Two future UMass hockey players selected in 2015 NHL Draft

By Anthony Chiusano

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Two days after former Massachusetts basketball standout Cady Lalanne was selected in the 2015 NBA Draft, a pair of future Minutemen heard their names called in this year’s NHL Draft.

Jake Massie, a 2016 recruit, and 2015 incoming freshman Ivan Chukarov were each selected on the draft’s second day by the Carolina Hurricanes and Buffalo Sabres respectively. Massie was the No. 156 overall pick in the sixth round Saturday, while Chukarov was taken with the first pick of the seventh round (182nd overall).

A 6-foot-1, 172-pound defenseman from Quebec, Massie is set to join UMass for the 2016-17 season. This past year, he played for Kimball Union Academy of the USHS where he tallied five goals and 15 assists in 34 games.

Massie is a speedy blueline option that was ranked 80th among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s final list before the draft. In a brief session with the press following his selection, Massie told reporters that he “likes to take risks” and is an “offensive defenseman.”

Unlike Massie, Chukarov will be in Amherst this upcoming fall as a member of the 2015 freshman class. Also a defenseman, the Chicago native stands at 6-foot-2, 198 pounds and was a key contributor this past year to the 2015 NAHL champion Minnesota Wilderness.

“I’m excited for him and his family,” Minutemen coach John Micheletto said in a phone interview. “He took a long road to get here, especially for what’s best described as a late bloomer. It goes to show the determination that Ivan has and his approach for the game.”

In his championship run with the Wilderness, Chukarov recorded 12 goals and 31 assists in 55 games. His 43 points in 2015 was a major boost from the 12 he produced for Minnesota the previous year and his development was something that attracted UMass late in the recruiting process.

“He was always a good player, it’s not like he’s come out of nowhere. But some of it was just a little more confidence as he got bigger and stronger,” Micheletto said. “He’s always been a good skater and has fantastic puck skills.

“We’re excited for the opportunity to be involved with his development moving forward.”

According to Micheletto, Chukarov will be given the chance to take on an immediate role this upcoming season with the Minutemen, along with the rest of the 2015 freshman class. Just last season, UMass freshmen combined for 36 goals.

“We’re certainly expecting them to try to live up to what the previous freshman class did,” Micheletto said. “That bar was set pretty high with the point totals, but we certainly think we have a number of players that can contribute right away in this class, including Ivan.”

Chukarov will join a UMass defensive corps that now boasts three NHL draft picks with rising senior Ben Gallacher (2010 fourth round, Florida Panthers) and fellow incoming freshman William Lagesson (2014 fourth round, Edmonton Oilers).

In total, Chukarov became the 24th member in UMass hockey history to be selected in the NHL Draft. This number does not include Massie, who hasn’t signed his National Letter of Intent yet.

“I can’t highlight enough in terms of how hard a worker Ivan is,” Micheletto said. “I would anticipate that with that sort of work ethic and attention to detail, he’s going to continue to be a really good prospect for the Buffalo Sabres.”

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.