VANCOUVER  ( - The newest signed prospect for the Gopher men's hockey team is now its newest NHL Entry Draft pick as Ryan Johnson was selected Friday in the first round (31st overall) by the Buffalo Sabres.

The defenseman became the 21st University of Minnesota prospect to be selected in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft with the final pick of the first round on Friday night at Rogers Arena.

A native of Irvine, Calif., Johnson spent the 2018-19 season in the United States Hockey League and helped the Sioux Falls Stampede capture the 2019 USHL Clark Cup. An incoming freshman for the Maroon & Gold, he was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team and also earned a gold medal with the U.S. Junior Select Team at the 2018 World Junior A Challenge. Johnson skated in 54 regular-season games for Sioux Falls with 25 points (six goals, 19 assists) before adding eight points (two goals, six assists) in 12 playoff games during the Stampede’s run to the Clark Cup. His father, Craig, played for the Gophers before a 10-year career in the NHL.

Johnson is the 11th Gopher Hockey player selected by the Buffalo Sabres and the sixth Maroon & Gold skater selected by the organization in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, joining Casey Mittelstadt (2017), Thomas Vanek (2003), Keith Ballard (2002), Erik Rasmussen (1996) and Mike Ramsey (1979).

Additionally, the Johnsons are the sixth father/son duo in Gopher Hockey history to both be selected in the NHL Entry Draft with both players selected in the city of Vancouver. Craig Johnson was a second round pick (33rd overall) of the St. Louis Blues in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.

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