GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Freshman defenseman Jake Sanderson was selected fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on Tuesday.
Sanderson, who came into the evening ranked as the fourth-best North American skater by the league, becomes the program's eighth first rounder since 2010 and the 20th player in UND history to be selected in the first round.
"I was just really excited to spend the moment with my brother and my parents," said Sanderson following his selection. "I am just so excited and pumped up right now."
The Whitefish, Mont., native joins elite company at the nation's premier collegiate hockey program, as he is the highest-selected defenseman in North Dakota history and the highest player taken since Jonathan Toews went third to Chicago in 2006.
Sanderson is the second Montana-born player to be chosen in the draft, joining Bill Lindsay's fifth round selection in 1991 by Quebec. He becomes also the first collegiate player, American and defenseman selected in the 2020 event.
Prior to coming to North Dakota, Sanderson played for the U.S. Under 18 National Development Team Program in Plymouth, Mich., where he skated in 47 games and finished with 29 points (7g-22a), the most among all blueliners in the 2019-20 season.
Sanderson is one of three college players to be selected in the opening round of the 2020 NHL draft. Wisconsin's Dylan Holloway was the 14th pick of the evening, selected by the Edmonton Oilers. Michigan's Brendan Brisson came off the board when the Vegas Golden Knights used the No. 29 overall pick on the Wolverines' freshman forward.