Two hundred and 89 players were selected in nine rounds of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Of those, nine New England natives had their names called from rounds 2-9, and another 10 players with ties to area schools and colleges were chosen.
Phillips Exeter power forward Ed Caron (Hudson, N.H.) and St. Sebastian’s two-way defenseman Noah Welch (Brighton, Mass.) were the first regional prospects taken, by the Edmonton Oilers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round at 52nd and 54th overall, respectively. The final area player chosen was Boston University freshman forward Gregg Johnson (Windsor, Conn.), whom the Ottawa Senators took in the eighth round, 256th overall, and went on to complete seven seasons in the AHL, ECHL and Europe.
“Looking back on it, there wasn’t a lot of high-end talent with that group, and we knew that going in,” a longtime NHL scout based in the region said recently. “But to see less than 100 NHL games between all of them, there probably should’ve been more there. Many of them were longshots, but in the case of (Noah) Welch at least, he was an athletic player who fit the modern mold of a pro defenseman, but was done in by injuries, I think.”