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Future Colorado College defenseman Robbie Stucker goes in seventh round of NHL draft by Columbus

June 24, 2017 Updated: June 24, 2017 at 4:11 pm
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Hill-Murray Pioneers goalie Jake Begley stops a point blank shot from St. Thomas Academy Cadets defender Robbie Stucker in the second period at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood on Thursday, Jan 5, 2017. Hill-Murray beat St. Thomas Academy, 2-1. Hill-Murray's Begley stopped 26 of 27 shots. (Pioneer Press: John Autey)

A whirlwind week for Colorado College hockey signee Robbie Stucker is just getting started.

The Minnesota high school defenseman leaves Sunday for the Columbus Blue Jackets developmental camp in Ohio less than a day after he was selected 210th overall (seventh round) during the NHL draft on Saturday at Chicago's United Center.

"I was getting a little nervous there (as the final - No. 231 - pick approached)," Stucker said. "I wasn't even watching it. My friend called me and (Columbus) called me right after. It's a big sense of relief."

"I am looking forward to getting some more confidence along with the experience of going to my first (developmental) camp," he added. "I am looking forward to learning what it is like being part of a pro team."

The 6-foot-3, 180-pound blue-liner may join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program at the start of the 2018-19 season.

He committed to CC in March and confirmed that he signed his NCAA National Letter of Intent with the Tigers in May. Under NCAA rules, CC coaches cannot comment on Stucker until a formal announcement is made.

The 18-year-old will play next season with the U.S. Hockey League’s Chicago Steel after four years at 2A St. Thomas Academy. He recorded 51 points (40 assists) in 31 high school games his senior season. He was drafted 193rd overall (12th round) in the recent USHL draft.

Stucker, ranked No. 88 among North American skaters listed in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings, was the highest rated of the incoming Tigers garnering scouts' attention.

Next year's incoming freshman class and team roster is yet to be announced, but it is likely there will be no NHL draft picks on the Tigers next season due to the recent early departure of senior defenseman Teemu Kivihalme.

Stucker doesn't put too much stock in being drafted, even if the lifelong Blackhawks fan -- his family is originally from Chicago -- dreamed of it from his first days in youth hockey.

"There is a lot of work ahead," he said. "I have good size but I need to get stronger and put on some weight. I am a smooth-skating defender who can step forward on the rush and I don't mind getting physical. I need to work on being better in my D-zone. I have a good stick but I need to work on angling (foes) off and closing gaps better. These are all things I am going to work on in Chicago."

The Steel training camp is in August and Stucker hopes the Columbus camp will help prepare him for the USHL.

"Minnesota high school hockey is pretty underrated but the developmental camp will be a big step," Stucker said. "You have to be confident and make quicker decisions."

Stucker said he and the CC coaches will evaluate his progress after next season to see if he is ready to move on to the Tigers, 8-24-4 last season.

"I had a look from a lot bigger schools but I fell in love with the Colorado experience when I went out there (on a recruiting visit)," he said. "It's so beautiful out there. I got along great with the coaches. They are a team on the rise in the best conference in college hockey."

Stucker's selection ends a three-year drought for the Tigers with the last player drafted in 2014 -- departed goalie Chase Perry. In this weekend's draft, 11 current or future NCHC players were selected, led by Minnesota-Duluth (four); St. Cloud State (three) and one apiece for CC, Denver, Miami and North Dakota. Western Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha were shut out.

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