California quartet sees NHL dreams get closer after selections in 2021 NHL Draft
Four California natives and Los Angeles Jr. Kings products – forward Andre Gasseau and defensemen Shai Buium, Aidan Hreschuk and Ty Murchison – were selected in this year’s NHL Draft, which was conducted virtually on July 23-24.
Buium, a University of Denver recruit from San Diego, was chosen in the second round (36th overall) by the Detroit Red Wings. Last season, Buium patrolled the blue line for the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers.
“It’s a dream come true, I’m super excited to be part of this organization,” said Buium, on a media Zoom call. “Growing up, Detroit was my favorite team when they had (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Nick) Lidstrom, they were my two favorite players. It’s a dream come true to be drafted by the Red Wings.”
Buium also played for the SDIA Oilers during his youth career.
“I asked my mom if I could play and she was hesitant, she said no a couple of times,” said Buium. “Eventually, she said yes, to try it out and thankfully, she let me play. It is expensive (to play) in California. She never really told me (why she was against it), but I got attracted to hockey and stuck with it. More kids are playing it now, 100 percent. Kids that go to the high school I went to are playing hockey, and I didn’t know any kids when I went there that played hockey.
Boston College-bound Hreschuk, a Long Beach native, was picked in the third round (94th overall) by the Carolina Hurricanes. Hreschuk skated last season with the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-18 Team.
A Corona native, Murchison was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers in the fifth round (158th overall).
An Arizona State University recruit, Murchison also skated for the NTDP’s Under-18 Team last season.
“The National Team program was a great spot for my development,” Murchison said. “Playing against the best players in my age group, and getting to play at the Under-18s there was pretty big for me.”
“Ty is a good-sized defender,” added Flyers scout Nick Pryor. “Good size. Good range. Moves real well. Plays with some aggression. That’s something that we really like. Something that we think he has a future in our organization with those attributes.”
Gasseau, another Boston College recruit, was selected by the Boston Bruins in the seventh round (213th overall). The Los Angeles native was also a member of the NTDP’s Under-18 Team in 2020-21.
He joined the NTDP full-time after spending the 2019-20 season with Shattuck St. Mary’s 16U AAA team.
“I think being away from home, making that transition, having to be more responsible and on my own, the transition from hockey and all that at Shattuck, it really grew my game and grew me as a person,” said Gasseau. “(That) led me to play on the National Team and be an NHL draft pick.”
Gasseau will play with the USHL’s Fargo Force next season before making his way to Boston and beginning his freshman year with the Eagles in the fall of 2022.
“Super convenient, just down the street,” said Gasseau. “It’ll be Boston for a couple more years after that, super excited.
“I was talking to [the Bruins] a couple of times, actually, the past two weeks. Every time I’ve talked to them, we’ve had a strong connection. I believe it’s going to be the right fit.”
Gasseau, Hreschuk and Murchison were members of the Jr. Kings’ 2017-18 Pacific District champion 14U AAA team that advanced to the USA Hockey National Championships.
All four players are 2003 birth years.
Buium photo/Dan Hickling; NTDP photos/USA Hockey
— Matt Mackinder
(July 28, 2021)