strathmann also showed he’s not afraid to mix it up and play physical either. The defensive side of his game has continued to take strides, too.

Strathmann said he had a really good conversation with the Blue Jackets at the NHL Combine and knew Columbus was interested.

While he had to wait a few extra minutes to hear the news, he’s glad the Blue Jackets were the ones to call his name.

“I know a good amount of people on the staff, so it means a lot to know you’re in good hands,” Strathmann said. “I’m excited.”

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