Seth Ambroz: Waiting, agonizing and at last smiling

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 26, 2011 - 9:17 AM

For Seth Ambroz and other NHL hopefuls, this weekend offered the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies a draft. Only when they were picked could they relax.

Before Seth Ambroz headed to Xcel Energy Center floor to meet the Columbia Blue Jackets brass, his mother, Sue, wrapped him in a second hug she said she deserved and figured he needed.

Projected to be a low first- or high second-round selection in this weekend's NHL draft, Ambroz endured a fall to the fifth round, No. 128 overall. Ambroz, a New Prague native, said the drop was an unpleasant surprise.

"You don't know what to expect," Ambroz said. "Obviously I was expecting to be higher, but now it's all said and done and I can't complain. Being selected to an NHL team is a great accomplishment."

Last season, NHL insiders were projecting Ambroz, a 6-2, 209-pound forward, as a mid first-round pick in 2011. He was ranked 28th in the Central Scouting midterm rankings and fell slightly to 31st in the final rankings. No players ranked ahead of Ambroz heard their name called later than the second round this weekend.

Ambroz said of his outlook as he waited: "It wasn't necessarily 'if,' just more 'when' the whole time. Obviously I thought I was going to go early on, but stuff happens."

Whatever confidence NHL teams lacked in Ambroz had no impact on his mother.

"I believe Columbus got a No. 1 pick in the fifth round," Sue Ambroz said.

Ambroz elevated his status with a solid 2009-10 season playing for Omaha of the United States Hockey League, producing 22 goals and 27 assists and finishing with a plus-24 rating. He scored 24 goals this season, but his rating fell to plus-2.

Of greater concern to scouts is Ambroz's speed, something he knows must improve.

"It's going to be those first three steps that need to get quicker," Ambroz said. "I'm confident I'll be able to do that and get to where I want to go."

After three seasons in the USHL, Ambroz will skate for the Gophers this fall. Coach Don Lucia considers him a "prototypical power forward" who will add value to the program because he is "not afraid to get involved physically."

Sue Ambroz expects her son to use his draft-day frustration to sharpen his edge.

"I would not want to be the people who are competing against him for a position, because they are going down," Sue Ambroz said. "He'll be in the NHL sooner than people think."

Omaha Lancers coach Bliss Littler concurred, telling the Star Tribune last week that Ambroz "may have started a little high" in the draft projections "but I would not bet against Seth Ambroz."

Waiting and watching

Draft-day angst is common for players throughout the rounds. New Wild forward Zack Phillips, selected in Friday's first round (No. 28 overall), worried that months of first-round projections would go unfulfilled.

"It's nerve-wracking," Phillips said. "You've been hearing for a couple months, 'First round, first round,' and then as the first round dwindles to an end, there's a little bit of pressure and your heart starts pounding. So it's definitely that much more exciting to hear your name called."

Several of Saturday's second-round selections said the wait did not outweigh the thrill of being drafted.

Florida selection Rocco Grimaldi, a 5-6 forward, said of waiting to be taken 33rd overall: "When it was done [Friday] and I wasn't picked, I was just looking forward to today, knowing that I was going to go sometime. I was glad it was early so I didn't have to wait too long."

Tomas Jurco's deft hands and slick moves were featured on the Xcel Energy Center video board Saturday, but he still fell to the Detroit in the second round (No. 35 overall). "I was kind of sad [Friday]," he said. "It was kind of hard to go to sleep, but today is a new day and I'm really happy to be drafted by Detroit."

Aware that players' draft positions ultimately are nothing but numbers, Boone Jenner, who went 37th overall to Columbus, said, "All of us go to camp, and from there on it's who wants it more."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Portland 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 6:30 PM
New Jersey
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Colgate
Northeastern 6:00 PM
Drexel
Wake Forest 6:00 PM
Florida State
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Fordham
Delaware 6:00 PM
James Madison
South Carolina 6:00 PM
LSU
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Marquette
Binghamton 6:00 PM
UMBC
American Univ 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Penn State
Duquesne 6:00 PM
Richmond
SMU 6:00 PM
South Florida
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hofstra 6:00 PM
William & Mary
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Longwood
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 56 FINAL
Siena 49
Dayton 70 2nd Half 3:07
Richmond 56
Eastern Kentucky 47 2nd Half 5:25
Jacksonville St 61
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Akron 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Memphis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
East Carolina 6:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
Murray State 6:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Kent State 6:00 PM
Central Michigan
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Eastern Michigan 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Indiana 6:00 PM
Michigan State
Colgate 6:00 PM
Lafayette
Fordham 6:00 PM
Davidson
Duquesne 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
George Mason 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Detroit 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close