SECAUCUS, N.J. – In an event originally set for June in Montreal, the Merrimack College men’s hockey team had a memorable second day of the virtual 2020 NHL Draft Wednesday from the NHL Network studios.
For the first time in program history, two players were selected before the fifth round in the same draft, as sophomore Zach Uens (fourth round, Florida Panthers) and freshman Alex Jefferies (fourth round, New York Islanders) came off the board in quick succession during the late afternoon. Uens was taken 105th overall, while Jefferies was selected with the 121st overall pick.
Uens burst onto the scene during the 2019-20 campaign with the Warriors, as he finished second on the team in rookie scoring with 18 points on four goals and 14 assists and played in all 34 games. He also netted a pair of power play goals and tied for fifth on the team in scoring.
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 7, 2020
About half an hour later, Merrimack made history when Jefferies came off the board in the fourth round as well. The Warrior pipeline to the NHL has been strengthening in recent years with five current or former players taken in the draft since 2015. While Jefferies has not played in any games yet for the Warriors, he has been on the ice with the rest of the team in small group work, as the team prepares for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 7, 2020
In his final season before he came to North Andover, he had 69 points on 33 goals and 36 assists in just 32 games for the Gunnery in Connecticut. The Lunenburg, Mass. native is no stranger to the area, as he played some junior hockey for the Islanders Hockey Club, which is based on Merrimack’s campus.
“For just the fifth time in 20 years, we had a draft pick in the fourth round or better and we’re very happy to have two picks in the fourth round for the first time in program history,” said head coach Scott Borek. “I’m proud of these players. Both Alex and Zach have earned this recognition and we are very happy for them. It is not lost on either of them the great assist that they got from their teammates, this is just the beginning for them!”
Merrimack has now had 26 players drafted to the NHL during its history and carries three current players on the roster that have been drafted. Patrick Holway (Detroit, 2015) is the third player that has NHL rights entering the 2020-21 season.