Devils select Blake Coleman in third round
Center led USHL in scoring, secured Player of the Year honors
Saturday, 06.25.2011 / 1:01 PM / Draft
By Eric Marin
Skating for the Indiana Ice, Coleman, a center, led the USHL in scoring with 92 points (34g-58a) – the league's highest total in more than a decade. Selected in the third round, 75th overall, by the Devils at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, he hopes to bring that scoring touch to New Jersey someday.
"I'm just ecstatic," Coleman said of becoming a Devil. "I just can't even describe it right now."
After meeting with the club, he had a hunch he might pulling on a red and black jersey Saturday at the Xcel Energy Center. He was ranked 198th among North American skaters by Central Scouting.
"I met with them this week and I thought things went well, but like I said I can't even describe it right now, I'm so excited," he said.
Asked what he brings, Coleman described a "can't-be-denied attitude." The native of Plano, Tex., grew up supporting the Dallas Stars. While he wasn't a fan of the Devils when they beat the Stars for the 2000 Stanley Cup, he said Saturday, "I sure am now."
Coleman's development is a testament to the growth of hockey in non-traditional hockey regions such as the southwest.
"I played my midgets there, I played youth hockey – I grew up through Dallas," he said. "I spent one year in the Detroit through that whole stint but the rest was all Dallas."
As for his outstanding season in Indiana, Coleman credited his coaches and linemates.
"Just great coaching, a lot of work in the weight room, a lot of work on the ice," he said. "It wasn't easy, but a great team, great linemates. Everything had to come together for it, but it all worked out."
Coleman's 92 points marked the first time a USHLer surpassed 90 since Thomas Vanek put up 91 for Sioux Falls in 2001-02. Coleman measures 5-10, 198 lbs.
More on Coleman from indianaice.com:
• Coleman had 17 more points than the next highest scorer and his 58 assists were the most in the USHL since the 2007-08 season.
• It was the second USHL campaign for the native of Plano, Texas and a breakout season offensively after he tallied 28 points (10g, 18a) in 2009-10.
• Coleman also led the USHL with a plus-52 rating, the highest mark on record since the USHL became Tier I in 2002. He was listed on the NHL Central Scouting final rankings and is set to begin his collegiate career at Miami University next season.