In today's second day of the 2014 NHL Draft, the Ohio State Men's Hockey team saw three players committed to the team taken. Dakota Joshua went at pick #128 to the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tyler Nanne went at pick #142 to the New York Rangers and his Edina High teammate, Miguel Fidler, went at #143 to the Florida Panthers. So what does this mean for their future at Ohio State?
The NHL Draft and its impact regarding team rights holding is fairly unique among North American sports. Players playing in the CHL, NCAA and in Europe all have differing conditions regarding the length a team can keep their rights after drafting them. There are complicated mechanisms involving CHL-NHL transfer agreements, AHL Amateur Try Out contracts and transfers between the NCAA and CHL. But for Ohio State's purposes, however, and for the three players taken in draft today that will be Buckeyes, it's all fairly straightforward.
Barring some kind of fantastic, mind blowingly unexpected season in 2014-15, Joshua, Nanne and Fidler will all be joining the Buckeyes in 2015-16. Fifth round picks rarely, if ever, go to the NHL or professional levels after just one year – or even two or three – so you can rest assured that they'll be coming. Even if they vastly outperform their position, they'll be coming for at least one year to Columbus. An NHL team could sign them at any time they wanted and bring them straight to the pros and evaporate their NCAA eligibility, but it's highly unlikely.
And truth be told, there's a solid chance they will be in Columbus for three or four years. An NHL team retains an 18-or-19-year-old drafted player's rights until August 15 after their class graduates, provided they are enrolled college students on the June following the draft. This is not going to be the case for Joshua, Nanne or Fidler as they are all staying at the junior levels for the 2015-16 season, so there is a slight variation that could worry their teams if one of them vastly outperforms their draft position. Since they will be effectively burning a year before attending college (they'll be college students two June 1sts from now), they will either have their rights retained by their NHL team until the later of: (a) the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft, or (b) thirty (30) days after NHL Central Registry receives notice that the player is no longer a bona fide college student, according to the NHL CBA. This could create a Justin Schultz situation where he left Wisconsin after three years and spurned the Ducks to sign with Edmonton.
Players like Nick Jones and Tyler Busch, who both went unselected, will both be eligible for next year's draft and won't have that three year out as they will be college students on the June 1st after selection.
For Ohio State's purposes, however, there isn't much difference between the two. If one of the players plays well enough to outperform their draft positions, they'll likely be gone after two or three years in Columbus no matter what. If they don't and aren't offered contracts with their drafted teams, a very realistic possibility for late round picks, they could play in Columbus for four years and then try their hand at free agency once their rights are relinquished.
But barring something unforeseen like an NHL team deciding that Joshua, Nanne or Fidler are ready for the AHL despite being only 18 or 19, all will play a year in Junior and then come to Columbus for the 2015-16 season.