Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Seven UMass skaters attend NHL development camps

Four draft picks and three invitees among the Minutemen

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(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

(Jon Asgeirsson/Daily Collegian)

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The Massachusetts hockey team won’t compete in a Hockey East Association game for another three months, but UMass continues to make waves in the offseason.

Over the past three weeks, seven Minutemen were either invited, re-invited or asked to participate in summer development camps as draft picks, with various National Hockey League organizations hosting.

The group selected to showcase their talents in front of NHL executives was composed of Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche), Ivan Chukarov (Buffalo Sabres), Philip Lagunov (Boston Bruins), Mitchell Chaffee (Pittsburgh Penguins), incoming freshman Ty Farmer (Minnesota Wild), Mario Ferraro and John Leonard (San Jose Sharks).

Makar returned for a second year of development camp from June 28 to July 2 with the Avalanche after going fourth overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft–the highest draft pick in UMass history.

As a freshman, Makar was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team and registered 21 points on five goals and 16 assists in 34 games.

Alongside Makar on the blueline, fellow 2017 draft pick Mario Ferraro (49th overall), competed in his second consecutive camp after a tremendous first go-around with the Minutemen.

Playing in each of the season’s 39 games, Ferraro collected 23 points with four goals and led the team in assists with 19. He also set a program record for most assists by a freshman defenseman.

Leonard joined the company of Ferraro as a San Jose prospect when the Sharks selected him 182nd overall in the sixth round of this year’s draft.

The Amherst native led the Minutemen in scoring (28 points) while sharing the team lead in goals with Chaffee (13) and registered 15 assists through 33 games, as well as a team-best four power-play goals.

Sharks camp was held from July 3-6.

From June 27-30, Chukarov took part in development camp, as he was selected in the seventh round of the 2015 draft (182nd overall) by the Sabres.

After missing the first eight games of last season with an injury, the defenseman returned to play in 31 contests and collected six assists with 16 blocked shots along the way.

Lagunov attended the Bruins’ development camp after receiving an invite which lasted from June 26-29.

In 2017-18 as a freshman, Lagunov appeared in 37 games and amassed 12 points on three goals and nine assists. He scored one power-play goal and led UMass forwards with 38 blocked shots.

Chaffee was also issued an invite, this one from the Penguins, which went from June 27-29.

The Rockford, Mich. product competed in all 39 games of the 2017-18 campaign, collecting 24 points.

Incoming Minuteman freshman defenseman Ty Farmer was invited to the Wild’s camp that began Tuesday and runs until Sunday.

Farmer won a Clark Cup Championship with the Fargo Force of the United States Hockey League in 2017-18 and netted 39 points in 58 games.

All seven skaters who attended camps will have a head start on their Minutemen companions with their first game coming Oct. 6 when UMass scrimmages Royal Military College of Canada at the Mullins Center.

Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.

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