Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Trio of 'Tobans celebrate selections

Goalie Kasdorf, D-man Edmundson, forward St. Croix

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ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Jason Kasdorf waited on Saturday. And he waited some more.

And then a most anxious time at the NHL's entry draft turned into the best day of his life.

The Winnipeg Jets drafted the Winnipeg-born goalie with their pick in the sixth round, 157th overall.

It might as well have been with their first pick based on how the 19-year-old Portage Terriers netminder felt.

"Getting drafted to my home town feels awesome," Kasdorf said. "I've never been so excited in my life."

There were only three Manitobans selected in the draft; Kasdorf, Brandon-born defenceman Joel Edmundson of the Moose Jaw Warriors and Winnipeg forward Michael St. Croix of the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Edmundson was chosen by the St. Louis Blues in the second round, 46th overall. St. Croix went in the fourth round, 106th, to the Rangers.

As the later rounds of the draft droned on in front of a dwindling crowd at the Xcel Energy Center, Kasdorf was feeling the nerves.

"Not many goalies were getting drafted," he recounted. "I was a little bit nervous as people were getting picked. But I was really excited when I got picked.

"Best day of my life."

He said that prior to the draft, he had no idea what would happen. NHL Central Scouting had him rated as the 10th best goalie on its lists. Only 19 goalies were picked this year.

"I had talked to Chicago a little bit and the assistant GM of Winnipeg (Craig Heisinger) and I thought 'maybe'," he said. "But nothing was for sure."

Kasdorf, who cited Pekka Rinne and Carey Price as his favourite NHL goalies, expects to be heading to RPI in Massachusetts to play NCAA hockey this fall.

"This is just a start," he said. "I want lots of progress, training."

The 6-foot-3 goalie said he come likes to "come out and challenge the shooters and try to play aggressive."

And he was happy to share the spotlight of his big day with his family and his Turnbull Cup-winning Terriers teammates.

"I was on a great team with great players in front of me and a great coaching staff," he said of the MJHL champs. "(Here), my family was freaking out. I sort of missed a part of it (when he was picked) I was so excited."

Edmundson spent Friday night tossing and turning.

"I couldn't sleep last night, just thinking about where I was going to end up today, but it's all been a great experience and I'm just happy," he said after the Blues chose him with the third of their three second-round picks. "It was a rough sleep... so I'm pretty tired right now. But my whole family and all my friends are really excited for me."

St. Croix's selection by the Rangers was a little lower than many expected. The Hockey News had him ranked 46th.

"I was getting a little nervous," St. Croix said. "I was trying not to think about it too much. When it got close to the time I was supposed to go, it was tough. I know I went to a good organization. Their needs are my kind of game."

The slick, offensive right-winger had 75 points for Edmonton of the WHL this season.

He didn't attend the draft at the Xcel Energy Center.

"If you're not going to go in the first round, it's not necessary to be there," St. Croix said. "Sitting there and waiting and waiting, that's not so good. I figured I might as well go to the lake and not worry about it."

St. Croix will be ending his lake weekend a little early. He's headed to New York today for some time with the Rangers organization.

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

-- with files from the Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2011 B3

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