On Saturday, a Cornell hockey player was taken in the NHL Draft at the highest spot in twelve years.
With the 63rd pick, incoming freshman forward Matthew Stienburg went to the Colorado Avalanche. 117 picks later, the Vancouver Canucks selected freshman forward Jack Malone in the sixth round.
Current Columbus Blue Jackets forward Riley Nash ’10 was drafted 21st overall in 2007, making him the last Cornellian to go in an earlier spot than Stienburg.
Stienburg is coming to East Hill straight from prep school — more specifically, from St. Andrew’s College in Ontario, where rising junior forward Morgan Barron also attended prior to Cornell.
Stienburg’s athletic development was recently hampered by two surgeries necessitated by Osteomyelitis, an infection in his shoulder that developed from a case of the flu. This setback effectively caused him to be ranked at No. 133 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting going into the draft.
Playing in the NHL is no foreign concept to the Stienburg household — Matthew’s father, Trevor, played 71 games over four seasons with the Quebec Nordiques. Trevor Stienburg is now the head coach for St. Mary’s University men’s hockey in Nova Scotia.
Malone, Cornell’s other 2019 draftee, is coming to Ithaca after two years playing with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL. There, he competed in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January and won a gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge in December.
The forward spent his final year in junior hockey honing his skills and garnering the attention of coaches and scouts alike.
“He’s got an elite hockey IQ and he’s a tremendous athlete,” Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson said. “When you mix everything together, you see the benefits every time he’s on the ice.”
Such valuable skills certainly factored into Malone’s being ranked at No. 82 by NHL Central Scouting ahead of the draft.
The 2019 NHL Draft concluded Saturday evening after seven rounds and 217 picks.
Both Stienburg and Malone are entering Cornell as true freshmen, at 18-years-old. With the Red, they will look to help fill the gap left by the two forwards that graduated with the class of 2019.