Top NHL pick will play for Gophers
Defenseman Erik Johnson, the No. 1 overall pick in last month's NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues, will play for the Gophers men's hockey team this season. The Blues website reported the decision today.
"We feel this is a win-win situation for Erik to be going to an excellent hockey program to continue his development," said new Blues President John Davidson. "This is beneficial for his career, short term and long term, to play for the Gophers. He will have an opportunity to compete for an NCAA National Championship [in St. Louis in April of 2007], play in the World Junior Championships and enjoy university life."
Johnson, 18, a native of Bloomington, has spent the previous two years with USA Hockey's National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Johnson, 6-4, 222 pounds, had 16 goals and 33 assists playing for the U.S. National Under-18 team in 2005-06.