NEWARK, N.J. — Forward Jake Guentzel, an incoming freshman at UNO, was chosen in the third round of the NHL entry draft Sunday by the Pittsburgh Penguins while two Omaha Lancers were picked.
Guentzel was selected with the 77th overall pick and becomes the sixth member of the 2013-14 UNO team to be drafted by an NHL team. He is also the second Pittsburgh pick on the Mavericks’ roster. Josh Archibald was chosen in the sixth round in 2011.
Guentzel was named the USHL rookie of the year and a member of the league’s all-rookie team in his only year with Sioux City in 2012-13. Guentzel finished sixth in the USHL in scoring and fourth in power-play goals, and had a 21-game point streak to tie a USHL Tier 1-era record.
Despite being listed at 5-foot-9 and 153 pounds, Pittsburgh likes the potential of the 18-year-old Guentzel, said Randy Sexton, the Penguins’ assistant director of amateur scouting.
“Jake’s a smaller player now,” Sexton told NHL.com. “His brothers and his father are both over 6-foot, so we certainly believe he’s going to grow and every indication is that he will grow. We see this kid as certainly a middle-six forward that can generate some offense and play both sides of the puck. He was the rookie of the year in the USHL, he’s going to Nebraska-Omaha in the fall. He’s smart, he’s skilled, he’s gritty.”
Guentzel was born in Omaha while his dad, Mike, was coaching the Lancers. Mike later served as an assistant at UNO in 2010-11 and is currently a University of Minnesota assistant. Jake Guentzel has two brothers, Ryan and Gabe, who both played college hockey, Ryan at Notre Dame and Gabe at Colorado College.
Also Sunday, Lancer defenseman Tucker Poolman and forward Grant Besse were selected.
Poolman went in the fifth round, 127th overall, to Winnipeg. Lincoln Stars forward Luke Johnson, the son of former UNO assistant Steve Johnson, was taken seven picks later, by Chicago.
Besse was selected No. 147 overall by the Anaheim Ducks. In seven games with Omaha, he scored four goals. He will play for Wisconsin this season.
Poolman, a North Dakota recruit, led USHL defensemen with 12 power-play goals and was second in total goals (14).