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Oleksiak picked in first round of NHL Draft

Photo by Jim Pierce.

Jamie Oleksiak, a 6-foot-7, 255-pound defenseman for the Northeastern University men’s hockey team, has been selected by the Dallas Stars with the 14th overall pick in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

The freshman, who posted four goals and nine assists in 38 games with the Huskies, was the country’s top collegiate prospect in this year’s draft class, according to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. He is Northeastern’s second-ever first-round NHL draft pick. Mike Morris, who played for the Huskies from 2002 to 2007, was selected with the 27th overall pick by San Jose in 2002.

“It’s unbelievable and I couldn’t be happier,” Oleksiak said of being selected by Dallas, a competitive club that amassed 42 wins and 95 points last season. “I’m really excited right now and I think it’s a really good fit for me.

“I talked with Dallas’ scouts and the management before and I’m really looking forward to this opportunity.”

The imposing blueliner possesses a unique blend of strength and agility that invokes comparisons to NHL superstar Zdeno Chara, the tallest pro hockey player of all time, who hoisted the Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins earlier this month.

“Chara’s a big guy, but he’s very mobile and has a great ability to get pucks through to the net,” Oleksiak told the News@Northeastern in February. “I like to carry the puck out of my own zone and make smart plays by passing to the forwards.”

Northeastern’s interim head coach Sebastien Laplante praised Oleksiak’s competitive drive. “Jamie is a terrific prospect with tons of upside ahead of him,” he said. “He is a great kid who went from relatively unknown to a high-end prospect because of his dedication to becoming an elite player and his work ethic.”

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