Friday, May 14, 2010

2009 Entry Draft Review

With the 2010 USHL Futures and Entry Drafts (May 18 and 19, respectively) and the 2010 tryouts quickly approaching, BellTolls and I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at some of the faces that could be at tryouts in June. Obviously the majority of the players at tryouts come undrafted, but the majority of those who make the final cut are either veterans or Stars' draft picks.

We can't predict who the Stars will be drafting this year, but we can take a look at who was picked last year and what they are doing now.

So with that, here are the Lincoln Stars' selections from the 2009 USHL Entry Draft and where they are now. As you can see from the list below, the majority of the players drafted last season have either moved on to college, or on to other hockey clubs.

Steve West (D)
Played 57 games for the Lincoln Stars last season after spending the season before with the Ohio State Buckeyes.  In those 57 games for the Stars, West accumulated 12 points (4g, 8a), 44 PIM, and was -11.  Although nothing has been announced, I assume West will be moving on to college next season.  I am not sure if he will be attending Ohio State again, or a different university.

Brodie Reid (F)
Played 46 games for the Lincoln Stars last season after spending the season before with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL.  In those 46 games with the Stars last season, Reid scored 36 points (16g, 20a) and was -8.  Reid will be attending Northeastern University this Fall (2010).

Steve Racine (G)
Played two games for the Lincoln Stars last season before he was traded to the Waterloo Blackhawks.  After playing in five games with the Blackhawks, Racine was traded to a team in the NAHL, but he refused the assignment.  Racine ended the season playing for the Jersey Hitmen of the Eastern Junior Hockey League. 

Brent Tate (F)
Played 23 games for the Lincoln Stars last season before he was injured in January.  In those 23 games, Tate scored 0 points, was -9, and accumulated 67 PIM.  I would assume Tate will tryout for the Stars again this Spring.  Despite having USHL experience last season with the Stars, Tate will still have to earn a roster spot for this next season.

Dax Lauwers (D)
Played 54 games for the Lincoln Stars last season.  In those 54 games, Lauwers accumulated 4 points (0g, 4a), 88 PIM's, and was-1.  Dax will be playing collegiate hockey this fall (2010)  for the Army Golden Knights.

Jeff McMinimy (F)
Played one game for the Lincoln Stars last season on 11/27/09 against the Youngstown Phantoms.  Last season for the Dallas Stars U-18 (MM), McMinimy scored 57 points (20g, 37a) in 47 games played.  In those 47 games, McMinimy racked up a total of 185 PIM.  This is one player I am really hoping the Stars find a spot for on the roster next season.  McMinimy was at the Stars tryouts last Spring, and made the camp all-star team, but he was not picked to join the club full-time in the Fall.  As a '92, McMinimy is still very young, and has a bright hockey future ahead of him.  This is definitely one player I am very excited to see at tryouts.  He has the scoring ability and grit the Stars need.

Will Rayner (D)
Played 29 games for the Lincoln Stars last season.  In those 29 games, Rayner accumulated 5 points (0g, 5a), 50 PIM, and was -7.  Rayner will be playing for the University of Masachussets-Lowell this Fall (2010).

Chris Wagner (F)
Played 44 games for the South Shore Kings in the Eastern Junior Hockey League last season.  In those 44 games, Wagner accumulated a whopping 83 points (34g, 49a).  Wagner accepted a scholarship to play hockey at Colgate University starting this Fall (2010).  This was one player I was really hoping the Stars could convince to come to Lincoln next season.  Wagner was a no-show at the tryouts last season, so I wonder if he was ever really interested in playing hockey at the USHL level in Lincoln.

William Brockett (F)
Played 20 games for the Lincoln Stars last season before being traded to the Tri-City Storm.  In 59 total games last season, Brocket scored 25 points (12g, 13a), was -5, and accumulated 83 PIM.  Brockett will play for the Storm again next season.

Ryan Dzingel (F)
Played 36 games for the Lincoln Stars last season after being called up for good in early January.  In those 36 games for the Stars, Dzingel scored 26 points (11g, 15a), was -18, and accumulated 38 PIM.  Considering how late of a draft pick Dzingel was last season, the Stars have to be pleasantly surprised with his progress.  He will be counted on next season to be one of the top 3 forwards on the roster.  Like all of the other returning Stars players, Dzingel will still have to tryout this Spring.  Dzingel has already secured a scholarship to play hockey for the Ohio State University in the Fall of 2011.

Izaack Berglund (D)
Played 37 games for the Westside Warriors of the BCHL last season.  Berglund participated in the Lincoln Stars tryout camp last season, but suffered a leg injury early on and was forced to withdraw.  Berglund will be attending Merrimack University this Fall (2010).

Jonathan Mleczko (D/F)
Played last season as a Senior at the Milton Academy, located in Milton, Massachusetts.  I have not been able to find out a lot about Mleczko online.  Mleczko was an assistant captain last season on his Milton Academy team.  5'11", 180 pounds, born in '92.  Mleczko was a no-show at the Stars tryout camp last Spring.

Luke Curadi (D)
Curadi did not show up to the Stars tryout camp last spring, deciding instead that he would play for the Penticton Vees of the BCHL.  Curadi played 58 games for the Vees last season, accumulating 17 points (7g, 10a) and 98 PIM.  Curadi recently signed a tender with the USHL expansion Dubuque Fighting Saints, so he will be playing for the Saints next season.  Curadi is a giant at 6'5", 255 pounds.  Curadi will attend RPI in the fall of 2011.

Matt Green (G)
Played in 31 games for the Lincoln Stars last season, accumulating 9 wins against 13 losses. a 2.99 goals against average, and a .899 save percentage.  As a '90, Green would be considered an "overager" next season if he returns to the Stars.  Next season, each USHL team can only roster four players born in 1990.  Like Tate, Green would have to tryout for the Stars again this Spring in hopes of making the team.  With Kevin Murdock all but guaranteed to be on the Stars next season, Green will have plenty of competition.

Luke Johnson (F)
Luke is the son of former Stars coach, and current Fargo coach, Steve Johnson.  Luke is also quite the hockey phenom.  Two seasons ago as an 8th grader, Luke scored 26 points in 27 games for the varsity Red River High School (North Dakota) hockey team.  Last season as a 9th grader, Luke scored 46 points (17g, 29a) in 27 games for the Grand Forks Central High School hockey team.  There are some rumors floating around that Luke was selected by the Team USA U-17 squad, but I cannot find anything online to collaborate that.  I am also unaware if the Stars protected Johnson, or if his rights were traded to Fargo.  Considering his dad is the head coach for the Force, I highly doubt we'll ever see Luke in a Stars uniform.

So after reviewing this group, I expect to see at the most, five players listed above to be at the Stars tryout camp this June.  Those five would be Brent Tate, Jeff McMinimy, Ryan Dzingel, Jonathan Mleczko, and Matt Green.  The one question mark would be Mleczko, but I believe the other four players should be at camp.


PeruStarsFan said...

I thought I posted this question earlier, but could not find it anywhere. Will the staff be releasing the names of protected players or will this be a big secret?

Yeti said...


I assume the Stars will keep this list secret. I know it's something that is not available to the public. Back in January of this year, I emailed the USHL and asked where I might be able to view a list of each team's affiliate protected list of players. The response I got back was, "That is internal information and not something that is shared to the public."

Next Monday, the USHL will have an expansion draft for the two new teams entering the league next season. During that draft, there is a potential for the Stars to lose a player or two to the expansion draft. Each team can only protect 8 "veterans" (players who played in 10 or more games last season), and the expansion teams will draft from the players not protected. We'll just have to wait and see how that goes.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that Murdock is not protected?

Yeti said...

I'm not sure how that will work (the expansion draft) with Murdock not playing in the USHL last season. Would the Stars have to protect him or not? Good question.

HockeyTrend said...

I know Luke Johnson was at the tryouts for the USNTDP U17 team but I'm not sure if he made it or not.

Layla said...

From what I can remember from the last expansion draft, I believe that College commits and HS students are exempt from being exposed in the draft. So the Stars could protect more than just 8 "vets". Last time didn't Youngstown pick a player from our affiliates list?

Yeti said...

The only thing I can find online about Luke Johnson not making the U-17 team, is this link:

"One scouting source explained why Grand Forks Central HS prospect Luke Johnson didn't get an official offer from the USA NTDP team for the 2010-2011 season ..."

It's a pay scouting site, so there is no information other than that, unless you pay a subscription.

Yeti said...


You probably are correct. I wish the USHL website would post some information about the upcoming expansion draft. They have a FAQ about the Futures and the Entry draft on their website, but absolutely nothing about the expansion draft, which we be held next Monday (6/17).

And yes, Youngstown drafted a player from the Stars affiliate list last season, defenseman Jack Callahan.

Yeti said...

Interesting quote on the Stars official website:

"Stars Coaching Staff on the Road
Lincoln Stars Associate Head Coach Jimmy McGroarty and Assistant Coach Nick Fouts are coaching and scouting the 1994 birth year players at the USHL Combine this weekend in Chicago. Head Coach Chad Johnson is expected to be in Lincoln this Sunday, and will continue preparations with McGroarty and Fouts for the USHL Futures Draft and USHL Entry Draft on May 18th and 19th."

starstruck said...

The USHL site has an article on the Combine with rosters - 16 teams of 18 players. Be interesting to check these lists for the futures draft picks our team makes next week. Sounds like a huge event!

PieMac said...

99% sure that Mlezcko is playing with the South Shore Kings in the EJHL next year. The same team Chris Wagner played for this year.

Yeti said...


Thanks a bunch for the information. I appreciate it. I was hoping we'd see Mlezcko at the Stars training camp next month. Do you think it's an issue of him wanting to play closer to home?

PieMac said...

I was at the EJHL showcase this weekend in Marlboro and Mlezcko was playing for the Kings EJ team and I believe he is signed. Yes, I believe playing close to home is part of it, but the Kings are capitalizing on the success they had this year and selling the EJHL hard to high end players who might be considering the USHL.

Like the NH Monarchs in the EJ they placed a lot of kids in D1 programs this year, I think 8. Charlie Coyle was Rookie of the year in the league and a sure bet as a 1st round NHL draft pick. Wagner was MVP of the league and Offensive player of the year and he'll go in the middle rounds of the NHL Draft this June.

The Kings are selling this hard to everyone who is willing to listen.

Yeti said...

PieMac....Very interesting. Good for the EJHL that they are able to keep the home-grown talent in their league. I guess the USHL being the only Tier 1 junior hockey league in the country isn't enough for some of these players. The fact that the Kings and the Monarchs are putting a good amount of players in D1 schools helps a lot. Sometimes it can be hard for a midwest-based USHL team to pull a player away from the east coast. I know the Stars in particular have lost out on a couple of highly touted forwards from the east coast the past couple of seasons that were drafted (Chris Kreider, Chris Wagner).

Regardless, I wish the best for Mlezcko. Hopefully he can get what he wants out of a scholarship playing in the EJHL. Sounds like the Stars will miss out on yet another quality east coast player.

Thanks again for the info.

PieMac said...

Don't give up on Mlezcko just yet. Will Rayner was signed with the Kings last year as well, but decided that he would head to Lincoln. The problem that many of the USHL teams have (in my opinion) is they make they under estimate the east coast kids talent. They tell the kids to come to tryouts and we'll see if you can make the team. While the EJ teams say "if you come here you'll be our top line center and get PP and PK time."

If orgs like Lincoln would commit to east coast kids role before they got there then I think it would be more enticing.

Just my two cents after having been through it with one of my sons.

Layla said...

PieMac, I don't know the in's and out's of recruiting and camps and what not and all I know of is the USHL model where each player has to work at making the team, there are no guarantees, I don't know if any coach in the USHL ( could be wrong though, probably am wrong)could or would promise a player ice time prior to camp since you never know how the player will end up, we've had highly touted players who barely cracked the line up and we've had players who had been cut from several teams end up on the top lines. If a player is promised PK and PP time, what do they have to work for? I suppose that model would work for some teams and players, but for right now I like the idea that each player has to come to camp and work for their spot. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how the EJ works as far as recruiting players to play there?

PieMac said...

I agree with you Layla to a point.

But the GM in all situations, be it USHL or EJHL needs to know what he has coming back and needs to get out and evaluate the supposed high end talent he has the possibility of getting. For example, Chris Kreider is a first round draft pick and just won a national championship with Boston College. For the GM/coach in Lincoln to say to him, "come out, you have a good chance to make the team" doesn't make sense. I think there needs to be a better job done of recruiting on the HIGH END players that can make a difference on a team.

Anonymous said...

Layla-wanna bet on the no promises deal this last year? Contributed to one of the biggest problems with the team over the season. This year let's maybe name our captain after the season has run a few games as Steve J used to. No one should be gauranteed a c or an a before the season starts

PieMac said...

You picked up 2 good d men from back east today. With Oskroba and Eiserman you have a legitimate chance of getting both of them. Oskroba I'd say is a definite, he just committed to Northeastern for next year and they'll want him out west to work on his speed. Very big kid with upside.

Eiserman is tough as nails and you'd love him out there. My only concern is that he was with the Monarchs last year and his brother is the goalie with the Monarchs. He also lives in Lowell and is committed to U Mass Lowell which is about 20 minutes from the Monarchs home rink. I think you have a better chance if the Stars commit to the 93 brother, who is a very good goalie and also committed to U Mass Lowell of getting the defenseman.

Yeti said...


The Stars drafted Oskroba, but not Eiserman. Eiserman went to the Youngstown Phantoms. They are located in Youngstown, Ohio.

PieMac said...

Sorry... misread that one!