Editor's note: The initial story Oct. 6 said Sanderson was the second Montana player to be drafted, behind Bill Lindsay of Bigfork. Lindsay said he actually was born in Canada but lived in Bigfork as a child.
GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Whitefish native Jake Sanderson, a freshman defenseman at North Dakota, was selected fifth overall by the Ottawa Senators in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on Tuesday to become the first Montana-born player ever chosen.
Sanderson also the first collegiate player, American and defenseman selected in the 2020 event.
Sanderson, ranked as the fourth-best North American skater by the NHL, is UND's eighth first-rounder since 2010 and the 20th player overall to be selected in the first round.
“I was just really excited to spend the moment with my brother and my parents,” he said. “I am just so excited and pumped up right now.”
Sanderson's father, Geoff, played 17 seasons in the NHL. Two cousins, Wade and Sheldon Brookbank, also played in the league.
Sanderson is the highest-selected defenseman in North Dakota history and the highest player taken since Jonathan Toews went third to Chicago in 2006.
Before coming to North Dakota, Sanderson played for the U.S. Under 18 National Development Team Program in Plymouth, Michigan, where he skated in 47 games and finished with 29 points, the most among all blueliners in the 2019-20 season.