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Wings land three pairs in 2008 draft

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Thomas McCollum
In Friday's first-round of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, the Red Wings selected goalie Thomas McCollum 30th overall. 

Ranked as the top goaltending prospect in this year’s draft, McCollum, who spent the 2007-08 season with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, becomes only the third goalie ever selected by the Red Wings in the first round, joining Terry Richardson (1973) and Jim Rutherford (1969), who were 11th and 10th overall picks respectively.

McCollum, 18, finished the season with a 25-17-6 record, a 2.50 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage.

According to the Calgary Herald, McCollum was followed this week by an NHL Production film crew to get a feel of what a top prospect goes through leading up to the draft.

"It's been a lot of fun," McCollum told the Herald. "I was a little nervous about it before I started,   the
Max Nicastro discusses the draft
but they told me they just wanted to capture me being me. Once they said that, I was 'All right, I don't have to do anything special. Just be myself. Just do my thing.' A lot of times, I even forget (the cameraman) is there."

A native of Sanborn, N.Y., McCollum played two seasons for Guelph. In his first campaign, he posted a 26-18-10 record with a 2.39 GAA and a .918 save percentage. In his first career OHL game, he shutout Windsor, 5-0. That season, he set a Storm record for most shutouts (five) in a single-season.

In the third round, the Red Wings selected another 18-year-old American player when they selected defenseman Max Nicastro, who played for the Chicago Steel of the USHL. The Red Wings did not have a second-round pick in this year's

In 56 games this season, Nicastro, a native of Thousand Oaks, Calif., had six goals and 14 assists and was a plus-seven.

The Wings picked a pair of centers with their fourth- and fifth-round selections, nabbing Gustav Nyquist of Sweden and Julien Cayer, who recently graduated from Northwood  High School in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Cayer, who is from Longueuil, Quebec, has committed to play next season at Clarkson University in New York, where Bryan Rufenach, the Wings' seventh-round pick last year, just finished his freshman year.

With their fifth pick, the Wings dipped into the OHL again, to select Belleville left wing Stephen Johnston in the sixth round. Johnston helped his draft status following a very strong playoff run with the Bulls, more than doubling his regular-season goal output. During the season, he managed just two goals with seven assists in 56 games. But in 21 playoff games, he had five goals and seven points in helping the Bulls reach the Memorial Cup.

The 2008 draft concluded with the Red Wings' seventh-round selection (211th overall) of Swedish center Jesper Samuelsson.

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