“He is an elite-level defenseman in the east and in the country right now.”
Those words were used by men’s hockey head coach Brendan Whittet ’94 in a March 4 Herald article to describe Dennis Robertson ’14, his first-year defenseman who had just won All-Ivy honors. As Day 2 of the NHL Draft showed, Whittet and the Toronto Maple Leafs were on the same wavelength. The Leafs selected Robertson in the 6th Round of the draft Saturday, giving Toronto the rights to Bruno’s very own blueliner .
Robertson is the second Brown icer to make NHL news in 2011. A few months ago, captain Harry Zolnierczyk ’11 signed a deal with the Philadelphia Flyers upon completing his senior season. Zolnierczyk played in the final 16 games for Philly’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, scoring three goals and adding two assists. Just recently in an article on CSNPhilly.com, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren hinted that the Flyers regard Zolnierczyk as a player they hope can contribute soon on NHL ice, calling Zolnierczyk a player Philadelphia “likes and feels will play games for us [this coming season].”
While Bears fans should keep an eye out for Zolnierczyk in NHL arenas next season — along with Aaron Volpatti ’10 of the Vancouver Canucks — Robertson in all likelihood will be back at Meehan Auditorium to further hone his skills and help anchor the Brown blue line. Per NCAA rules, a player retains his collegiate eligibility and amateur status as long as he does not play in a pro game or hire an agent. In the NHL, it is customary for teams to draft players whom they expect to spend more time with their college or junior league teams to develop before coming up to the big club.
The recent accomplishments of Robertson and Zolnierczyk make one thing clear: Meehan may not have been the ideal place for a Diddy concert, but when the ice is out and the temperature drops, the Bears have the talent and drive to skate with anyone.
Just ask Yale.
Image c/o Jonathan Bateman