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Samberg caps busy month at Jets development camp

Selection of defenseman by Winnipeg in 2017 NHL Draft came 12 days after high school graduation

by Scott Billeck / Correspondent

WINNIPEG -- Twelve days before defenseman Dylan Samberg settled into his seat at United Center in Chicago for the 2017 NHL Draft, he was accepting his diploma from Hermantown High School in Minnesota.

The past month has been a wild ride for Samberg, 18, who graduated on June 11 and was selected by the Winnipeg Jets in the second round (No. 43) at the draft on June 24.

From Hermantown, where he won two state championships and was named the Reed Larson Award winner as the state's top senior high school defenseman last season, Samberg found himself waiting anxiously to hear his name at the draft.

His selection by the Jets continued the whirlwind; about 48 hours after he put on a Winnipeg jersey for the first time, he was on the ice at the Jets development camp at Bell MTS Iceplex, which ran from June 26-30.

"After the season was over, it set in that I was looking forward to the draft and the nerves set in," Samberg said. "It's kind of weird to think about. This season I was playing high school, then I went to juniors (six games with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League) and now I'm going to be going to college [at the University of Minnesota-Duluth].

"Then to hear my name called on the second day was kind of a relief."

Video: DEV CAMP | Dylan Samberg

Samberg was a finalist last season for Minnesota's Mr. Hockey award, given to the best senior high school player in the state, won by forward Casey Mittelstadt, taken by the Buffalo Sabres with the No. 8 pick in the draft.

Samberg is looking forward to refining his game at Minnesota-Duluth.

"I know all the coaches really well and they've all played a high level of hockey," he said. "I thought they could give me the insight of the game that I couldn't get anywhere else."

Winnipeg shored up at defense in the draft; Samberg (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) was the first of four defenseman - Johnny Kovacevic, Leon Gawanke, Croix Evingson - all 6 feet or taller - selected by the Jets.

"He's a really good skating, puck moving defenseman, big guy," Jets director of amateur scouting Mark Hillier said of Samberg at the draft. "There's a bit of a raw element to him. High-school kid that's going to Minnesota-Duluth. He's going to skip a year in the USHL to go right to college, so we're excited about his upside."

Samberg wasn't always a big player on defense.

"I used to be a small guy on the ice," he said, "but after my freshman year, I shot up 4 inches and then grew through my sophomore and junior year. I started to put on weight and kind of develop."

Samberg considers himself a stay-at-home defenseman who likes to use his size.

"I'm more of a defensive defenseman, I just simplify the game," he said. "Get pucks moving forward. Don't let anyone get around you, play physical."

Video: ASK A JET | Dylan Samberg

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