EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State incoming freshman Daultan Leveille (St. Catharine’s, Ontario) was selected in the first round of the National Hockey League entry draft on Friday evening by the Atlanta Thrashers. Leveille, who had a final ranking of 47 among North American Skaters in the NHL’s final Central Scouting ratings, became the Spartans’ ninth first-round NHL draft pick in program history when he went No. 29 overall.
Leveille played the last two years in his hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario for the St. Catharines Falcons, members of the Golden Horseshoe Junior B Hockey League, part of the Ontario Hockey Association. A 5-11, 163-pound centerman, Leveille recorded 101 points in 93 career games, including a 29-27-56 scoring line last season in 45 contests. He led his team in playoff scoring with 30 points and finished tied for first with 14 goals, including three game-winning goals, eight multi-point games and a 10-game point streak.
Leveille, a 1990 birthyear who will turn 18 just before beginning classes at Michigan State this fall, is the first-ever NHL draft pick for the St. Catharines Falcons. He is the ninth MSU player to be drafted in the first round in program history, and the first since defenseman AJ Thelen in 2004 (12th overall by Minnesota).
Leveille is also the third MSU player to be drafted by the Thrashers – both Jim Slater (first round, 30th overall) and Colton Fretter (eighth round, 230th overall) were selected by Atlanta in the 2002 draft. Slater has skated in 214 NHL games for the Thrashers over the last three seasons; Fretter played his first pro season in 2006-07 and was the Rookie of the Year for the Gwinnett Gladiators, the Thrashers’ ECHL affiliate. He began last season with their AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves, but was traded mid-season to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL).
The 2008 NHL Entry Draft continues to completion on Saturday in Ottawa, with rounds 2-7.