It already has been a good week for Union sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, and it could get even better.
On Monday, Gostisbehere was invited to the U.S. National Development camp for a chance to make the U.S. World Junior team.
This weekend, Gostisbehere could be an NHL draft pick.
The NHL draft takes place tonight and Saturday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The first round will be conducted tonight, and the final six rounds take place Saturday.
Gostisbehere was ranked 148th among North American skaters in the final NHL Central Scouting Bureau list of players eligible for this year’s draft. If Gostisbehere is selected, he would become the first Dutchmen Division I player to be selected while still at Union. Former Dutchmen goalie Justin Mrazek was taken in the 2004 draft by the Washington Capitals prior to his freshman year.
The 19-year-old Gostisbehere had an outstanding freshman season, collecting five goals and 17 assists in 41 games. He was named to the ECAC Hockey All-Rookie team, and was selected to the ECACH All-Tournament team.
Gostisbehere won’t be in Pittsburgh for the draft. He will spend it in his hometown of Margate, Fla.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s a whole new experience. It’ll be exciting if something happens.”
Gostisbehere has spoken to a couple of teams — he declined to say which ones. But he did mention what the teams talked to him about.
“They like my offensive ability, and I’m not the worst, defensively,” Gostisbehere said. “I can still stand up for myself, defensively. I’m not just an offensive player.
“They just wanted basic information. They wanted to know family background, strength and conditioning stuff, how our coaches treat me as a player.”
Union coach Rick Bennett likes Gostisbehere’s chances of getting drafted.
“They like his shiftiness, and an offensive-type defenseman who thinks the game,” Bennett said. “Those two [characteristics] really kind of jut out because everyone is always looking for an offensive defenseman because they are point producers, and those are hard to come by these days.”
Gostisbehere was thrilled to get the invite to the U.S. National Development camp. He will be one of 46 players trying to get an opportunity to make the U.S. team that will compete in the World Junior Hockey Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Ufa, Russia. The camp runs Aug. 4-11 in Lake Placid.
Gostisbehere is one of 17 defensemen on the roster.
“That was a big thing for me and my family,” Gostisbehere said. “Representing your country, there’s nothing better than that.”
Two other Union players could be under consideration to be drafted.
Incoming defenseman Tim Boyle is ranked 208th among North American skaters. Boyle, the brother of New York Rangers center Brian Boyle, played for Nobles Prep.
Goalie and Niskayuna native Colin Stevens is a long shot to be picked. The sophomore wasn’t listed on the eligible North American goalies. Stevens was 4-2-4 in 11 games last season with 2.25 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage. The 18-year-old Stevens may have gotten more of a look, had Troy Grosenick not emerged as the Dutchmen’s top goalie.