Penn State’s Denis Smirnov, who led the nation’s freshmen in scoring this past season, became the third Nittany Lion to be chosen in the NHL draft on Saturrday.
Smirnov was selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the sixth round — the 156th pick overall.
Penn State’s Most Valuable Player and Freshman of the Year scored 19 goals and 28 assists in helping the Nittany Lions to the Big Ten tournament title, an NCAA tournament win over Union and a spot in the NCAA regional finals.
Smirnov, a native of Russia who was taken in the Russian KHL draft last year, follows incoming freshmen Evan Barrett, who was taken by the Chicago Blackhawks in the third round, and Cole Hults, who picked by the Los Angeles Kings in the fourth round.
The draft is only about a team’s rights to players and does not mean Smirnov will leave to play professionally.