Union sophomore defenseman and Clifton Park native Jeff Taylor was selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the seventh round of the NHL draft on Saturday.
Taylor, 20, had three goals and 13 assists in 41 games last season in helping the Dutchmen win the NCAA title. He was named to the ECAC Hockey Media Association All-Rookie team. He was paired with Shayne Gostisbehere, now with the Philadelphia Flyers, for most of last season.
He was the 203rd pick overall.
“I wasn’t expecting to go high,” said Taylor, who will attend the Penguins’ development camp in July. “I was expecting to go in the late rounds. I was ecstatic once I finally saw my name. I was happy to be even be considered being drafted or being invited to a camp. I was just happy that teams were talking to me a little bit.”
Taylor was paired with junior Shayne Gostisbehere for most of last season. All Gostisbehere did was win ECAC Hockey’s Co-Player of the Year and Co-Defensive Defenseman of the Year, earn All-America status and earned the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four after Union beat Boston College and Minnesota to win the title. Gostisbehere is now with the Penguins’ cross-state rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.
“He helped me a lot,” Taylor said. “He did so many things that you would think you couldn’t do in college hockey. He gave me that confidence to try new stuff. It was great, especially since it was my first year. Him and Mat Bodie were great leaders on the back end.”
After graduating Albany Academy, Taylor played with the U.S. Hockey League’s Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2012-13.
Union coach Rick Bennett is very happy for Taylor. Bennett had a notion that Taylor was garnering some attention.
“Just as Shayne benefited from playing with Greg Coburn, Jeff, in a small way, benefited from playing with Shayne,” Bennett said. “But at the same token, you are who you are as a player. and Jeff earned this by his hard work and his dedication to the game.
“I’ve heard from numerous scouts that were watching Jeff [say] that his progression over the course of the season is what put him on the map.”
Two players with ties to RPI were also picked. Incoming freshman defenseman Michael Prapavessis was selected in the fourth round by the Dallas Stars. Goalie Alec Dillion, a 2015-16 recruit, was a fifth-round selection of the Stanley Cup-champion Los Angeles Kings.