Wednesday, May 26, 2010

B³ Linkorama

I'm going to post a number of links in this blog article to wrap up the last week or so.  Some of these stories might have been buried in the comments section, so I'm going to highlight them here in case anyone missed reading them.  We are only 18 days away from the Lincoln Stars tryout camp, which will be held at the Moylan Tranquility Iceplex in Omaha, NE from June 13th-16th.  As we get closer to those dates, BT and I will post an article summarizing the dates and times of the tryout, and what you should expect to see if you've never been to the tryouts before.  BT and I will also inquire about having a "guest blogger" write up a recap article for one or two of the tryout sesssion(s) BT and I will miss.  By the way, "Hell Yeah!" is taking a commanding lead in the current poll question.  Will it last? :)


News and notes of the 2010 USHL Futures and Entry drafts, from the official USHL website.
Click here to read the article.

Matt Bruneteau commits to Lake Superior State University, starting the fall of 2010.
Click here to read the article.

Kyle Gibbons commits to Canisius College, from the Cleveland Barons website. 
Click here to read the article.

The Lincoln Stars coaching staff talk about the draft picks made last week.
Click here to read the article.

Video interview of Stars head coach Chad Johnson last week on the 104.1 The Blaze radio morning show.
Click here to view the interview.

The Stars picked up two players from the Chicago Steel last week. Defenseman Richard Coyne, and forward Andrew Schmit.  Of note, Schmit is a Culver Academy (IN) graduate.  Former Stars who have played for Culver include Michael Sdao, David Gerths, and Cory Hibbeler.
Click here to read Coyne's bio
Click here to read Schmit's bio

Brent Wagner of the Lincoln Journal Star highlights some of the more recent Stars news.
Click here to read the article.

Edit 5/27:  Stars entry draft pick Mark MacMillan recently committed to play collegiate hockey for the University of North Dakota, starting the fall of 2011.  You can read the story at this link.  A quote from the article states, "Next year, he’ll be back with Alberni Valley, hoping to lead the Bulldogs to a BCHL championship. Then, it will be on to UND."  It doesn't appear that McMillan is interested in playing for Lincoln next season in the USHL.  Read the UND blog article here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

B³ Draft Coverage - USHL Entry Draft Results; Bruneteau Commits

***The Entry Draft recap is complete. Scroll down to read a brief bio on each of the Stars' draft picks. As always, if there are any blog readers who have further information about the players drafted by the Stars, please feel free to leave a comment below. Just because the Stars drafted these players doesn't mean that all of them will attend the tryout camp next month in Omaha. The Lincoln Stars just own their USHL rights.  It's up to them now if they want to attend camp and tryout.  Okay, off we go!


Ben played last season with the Walpole Express of the AJHL. In 42 games, Oskroba scored 30 points (17g, 13a), adding 78 PIM's. Ben has committed to play hockey at Northeastern University starting the fall of 2011. In the article I just linked, they list his height and weight at 6'6", 218 pounds, so I'm not sure which online source to believe. Ben is a big, mobile defenseman who can put the puck in the net. I expect to see him at tryouts, and hopefully a main-stay on the Stars blueline next season. As a '90, Oskroba would be considered an "overager" next season in the USHL. Ben is originally from Tempe, AZ.

Chris played for the Hill-Murray Pioneers High School (Class AA) team in Minnesota last season. In 31 games for the Pioneers last season, Casto scored 33 points (14g, 19a), along with 22 PIM's. Casto has committed to play hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth, starting the fall of 2011. Casto is another physical d-man who is more than comfortable with the puck. According to this article, Casto lives in the gym and is a workout nut. Casto is another player I expect to see at tryouts next month. Some of the articles I've read about Casto mention that he was one of the top defenseman in the state of Minnesota last season. Casto was the #182 ranked player in the NHL Central Scouting final rankings.

Last season for Team Maryland U-18 (NAPHL), Bretner played 64 games and potted 74 points (13g, 61a) as a 16 year old. In 19 playoff games, Bretner added 26 points (5g, 21a). Bretner is an offense-first type of defenseman who has proved himself against players older than him. As a '93, I'm not sure if Bretner is ready for the pace and physicality of the USHL, but hopefully we'll see him at tryouts next month and he can prove me wrong.  Bretner was the second youngest player on the Team Maryland U-18 roster last season.

The first forward taken by the Stars in this draft, Austin played 11 games in the USHL for Team USA U-17 last season. In those 11 games, Hervey scored 2 points (1g, 1a), with 4 PIM's. Hervey was called up to the Team USA squad in October of 2009. Before joining the U-17 team, Hervey played for Detroit Catholic Central High School. Hervey is a big kid for a '92, and considering he has some USHL experience under his belt, I expect to see him at tryouts.

Sinz is the second defenseman the Stars have drafted from Anchorage, AK in the past two entry drafts. Last year, the Stars drafted Dax Lauwers, who played 54 games for Lincoln and is committed to Army this Fall. Sinz played for the famous hockey prep school Shattuck St. Mary's last season, scoring 19 points (2g, 17a) in 50 games. Sinz also added 67 PIM's in those 50 games.

Lynes is the teammate of the Stars 3rd round pick, Josh Bretner. In 73 games played last season for Team Maryland U-18, Lynes racked up an impressive 109 points (66g, 43a), along with 50 PIM. In 19 playoff games, Lynes potted 35 points (25g, 8a). Looking at his stats, Lynes is a shoot-first type of forward. According to the link above, Lynes has signed a tender to play for the Topeka Roadrunners of the NAHL next season, so I'm not for certain if Lynes will show up to tryouts next month. It would be nice if Lynes and his former teammate Bretner attend together, but we shall see.  Jake's older brother, Luke, was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL draft.

Hafner, who played for the Marquette Rangers of the NAHL last season, is the first goaltender selected by the Stars in this draft. In 21 games with the Rangers, Hafner was 11-6, with a 2.07 gaa, and an impressive .938 save percentage. As a '92, Hafner took control of the starting goaltender position late in the season, wrestling the starting job away from an '89 overager. Hafner is a very interesting goaltending prospect. He's proven himself as a '92 at the NAHL level (Tier II), so the next logical step up would be on a USHL squad. With Kevin Murdock all but guaranteed one of the two goaltending spots next season, and Matt Green out of the picture, there is a definite need for another goaltender. Let's hope he shows up at tryouts.

Cecere played last season for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL. In 60 games, Cecere scored 11 points (2g, 9a) along with 39 PIM's. According to Chris Heisenberg's NCAA Recruit Page, Cecere has committed to play hockey for the University of Nebraska-Omaha for either 2010 or 2011. I'm assuming since the Stars drafted Cecere, the coaches must have information that he will start at UNO in 2011. Cecere hails from West Des Moines, Iowa, and actually played 31 games for the Des Moines Buccaneers in 2008-09. As a '90, Nick would be an overager on the Stars roster next season.

Like Nick Cecere, MacMillan also played for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL last season. In 59 games, MacMillan scored 80 points (26g, 54a) along with 44 PIM's. The thing that sticks out to me in regards to MacMillan is his weight, but I'm sure he's still growing. A native of Penticton, British Columbia, Canada, MacMillan put up some impressive numbers last season. Can the Stars pull him away from his native Canada? We'll find out next month.  Update:  MacMillan has committed to play hockey at the University of North Dakota, starting the fall of 2011.  Published reports state that he will return to the BCHL next season, so I really doubt we'll see him at tryouts in June.

Round 10. Eric Scheid - Forward - 5'8" 150 - 5/5/92
Scheid spent last season with the Blaine Bengals high school team in Minnesota, where he had 23g and 32a in 30 games. The Bengals won the Section 5AA Tournament and made an appearance in the 2010 Minnesota Class AA State Tournament, but they were eliminated after two losses. Scheid is committed to Alaska-Anchorage and will play a year of juniors before college. At 150 pounds, Scheid will likely need to add a little weight to be productive in the USHL, but the heights and weights on the USHL site appear outdated, so he may already be bigger.

Round 15. Bradley Wilhelm - Forward - 5'9" 152 - 6/19/92
Like Scheid, Wilhelm is another smaller forward. He hails from Plymouth, Mich., and attended Detroit Catholic High School, the same school as 3rd round pick, Austin Hervey. Wilhelm helped his team win the 2009 MHSAA Division 1 Hockey Championship with two goals in the title game.  This year he was named a first-team All-State forward. He had 9 goals and 6 assists in 16 games.

Round 16. Paul Ladue - Defenseman - 5'11" 160 - 9/6/92
A junior at Grand Forks Central High School this past season, Ladue had 10g, 25a from the blue line. A teammate of Stars' Futures Draft pick, Luke Johnson, Ladue helped the Knights to a 24-3 record and to the 2010 State Championship title. Ladue was named to the 2010 North Dakota All-State team. A bit undersized for a defenseman right now, but most high school players are. He clearly has some offensive skill though. Hopefully Ladue will come with Johnson to tryouts.

Round 17. Thomas Schutt - Forward - 5'11" 171 - 4/28/93
Schutt is a teammate of Stars' Futures Draft Pick Max Coatta. Schutt put up 20g and 28a in 34 games with Minnetonka High School in Minnesota. Just a junior last year, Schutt won his team's Most Determined Player award, a quality Stars fans enjoy in current players like Garrett Peterson and past players like Ryan Kretzer. Schutt earned honorable mention All-Conference this season.

Round 18. Joshua Thorimbert - Goaltender - 6'0" 186 - 10/9/92
The Stars' second goalie in the draft, Thorimbert is an interesting prospect. He's from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the same hometown as former Stars netminder David Reekie. In 58 games with the Kindersley Kippers of the SJHL last year, Thorimbert had a 26-14-4 record, a .917 save percentage and a 2.66 gaa. For his efforts, Thorimbert was named SJHL rookie of the year.  Here is an article that explains that Thorimbert really got hot as this last season progressed and that he raised the level of his game and is now attracting NHL scouts' attention. It would be great for competition if Thorimbert shows up at tryouts, but he will have many options, including staying in his home country. The Kamloops Blazers of the WHL drafted Thorimbert in 2007 (bantam draft).  Needless to say, this talented goalie will have decisions to make.  6/4 Update:  Thorimbert has committed to play collegiate hockey at Colorado College, starting this fall.  He will not attend the Stars tryout camp.

Round 19. Michael McKee - Forward - 6'4" 230 pounds - 8/17/93
Michael McKee is a mystery player. With all the information available on Google, there is hardly anything on McKee except a few game recaps that include his name as scoring a goal. What we can tell you is that McKee played for Kent School in Connecticut. Complicating things even more is that there is a college basketball player at Kent State named Mike McKee, so most search results return him. But as a 6'4", 230 pound 16 year old, the kid is absolutely huge for his age, which begs the question, "How well can he skate?" Hopefully we get a chance to find out at tryouts. He'd be easy to spot at forward.

Round 20. Kyle Quick - Defenseman - 5'11" 180 - 3/13/91
The Tonawanda, N.Y., native spent last season with Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, where he recorded 3g and 21a in 24 games as a senior. Prior to that, Quick played with the St. Louis Bandits in the NAHL, where he had 3g, 11a in 25 games and was +11. In December, Quick verbally committed to Brown for Fall 2010, but I'm guessing that has been pushed back or is no longer accurate, otherwise the Stars probably wouldn't have drafted him.

Round 21. Trevor Gutierrez - Goaltender - 5'10" 160 - 7/5/93
Last but not least, another goaltender. Gutierrez is an Alaskan who played with the Alaska All Stars last year, the same program that produced Dax Lauwers. Gutierrez is the youngest of the three goalies the Stars drafted and the smallest. However, in his last six games with the U-18 All Stars (remember he was only 16), Gutierrez was 6-0 and had a 1.33 gaa and a .936 save percentage...AKA the kind of numbers that will get you noticed.


Note: According to the official Lincoln Stars website, Stars defenseman Matt Bruneteau has accepted a scholarship to play hockey at Lake Superior State University next season. Matt was the very first Nebraska native to wear the black and blue of the Stars. Matt was a player who frequently put his body in harms way to benefit the team, so the fans will certainly miss his courage and fortitude on the ice. Congrats to Matt! Good luck at LSSU next season.

B³ Draft Coverage - USHL Entry Draft

Draft-mania will conclude this morning when the USHL holds its 2010 Entry Draft, which starts at 10:00am CST. Players 20 years and under are eligible to be drafted today. You can follow the Entry Draft live as it happens by clicking this link. You can read a FAQ about the Entry Draft by clicking this link.

Like before, we will try to update this blog article the best we can as the Stars selections are made. Be patient with us today because this draft can last for hours. Here is where the Stars will pick in the draft:

Round 1: Ben Oskroba (D) 6'4", 208 pounds. Tempe, AZ. Walpole Express (AJHL) DOB: 8/1/90
Round 2: Chris Casto (D) 6'0, 200 pounds. Afton, MN. Hillp-Murray HS (MN) DOB: 12/27/91
Round 3: Josh Bretner (D) 5'9", 179 pounds. North Potomac, MD. MD U18 (NAPHL) DOB: 8/31/93
Round 3: Austin Hervey (F) 6'0", 187 pounds. Brighton, MI. Detroit Catholic HS (MI) DOB: 12/31/92
Round 5: Bryan Sinz (D) 6'0" 200 pounds. Anchorage, AK. Shattucks St. Mary (MN) DOB: 8/18/92
Round 6: Jake Lynes (F) 6'3", 175 pounds. Ellicott City, MD. MD U-18 (NAPHL) DOB: 10/21/91
Round 7: Lukas Hafner (G) 6'1", 205 pounds. Toledo, OH. Marquette Rangers (NAHL) DOB: 2/6/92
Round 8: Nick Cecere (D) 6'0", 185 pounds. West Des Moines, IA. Alberni (BCHL) DOB: 7/1/90
Round 9: Mark MacMillan (F) 6'0", 150 pounds. Penticton, BC Canada. Alberni (BCHL) DOB: 1/23/92
Round 10: Eric Scheid (F) 5'8", 150 pounds. Blaine, MN. Blaine HS (MN) DOB: 5/5/92
Round 15: Bradley Wilhelm (F) 5'9", 152 pounds. Plymouth, MI. Detroit Catholic HS. DOB: 6/19/92
Round 16: Paul Ladue (D) 5'11", 160 pounds. Grand Forks, ND. Grand Forks Central HS. DOB: 9/6/92
Round 17: Thomas Schutt (F) 5'11", 171 pounds. Chanhassen, MN. Minnetonka HS. DOB: 4/28/93
Round 18: Joshua Thorimbert (G) 6'0", 186 pounds. Saskatoon, Sask. Kindersley (SJHL). DOB: 10/9/92.
Round 19: Michael McKee (F) 6'4", 230 pounds. Newmarket, Ontario. Kent (NEDI). DOB: 8/17/93
Round 20: Kyle Quick (D) 5'11", 180 pounds. Buffalo, NY. Avon Old (NEDI) DOB: 3/13/91
Round 21: Trevor Gutierrez (G) 5'10" 160 pounds. Anchorage, AK. All-Stars 18 (AlasM) DOB: 7/5/93

The Stars would have had the number one overall pick in the draft today, but that pick was traded to the Tri-City Storm in the Tucker Brockett-Josh Berge trade. Lincoln's first round pick (15th overall) came from Green Bay in the trade of David Gerths. Again, you can see where the Stars are drafting today, and follow along live as the draft happens at this link.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

B³ Draft Coverage - 2010 USHL Futures Draft Results

The Lincoln Stars selected six players in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft on Tuesday. As always, the Black and Blue is here to give you all the information we could find on these six young players born in 1994. Keep in mind, these players are not likely to play for Lincoln this year, but possibly in a year or two. Only Dominik Shine and Austin Wuthrich were last year's Futures picks to play for Lincoln last season.

So, here they are, the six players drafted by the Lincoln Stars.

Round 1. Luke Johnson - Forward - 5'9", 145
The Stars drafted the son of former Stars coach and current Fargo coach Steve Johnson in last year's Entry Draft, but he did not come to tryouts, as he was very young. 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.
This is an intriguing pick, especially because Fargo passed on him in the first round. I'm guessing that Steve doesn't want to coach his son and would rather have Uncle Chad do the job. Whatever the case, the fact that Chad Johnson drafted his nephew should be an encouraging sign that Luke plans to play in Lincoln at some point.

Frye played for Missoula in the NorPac Hockey League this past year. In 30 games, Frye had 22 points (11g, 11a), including three power-play goals. He also racked up 81 penalty minutes. A Spanaway, Wash., native, Frye is a physical player with good size for a kid his age. A scout at a summer hockey camp last summer said of Frye, "I took quite the liking to Zach Frye. This kid was skating hard and fast the entire time and did a good amount of checking."  Click here for bio.

Hawkinson played for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season, racking up 22 pts (8g, 14a) in 19 games. Hawkinson has been receiving college interest from many Ivy League schools. At last year's Select 15 Player Development Camp, Hawksinson was said to have scored "a batch of goals."

A defenseman with great vision, Martin had 16 points (1g, 15a) in 31 games with Team Illinois U16 last season. Martin also had 36 penalty minutes. Martin was drafted in the third round by WHL's Kelowna in 2009.

The younger brother of Sioux Falls' Sam Coatta, Max Coatta is a big-time goal scorer. Coatta put up 46 points (23g, 23 a) in 31 games with Minnetonka High School in Minnesota...as a freshman. This kid has some talent. He is described on one blog as "a helluva player for a freshman." Here is a good article on Coatta from February about leading the state of Minnesota in scoring.

Big, big kid for a '94, a strong stay-at-home defenseman. Blujus had 22 points (5g, 17a) in 48 games with the Buffalo Regals U18 (he played up an age group). Four of his goals came on the power-play and he also collected 36 penalty minutes. He is recognized as one of the top D-men in the U.S. at his age, as he was one of 16 defenseman invited to the U.S. National Team Development Program evaluation camp in Ann Arbor, Mich., in March. Blujus was recently drafted by the OHL's Brampton Battalion, and the Brampton coach feels confident that Blujus will go to the OHL, citing his familiarity with the league and some players he knows in the league. I wouldn't get my hopes up on Blujus coming to Lincoln, but we'll see if Chad Johnson can work some recruiting magic.

Please feel free to contribute any information you may have on any of these prospects in a comment below.

B³ Draft Coverage - 2010 USHL Futures Draft

Starting this morning at 10:00am CST, the Stars will participate in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft. You can follow the draft online here. The USHL Futures Draft consists of six rounds, as each USHL team will select six players from the 1994 birth year ago group.

You can also follow the draft online at SBNation.com. The USHL and SBNation, along with An Unofficial Prospects Blog, will team up to broadcast a live online radio show during the draft. You can read more about the USHL's coverage of the Futures Draft here and here.

Here is where the Stars will pick in each round (updated with picks):

1st Round - Luke Johnson (Center) Grand Forks High School (ND) 5'9", 145 pounds. DOB: 9/19/94
2nd Round - Zach Frye (Defenseman) Missoula (NorPac); 6'0", 175 pounds. DOB: 3/25/94
3rd Round - Bradley Hawkinson (Center) Thunderbirds (T1Min); 5'10", 169 pounds. DOB: 9/4/94
4th Round - Cole Martin (Defenseman) Illinois (T1Min); 5'11", 160 pounds. DOB: 3/15/94
5th Round - Max Coatta (Forward) Minnetonka HS; 5'8", 155 pounds. DOB: 4/22/94
6th Round - Dylan Blujus (Defenseman) Regals (T1Maj); 6'2", 193 pounds. DOB: 1/22/94

As the Stars draft each round, we will post the results in the area above. Once the draft has been completed, we will start a new blog article and profile each of the selections made by the Stars.

Note: The results of yesterdays Expansion Draft are posted in the article below this one.

B³ Draft Coverage - Expansion Draft Results; Stars lose Green


The 2010 USHL Expansion Draft was held yesterday. Both the Dubuque Fighting Saints and the Muskegon Lumberjacks were able to take seven players each in the draft, although it appears both expansion teams did not like what was out there as both teams only picked five players each. Existing teams could protect eight players and not lose more than one. You can read the USHL article here about the results of the draft.




Players selected in 2010 Expansion Draft:
(alphabetical listing and previous team)

Muskegon
Kevin Albers (D), Green Bay Gamblers
Nick Czinder (F), Youngstown Phantoms
John Parker (F), Indiana Ice
D.J. Vandercook (F), Des Moines Buccaneers
Brendan Woods (F), Chicago Steel

Dubuque
Jordan DiGiando (F), Cedar Rapids RoughRiders
Matt Green (G), Lincoln Stars
T.J. Schlueter (F), Tri-City Storm
Andrew Sinelli (F), Sioux City Musketeers
Scott Wamsganz (F), Waterloo Black Hawks

With the loss of goaltender Matt Green to the Dubuque Fighting Saints, the return of Kevin Murdock is all but guaranteed. However, that leaves a spot open behind Murdock on the roster as the backup. As an overager still looking for a scholarship, Green will get a lot more playing time playing for the Fighting Saints, which should help his chances to land a scholly. Good luck to him in Dubuque.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

B³ Draft Coverage - 2010 USHL Expansion Draft

The USHL will hold its expansion draft Monday May 17th, starting at 11:00am CST. The two expansion teams coming into the USHL next season are the Dubuque Fighting Saints, and the Muskegon Lumberjacks. If this expansion draft is held like the expansion draft from last season (Youngstown Phantoms), each existing USHL team can protect 8 "veteran" players. Players with college commitments are already protected. A quote from the USHL article last year regarding the expansion draft:

The procedure implemented by the Commissioner's Office adhered to prior USHL expansion drafts. Each current USHL Member Club submitted a protected list of (up to) 23 players on its active roster or affiliate list. Current USHL teams were allowed to protect a maximum of eight "veteran" players – that is, players who had played in 10 or more games during the 2008-09 season. Veterans still enrolled in high school were automatically protected by their respective Member Clubs, in order to insure stability and scholastic continuity for the League's younger players. Per expansion draft rules, no USHL teams lose more than one player in the expansion draft.
Because there are TWO teams drafting this time around, I have to wonder if existing USHL teams could lose up to two players in the draft, as opposed to one player last season when Youngstown was the only expansion team drafting. Last season, the Stars lost a player (Jack Callahan - D) from their affiliate list to the expansion draft, so I assume this time around the Fighting Saints and Lumberjacks will also have access to the affiliate lists of USHL teams.

Let's look at the list of Stars players from last season who played in more than 10 games, and could return next season:

Forwards:
Dominik Shine - 1993
Ryan Dzingel - 1992 (Ohio State commit for 2011)
Tyler Deresky - 1992
John McCarron - 1992
Brent Tate - 1991
Sam Alfieri - 1991
Chris DelMauro - 1991 (UMASS-Amhert commit for 2011)
Garrett Peterson - 1991 (Notre Dame commit for 2010 or 2011)
Josh Berge - 1990 (Minnesota State-Mankato commit for 2011)

Defensemen:
Frank Misuraca - 1991
Matt Bruneteau - 1990

Goaltenders:
Matt Green - 1990

According to the expansion draft rules from last season, players with existing college commitments are automatically protected, so forwards Ryan Dzingel, Chris DelMauro, Josh Berge, and Garrett Peterson would be safe from being picked. I'm not sure how many of the above players would be attending high school, but those players would be protected also. The Stars affiliate list of players is not made public, so I do not know who those players are, and how many of those will be protected.

Check back throughout the day on Monday for more updates.

SBNation.com: A 2010 USHL Draft Primer; B³ Draft Coverage


The folks at sbnation.com (SportsBlog Nation) are going to be covering the three USHL drafts next week for the first time, and they have posted a very informative article about next week's events.  I'd recommend it for anyone who is interested in the drafting process and what will happen the next few days in the USHL.  Our friend at An Unofficial USHL Prospect Blog will be helping sbnation.com out on Monday for the Futures draft.  A quote from the article linked above: 



On Saturday, Sunday and Monday, we will begin to profile the top prospects in this year's Draft class, with help from the USHL Prospects Blog. We will be hosting a live radio show during Tuesday's Futures Draft, and we will have live coverage here during the Entry and Expansion Drafts.

 So if you have time to follow along during the day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, make sure you check both blogs out.  Here at the B³, we'll also be covering the three USHL drafts, but from the Lincoln Stars perspective.  On each of the three days, we will create a blog article about the particular draft so all of you can comment during the day as the Stars selections are made.  BT and I will post profiles of players drafted by the Stars as soon as we can.

Monday - USHL Expansion Draft (each expansion team selects up to 7 players from other USHL teams)
Tuesday @ 10am CST - USHL Futures Draft (only players born in '94 are eligible to be drafted)
Wednesday @ 10am CST - USHL Entry Draft (players born from '90 to '95 can be drafted)

I believe the USHL Expansion Draft will take place around 11am or Noon CST on Monday, but I am not 100% certain of that.  There is some good information about both the Futures and the Entry draft on the official USHL website, but unfortunately there is not much at all about the expansion draft.

****

There is a blog that was linked in the sbnation.com article that I think is really worth the read when you have time.  It's called, "Navigating Junior Hockey."  This blog was created more so for prospective USHL players and their parents, but I also think it's good information for fans as well.  Click here to read the blog.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Congrats to Jon Puskar!

I know Jon is no longer a member of the Lincoln Stars, but he was a player that a lot of fans (including myself) were a big fan of.  I am very happy to blog about this news.

According to the official USHL website, former Stars forward Jon Puskar has committed to play Division 1 hockey for the American International College, located in Springfield, Massachusetts.  AIC is a member of the Atlantic Hockey Association.  

Puskar played parts of two seasons with the Lincoln Stars the past two years.  During that time, he played in a total of 56 games for the Black and Blue, accumulating 23 points and 128 penalty minutes.  Jon was a player who gave 100% of himself for the team, and I know I, and other Stars fans, will miss his energy and grit on the ice.  Good luck to Jon next season at AIC!

(photo courtesy of USHL Images)

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.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gamblers are Clark Cup Champs; B³ Prediction Contest Results

(<--photo courtesy of ushl.com)

Despite going down two games to zero to the Fargo Force, the Green Bay Gamblers won three straight games, including the series-clinching Game 5, to claim their first Clark Cup in 10 seasons.  The Force were only 49 seconds away from winning their first Clark Cup in franchise history in Game 3, but they let a late lead slip away and then lost in triple overtime, giving the Gamblers all the momentum they would need to win the final two games of the series.  Former Stars forward David Gerths assisted on the game winning goal in Game 5, which came with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period.  The Gamblers added an empty net goal in the final minute, and won the game, 5-3.  Over 8,000 fans packed the Resch Center in Green Bay to witness the Gamblers skate away with their first Clark Cup since the 1999-2000 season.   It was great to see a player like Gerths win a Clark Cup in his final season in the USHL.  I know a lot of us were sad to see Gerths leave the Stars this past season, but I'm sure we can all be happy for his success.  So, congrats to the Gamblers, their fans, and especially David Gerths!

We also have winner in our inaugural B³ USHL Playoff Prediction Contest!  It came down to the wire, but congratulations to blog reader "Starstruck."  Starstruck wins one free drink, paid for by yours truly, next season at the IceBox!  Thanks to those who participated!  I hope you had fun following along with the playoffs.

Final scoring:
17 points - starstruck
16 points - lmdragon
16 points - Yeti
14 points - lincolnfan
14 points - Shawn
12 points - MacAttack
12 points - nutz4pucks
11 points - BellTolls
11 points - StarsFan
9 points - Hey Hey Whadda Ya Say
9 points - Ice Pucks
8 points - Bud
8 points - Layla
7 points - Jofa
6 points - Ghost
6 points - Sam I Am
4 points - Cold Bud

Congrats to Kyle Gibbons!

Thanks to the anonymous reader who brought this to my attention.

According to Chris Heidenberg's NCAA Hockey Recruit Page, Stars forward Kyle Gibbons has committed to play hockey at Canisius College, starting the Fall of 2010.  Canisius College is located in Buffalo, NY.  It was mentioned at the end of the regular season that Kyle would be coming back to play for the Stars next season, so this news is a bit of a surprise.  Regardless, congrats to Kyle on the scholarship!  Good luck next season at Canisius!

Read the USHL article about Kyle's commitment here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2009 Futures Draft Review

With the 2010 USHL Futures and Entry Drafts (May 18 and 19, respectively) and the 2010 tryouts quickly approaching, Yeti 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 kids 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 Futures Draft and the teams they played with prior to their selection.

1. Kevin Zugec, Defense, Pittsburgh Hornets
2. Austin Wuthrich, Forward, Alaska All-Stars
3. Dominik Shine, Forward, Compuware U-16
4. Frank Schumacher, Defense, Victory Honda
5. Kacper Guzik, Forward, Little Caesars

Kevin Zugec - Defenseman - 6'4", 225, 1993

Zugec tried out for Lincoln last year, but did not make the team as a 1993 birth date. He was selected in the ninth round (170th overall) by the Erie Otters in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection Draft. He played with the Pittsburgh Hornets Midget Major (U-18) team this year and recorded 5 g, 11 a in 66 games, with 34 PIM. A lefty, Zugec grew one inch and gained 35 pounds in the past year. This kid is huge, and I hope he tries out again this year, that is if the Stars still have his rights.

Austin Wuthrich - Forward - 6'2", 185, 1993

Wuthrich will not play for Lincoln next year because he was picked up by Team USA U-17 this year. He had 2 g, 2 a in 15 games.

Dominik Shine - Forward - 5'10", 160, 1993

This kid doesn't need much explaining - he was the Stars' MVP in 2009-10 as the youngest player on the team. He had 15 g, 14 a in 54 games and led the Stars with 165 PIM. He'll be back in Lincoln this fall.

Frank Schumacher - Defenseman - 6'1", 189, 1993

After playing for Detroit Victory Honda in 2008-09, Schumacher was picked up by the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL in 2009-10. There, he had no points in 15 games and had nine PIM.

Kacper Guzik - Forward - 5'11", 180, 1993

Guzik played for the Detroit Little Caesars Midget Major (U-18) team this past season. He had 5 g, 3 a in 20 games, and an astounding 100 PIM (that's five PIM per game). In 2008-09, he had 13 g, 6 a in 29 games for the U-16 team. This kid plays a physical game. He would be fun to see at tryouts.

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If anyone out there has any inside information about any of these players, please leave a comment below. Yeti will have an in-depth look at last year's Entry Draft picks later this week.