Sunday, May 26, 2013

B³ Prospect Watch: Tryout Camp Edition

I thought I'd create a list of all of the players previously drafted (or acquired via trade) by the Lincoln Stars who could be at the 2013 tryout camp next week in Minneapolis, MN.  

Some of these players were just drafted by the Stars last month, while some others were drafted in 2013, 2012, or 2011 and have been previously protected by the team.  

This list does not include players who suited up for the Stars last season.  I will post a different article soon and mention the players from last season who should be at Ridder Arena next week trying out for the Stars.


This particular blog article is VERY long.  I didn't want to hog the entire page of the website with this lone post, so click the "Read more" link below to check it out.  Thanks.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Lincoln Stars Tryout Camp Schedule Released

The official Lincoln Stars website released the schedule for the 2013 tryout camp today which will be held at Ridder Arena on the campus of the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis.  The camp will take place from June 6th-9th.  Pictured to the left is a shot of the inside of Ridder Arena.  

Click here  to view the schedule in a .pdf format.  I will post the schedule below, also.


Thursday, June 6th:
3:00pm:  Check in at Ridder Arena
5:00pm - 6:10pm:  Game 1 Team Royal vs. Team White
6:20pm - 7:30pm:  Game 2 Team Columbia vs. Team Red
7:40pm - 8:45pm:  Game 3 Team Black vs. Team Yellow

Friday, June 7th:
8:30am - 9:40am:  Game 4 Team Columbia vs. Team Yellow
9:50am - 11:00am:  Game 5 Team Black vs. Team Royal
11:10am - 12:20pm:  Game 6 Team White vs. Team Red
3:00pm - 4:05pm:  Game 7 Team Black vs. Team Columbia
4:20pm - 5:25pm:  Game 8 Team Royal vs. Team Red
5:40pm - 6:45pm:  Game 9 Team Yellow vs. Team White

Saturday, June 8th:
9:00am - 10:10am:  Game 10 Team Yellow vs. Team Red
10:20am - 11:30am:  Game 11 Team Royal vs. Team Columbia
11:40am - 12:50pm:  Game 12 Team White vs. Team Black
5:00pm - 6:10pm:  Game 13 Team Red vs. Team Black
6:20pm - 7:30pm:  Game 14 Team Royal vs. Team Yellow
7:40pm - 8:50pm:  Game 15 Team Columbia vs. Team White

Sunday, June 9th:
10:30am - 11:50pm:  All-Star Game #1
12:00pm - 2:00pm:  All-Star Game #2

Just about the exact same schedule as last year, which is good.  There were six teams at the camp last year as well, which came out to over 110 players.  According to the Lincoln Stars website, the camp is now full, which is also a good sign that prospective players are interested in attending.  More players is always a good thing.  It just means more competition for quite a few open positions on next year's roster.

I'm really getting excited for this event!  Can't wait to make the trek up there.  I will be posting a number of articles related to the camp in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for that.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Paul LaDue named USHL Defenseman of the Year

Big news today from the USHL!  The league announced this afternoon that Lincoln Stars d-man Paul LaDue was named the 2012-13 USHL Defenseman of the Year.

Click here to read the press release from the USHL.  I post an excerpt from the article below:

The United States Hockey League today announced that Paul LaDue of the Lincoln Stars has been named the 2012-13 USHL Defenseman of the Year as determined by a vote of USHL coaches and general managers.  He becomes the first-ever Stars player to win the award.

The 20-year-old played all but two of the 64 regular season games for the Stars and led all USHL defensemen in scoring with 49 points (12g, 37a).  His 37 assists were the most among League blueliners and most by a Lincoln defenseman since Matt Bartkowski dished out 37 during the 2007-08 season.  He also led League defensemen with 198 shots on goal.

LaDue scored the most points by any defenseman in Stars history, finishing his career with 83 points (21g, 62a) in 118 regular season games.  He moved into first place by recording his 70th career point on Valentine’s Day during a 6-5 shootout victory against Tri-City.  He dished out an assist in the contest to surpass the 69 career points (23g, 46a) by Eli Vlaisavljevich (2004-06). 

LaDue anchored a Lincoln defense unit that allowed the fifth fewest goals in the USHL this season (191).  He posted a plus-27 rating, the sixth best mark by a League defenseman and tying for 16th overall.  A dominant presence on the blueline that was counted on in all situations, he was also disciplined as he recorded just 20 penalty minutes throughout the season.

LaDue was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (181st overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft following his rookie USHL season.  He will return to his hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota next season to begin his collegiate career at the University of North Dakota.

"Paul Ladue was the heart and soul of a great Lincoln Stars team this past season," said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince.  "His work in the offensive zone was League-leading – but there weren't too many goals scored against the Stars when he was on the ice, either.  He'll be a great addition to the University of North Dakota next season, and the Los Angeles Kings made an excellent choice in drafting him last year.  Congratulations and thanks to him for his stellar USHL career – and best wishes on his next steps."

Very happy to see LaDue honored with such an award, but at the same time I'm not surprised.  He's arguably the best defenseman that has ever put on a Lincoln Stars uniform.  I've said it before on this blog and on Twitter, but Paul is easily one of the best players I've ever seen at the USHL level.  He made everything look easy.  So solid on both ends of the ice.  I think a lot of fans her in Lincoln took for granted how good of a player Paul was because he was just so consistent game in and game out.  It was as if it was expected. 

Special talent for sure.  He will definitely be missed next season.  You just don't replace a player like Kevin Roy or Paul LaDue.  Best of luck to him next season at UND.  There's no doubt in my mind we will be watching Paul play for the LA Kings in the NHL someday.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Stars acquire Voltin, Shiplo from Des Moines; Kolquist from Sioux City

Lost in the excitement of last Tuesday's Futures Draft, and Wednesday's Entry Draft, was the news that the Lincoln Stars acquired forward Luke Voltin and defenseman Luke Shiplo from Des Moines, and defenseman Jared Kolquist from Sioux City.  I will post the particulars of each trade below.

Lincoln traded their first pick in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft to the Des Moines Bucaneers for the rights to Voltin, Shiplo, and Des Moines' 6th round pick in the Futures Draft.  In my opinion, this a great acquisition by Lincoln.  The Stars get two, young USHL vets for swapping their first round futures pick for Des Moines' sixth round pick.  Great return.

Jared Kolquist was acquired from the Sioux City Musketeers for Lincoln's 4th round pick in the 2014 USHL Entry Draft.  Another good acquisition in my opinion to get a seasoned USHL defenseman for a draft pick.

Quick bios on each player:

Voltin ('95), who is originally from Blaine, MN, played 60 games for the Bucs last season and scored 26 points (7g, 19a).  In those 60 games, Luke was -17 and added 50 PIM's.  The year before, Voltin started the 2011-12 season with Team USA U17 and scored 6 points in 11 games with them before he was dismissed by the NTDP in January of 2012.

 His USHL rights were originally acquired by the Chicago Steel after his dismissal from the NTDP, but the Steel traded Voltin to the Des Moines Bucs shortly after.  Luke has committed to the University of North Dakota for 2014, so he will play one season for the Lincoln Stars.

Shiplo ('95), who hails from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, scored 10 points (3g, 7a) in 46 games for the Des Moines Bucs last season along and was -12 with 33 PIM's.  Luke has committed to Western Michigan University for 2014, so like Voltin, he will play one season for the Stars.

Because he was born in Canada, and has only played one year of hockey in the USA, Shiplo is considered an "import" in the eyes of the USHL.  Every USHL club can roster only four imports each season.  Former Stars defenseman Matt Prapavessis, and his younger brother Michael (who is a Stars affiliate defenseman), is also from Oakville, Ontario.

Kolquist ('93) played 57 games for the Muskies last season and scored 27 points (6g, 21a), was -3, and accumulated 42 PIM's.  Since he was born in 1993, Kolquist is an "overager" in the eyes of the USHL for the 2013-14 season.  Each USHL team can roster only four overagers each season.  The Stars don't have any players returning from last season who were born in 1993, so Kolquist could be one of Lincoln's four overagers next season.

In the 2012 USHL Entry Draft, Kolquist was drafted in the fifth round by the Sioux City Musketeers after completing his high school career at Hermantown High School in Hermantown, MN (his hometown).  In 31 games for Hermantown in 2011-12, Kolquist scored 41 points (14g, 27a) and added 38 PIM's.  As far as I know, Kolquist has not committed to a college yet.

I really hope to see all three players noted above at Lincoln's tryout camp next month in Minneapolis.

Note:  This is unrelated to the above info, but Lincoln Stars assistant coach Josh Berge was recently named head coach of the Valencia Flyers of the Western States Hockey League.  Josh played 31 games for the Stars between 2009-11 before his playing career was unfortunately cut short due to concussions.  Berge became a full-time assistant for the Stars at the beginning of the 2012-13 season.  Best of luck to Josh in sunny California!  Hope to see him back in Lincoln someday behind the Stars' bench.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

B³ Draft Coverage: 2013 USHL Entry Draft Results

The 2013 USHL Entry Draft (Phase 2) is complete.  Scroll down to read bios on each of the players drafted by the Lincoln Stars.  I will be updating the info below in the next couple of days, so please be patient.

If there are any blog readers who have further information about the players below, please feel free to leave a comment at the end of the article.  If you'd prefer to remain anonymous you can email me at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.

Just because the Stars drafted these players doesn't mean that all of them will attend the tryout camp next month in Minneapolis, MN. The Stars just own their USHL rights.  It's up to them if they want to attend camp and compete for a roster spot.  You can click on any of the links below in blue to read more about the players.  Okay, off we go!

4th Round :  Garrett Hehir ('93) - Forward - 6'1", 190 pounds
Originally from Auburn, MA, Garrett was a senior last season at Cushing Academy PS which is located in Ashburnham, MA.  In 29 games for Cushing, Hehir scored 37 points (9g, 28a).  Looking at his stats, he appears to be a pass-first type of forward.  Garrett was born in 1993, so that means he's an "overager" in the eyes of a USHL for next season.  Each USHL team can roster only four overagers each season.  The fact that the Stars used their first overall pick on an overager indicates to me that they expect Hehir to come in right away and contribute next season.  I have not found any information online that Hehir has committed to a college.  Click here to follow Garrett on Twitter.

6th Round: Tommy Marchin ('95) - Forward - 6'2", 200 pounds
The native of Algonac, MI played 29 games for the Detroit based Honeybaked MM program last season where he scored 33 points (19g, 14a) in 29 games, along with 25 PIM's and was his team's leading scorer.  Marchin also played three games for the NTDP Team USA U-18 squad last season, and one game with the NTDP Team USA U-17's.  For a 17-year old, Tommy has very good physical size.  I have not found any information online that indicates he has committed to a college.  Click here to follow Tommy on Twitter.

6th Round:  Thomas Carey ('95) - Forward - 5'11", 165 pounds
Thomas was a senior last season for his hometown Moorhead Spuds (MN) high school team where he scored 42 points (21g, 21a) in 28 games.  I found this video online which shows Carey scoring a nice wrister in a game from last season.  I have not found any information online that indicates Thomas has committed to a college.  Thomas was the first of three players from Moorhead, MN that the Stars selected in the entry draft on Tuesday evening.  Click here to follow Thomas on Twitter.  This particular draft pick came in a trade with the Sioux Falls Stampede at the beginning of last season in which the Stars traded defenseman Vinny Muto.

7th Round:  Jonathan Desbiens ('96) - Forward - 5'7", 153 pounds
Jonathan was the first non-American born player drafted by the Stars yesterday and is a native of Rosemere, Quebec, Canada.  In 41 games last season for the St-Eustache Vikings AAA, Desbiens scored 37 points (16g, 21a) and was his team's third leading scorer.  He also accumulated 48 PIM's in those 41 games.  A bit undersized, but he's also very young.  It doesn't appear that Desbiens has been drafted by a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team, so there may be some interest there from him to play USHL hockey in the USA.  If Jonathan were to tryout out and make the Stars roster, he would count has an "import" in the eyes of the USHL.  Like overagers, each USHL team can roster only four imports next season.  I have not found any information online which states that Desbiens has committed to a college.  Click here to follow Jonathan on Twitter.

8th Round:  Cody Pettapiece ('94) - Defenseman - 6'0", 180 pounds
The Stars didn't waste any time selecting another Canadian as they took their first defenseman of draft in Cody Pettapiece from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.  In 47 games with the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) last season, Cody scored 20 points (4g, 16a) and 20 PIM's.  According to this link, Cody has committed to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks for 2014.  In 2009, Pettapiece was drafted by Edmonton Oil Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL) Bantam Draft.  Click here to follow Cody on Twitter.

9th Round:  Taylor Maruya ('95) - Forward - 5'11", 163 pounds
The only native of California (Los Angeles) drafted by the Stars today, Maruya scored 33 points (15g, 18a) in 40 games last season for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings MM.  He also racked up 48 PIM's.  I have not found any evidence online which states that Maruya has committed to a college.  Not a ton of information out there that I could find in regards to Maruya.  Click here to follow Taylor on Twitter.

10th Round:  Brett Boehm ('94) - Forward - 6'3", 160 pounds
Boehm, who hails from Martensville, Saskatchewan, was the third Canadian selected by the Stars in this draft.  In 49 games for the Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL) last season, Brett scored 54 points (25g, 29a) along with 22 PIM's.  Only 160 pounds at 6'3" seems a bit skinny, but again, those weight numbers could be off.  In the 2012 USHL Entry Draft, Boehm was selected by the Fargo Force in the 22nd round.  According to this article, Boehm has committed to play hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth starting the fall of 2014.  Click here to follow Brett on Twitter.

11th Round:  Joshua Owings ('96) - Defenseman - 6'4", 175 pounds 
The Saline, MI native was the second defenseman picked by the Stars, and also the youngest.  Owings scored 5 points (2g, 3a) in 23 games last season for Detroit Little Caesars MM.  He also accumulated 65 PIM's, but 34 of those came in one game.  He's got some size, but I'm sure the Stars are going to want him to fill out a bit.  He's still only a '96, so plenty of time to add more muscle.  A friend of mine who has seen Owings in person told me that Josh is a "tall, lanky defenseman that plays with an edge, and is a potential shutdown type of player."  I have not found any information online about Owings committing to a college.  Click here to follow Josh on Twitter.

12th Round:  Eric Brenk ('94) - Forward - 6'2", 200 pounds
Brenk is another Moorhead, MN native who last season played for the Brookings Blizzard of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  In 59 games with the Blizzard, Eric potted 44 points (22g, 22a) and 108 PIM's.  8 of his 22 goals last season came on the powerplay.  In 2011-12, Brenk played 43 games for the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL where he scored 7 points (2g, 5a) and added 25 PIM's.  With his size and grit, and considering his prior USHL and NAHL experience, Brent should be able to come in right away next season and play a power forward role for the Stars.  I did not find any information online which indicates Brenk has committed to a college.  Click here to follow Eric on Twitter.

13th Round:  Miles Gendron ('96) - Forward - 6'2", 175 pounds
Gendron is originally from Shrewsbury, MA and played  for The Rivers Prep School out of Weston, MA last season.  In 28 games for Rivers, Miles scored 28 points (12g, 16a).  Pretty good size for a '96.  Unfortunately, I didn't find a lot of info about Gendron online.  No information online either that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Miles on Twitter.

14th Round:  Jacob Dittmer ('96) - Goaltender - 6'2", 195 pounds
The first goaltender taken by the Stars in this draft, Dittmer is another Moorhead, MN native.  In 27 games for the Moorhead Spuds high school team last season as a sophomore, Dittmer had a record of 13-7-2 with a 2.39 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.  Stars goaltender Michael Bitzer is also from Moorhead, MN and played for the Spuds before coming to Lincoln.  Dittmer has very good size for a '96.  Since goaltenders normally develop a little slower compared to forwards or defensemen, it still may be a year or two before Dittmer is ready for the USHL.  He definitely looks like a very good prospect for the future, however.  Uncommitted to a college, from what I could find online.  Click here to follow Jacob on Twitter.

15th Round:  Miguel Fidler ('96) - Forward - 6'1", 185 pounds
As a junior last season for the Edina Hornets (MN) high school team, Fidler scored 11 points (5g, 6a) and added 28 penalty minutes in 23 games played.  Fidler's hometown is Edina, MN as well.  Two of Miguel's teammates last season are former draft picks of the Stars: defenseman Parker Reno, and forward Tyler Nanne.  Edina won the Minnesota 2A state championship last season.  A friend of mine who has seen Fidler play in person a few times said that Miguel had "lots of grit and sandpaper, and was overshadowed by some very good players on Edina's roster."  At 6'1", 185 pounds he has very good size.  My friend thought that Fidler's style would fit in nicely with the Stars.  I assume Fidler will finish his senior season next year at Edina, so this pick may be for 2014-15.  I did not find any information online about a college commitment.  Click here to follow Miguel on Twitter.

16th Round:  Kenny Citron ('95) - Defenseman - 6'1", 186 pounds
The third defenseman chosen by the Stars in this particular draft, Citron hails from Hartsdale, NY and played for Team Comcast MM (Midwest Elite Hockey League-MWEHL) last season, where he was his team's captain.  In 40 games with Team Comcast, Citron scored 14 points (2g, 12a) and added 74 PIM's.  Looks like a good-sized, physical, shutdown type of defenseman to me.  According to this article, Kenny has committed to play college hockey at Colgate University starting the fall of 2015.  The article I just linked to mentions that Citron is 195 pounds, which is a little bigger than what was noted on the USHL's website.  Click here to follow Kenny on Twitter.

17th Round:  Conor O'Neil ('94) - Forward - 6'1", 190 pounds
O'Neil hails from Hummelstown, PA, and last season he played for the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the NAHL.  In 41 games for the Wildcats, Conor scored 39 points (21g, 18a) along with 36 PIM's.  O'Neil actually started the 2012-13 season with the NAHL Amarillo Bulls and played 8 games with them before he was traded to the Wildcats.   Last year around this time, O'Neil was drafted in the 12th round of the 2012 USHL Entry Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers   Much like Eric Brenk, O'Neil is forward who has some good juniors experience, and was nearly a point-per-game player in the NAHL.  I'm sure the Lincoln coaches are hoping O'Neil can come in and contribute right away.  Before his time in the NAHL, O'Neil played a season with the New Jersey Rockets program, which is where Stars forward Zach Aston-Reese and defenseman Daniel Willett played before coming to Lincoln.  Uncommitted to a college from what I found online.  Click here to follow Conor on Twitter.

18th Round:  Nick Rutigliano ('96) - Defenseman - 6'2", 190 pounds
Is the town of Shrewsbury, MA a hockey hotbed?  Surprisingly, Rutigliano was the second player from Shrewsbury, MA (population 31,640) selected by the Stars in this draft.  In 39 games for Boston Advantage Minor Midget program last season, Rutigliano scored 27 points (4g, 23a) along with 43 PIM's.  Three of his four goals came on the powerplay.  Nick just turned 17 years old last month, so he's got really good size at that age.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Nick on Twitter.

19th Round:  Rylan Cratsenberg ('96) - Forward - 6'3", 195 pounds
The native of Federal Way, WA (south of Seattle) played 47 games for Team Seattle AAA U16 where he scored 57 points (44g, 13a) in 47 games played along with 116 PIM's.  Rylan averaged almost a goal per game for his team last season.  Cratsenberg's head coach at Team Seattle AAA U16 happens to be former Lincoln Stars hall of fame defenseman, and former assistant coach, Nick Fouts.  Cratsenberg also played two games for the NAHL's Minot Minatauros this past season.  Rylan has terrific size for a 16-year old who doesn't turn 17 until December.  I'm a Washington native, and I used to live very close to Federal Way, so I'm an instant fan of Rylan and hope he makes the team next season.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Rylan on Twitter.

20th Round:  John Simonson ('93) - Forward - 5'10", 170 pounds
The second overager picked by the Stars in this draft, Simonson hails from Grand Forks, ND which is the hometown of Stars head coach Chad Johnson.  Because of that, I'm sure Simonson has been on Chad's radar for quite a while.  Last season for the Austin Buins of the NAHL, John scored 57 points (27g, 30a) in 59 games.  24 of Simon's 57 points came on the powerplay.  Jason Feldman, who covers the Austin Bruins for The Post-Bulletin newspaper, described Simonson as "Not dynamic, but doesn't make mistakes. Can play PP, PK, all situations. Very solid all-around player, great team leader."  Considering the Stars don't return any players born in 1993 (overagers ) from last season, Simonson should have a good shot at making the team and providing a leadership role.  I really, really like this draft pick.  John's older brother Alex played hockey for the USHL's Chicago Steel, and currently plays for the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.  Click here and here for a couple of articles I found online about Simonson.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow John on Twitter.

21st Round:  Brenden Dunning ('96) - Forward - 5'11", 175 pounds
Although his hometown is Buffalo, NY, Dunning last season played for the Cleveland Barons Minor Midget team where he scored 37 points (17g, 20a)  in 40 games along with 47 PIM's.  Former Stars who have played for the Cleveland Barons program are forwards Kyle Gibbons (now at Canisius) and Tucker Brockett (now at Princeton).  In the 2012 OHL Priority Draft, Brenden was selected by the Niagara Ice Dogs in the 10th round, so he has options to possibly play major juniors as well.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Brenden on Twitter.

22nd Round:  Dawson MacAuley ('94) - Goaltender - 6'6", 212 pounds
This giant of a goaltender hails from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada and was the second goaltender selected by the Stars in this draft.  Last season, MacAuley split the season between the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers and the Yorktown Terriers of the SJHL.  Dawson started the season with the Tigers where he went 1-3-0 with a 3.84 goals against average and a .881 save percentage.  Dawson was cut by the Tigers and his WHL rights were acquired by the Calgary Hitmen.  MacAuley finished the 2012-13 season with the Terriers where he went 16-6-1 with a 2.14 goals against average and a .921 save percentage.  According to this article, MacAuley recently had his WHL rights traded from the Calgary Hitmen to the Regina Pats.  Because he's played major junior hockey, Dawson cannot play college hockey in the United Stats.  I'm thinking this was a flyer pick by the Stars, meaning it was kind of a shot in the dark.  According to this tweet by MacAuley, he was surprised to hear he was drafted by the Stars and doesn't seem all that excited about it.  I doubt we'll see him at Lincoln's tryout camp next June, but you never know.  Click here to follow Dawson on Twitter.

23rd Round:  Patrick Condon ('93) - Defenseman - 6'1", 195 pounds
The third overager selected by the Stars, Condon played for the Bay State Breakers of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL) where he potted 22 points (6g, 16a) in 43 games played and added 64 PIM's.  Condon hails from Merrick, NY.  Patrick has played his entire hockey career in the Northeast, so it will be interesting to see if the Stars can convince him to report to Lincoln's tryout camp next month in Minneapolis.  Click here and here to read a couple of articles from last year about Patrick.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  I could not find Patrick on Twitter.

24th Round:  Dominick Sacco ('95) - Forward - 5'10", 160 pounds
The second straight New Yorker chosen by the Stars, Sacco (from Brooklyn, NY) could be a name that some Lincoln Stars fans remember.  During the 2011-12 season, Sacco played 24 games for the Omaha Lancers where he scored 10 points (4g, 6a).  Dominick stated the 2012-13 season with Omaha and he played six games for the Lancers before he was cut.  He finished the 2012-13 hockey season with the New York Apple Core Select Jr. B team where Sacco scored 18 points (9g, 9a) in 16 games.  We'll not try to hold his time with the Lancers against him. :)  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Dominick on Twitter.

25th Round:  Colton Fletcher ('97) - Forward - 5'10", 155 pounds
It wouldn't be an USHL entry draft if the Lincoln Stars didn't select at least one player from Alaska.  Fletcher hails from Wasilla, AK, which is the hometown of former Stars forward Matt Friese.  According to the limited stats I could find online, Colton scored 9 points (5g, 4a) in 10 games for the Mat-Su Eagles 16U team.  He's also accumulated a whopping 75 PIM's in those 10 contest.  Fletcher was the second-youngest player chosen by the Stars in this draft, so I'm assuming he's someone the Stars hope to bring in next season or after that.  Not a lot of info online that I could find in regards to Fletcher.  No information online either that indicates he's committed to a college  Click here to follow Colton on Twitter.

26th Round:  Grant Loven ('97) - Forward - 5'10", 165 pounds 
Loven was the youngest player selected by the Lincoln Stars in this draft, coming in at only 15 years old.  As a freshman last season for his hometown East Grand Forks (ND) high school team, Grant scored a very impressive 24 points (10g, 14a) in 31 games played.  Damn good numbers for a freshman.  One of Grant's teammates last season for EGF was defenseman Tye Ausmus, who was Lincoln's first overall pick in the 2013 Futures Draft.  This is obviously a player the Stars want to groom and hopefully call up in a few years.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  I was not able to find Grand on Twitter.

27th Round:  Casey Linkenheld ('95) - Forward - 5'11.5", 170 pounds
The only Illinois native selected by the Stars in this draft, Casey calls Bartlett, IL his hometown.  In 61 total games for Team Illinois Major Midget last season, Casey scored 63 points (30g, 33a) along with 32 PIM's.  Linkenheld scored 31 points (14g, 17a) and added 12 PIM's in 31 High Performance Hockey League (HPHL) games.  I've been told that Casey was a U17 select and 17 USA camp invite, and is a late bloomer.  Former Stars who have played for the Team Illinois program are Chris Forfar, Rick Carden, and Garrett Peterson.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Casey on Twitter.

28th Round:  Joe Grabowski ('94) - Defenseman - 6'3", 210 pounds
Grabowski is a big, mean, physical defenseman who hails from Lawrenceville, NJ and is currently playing for the juggernaut Amarillo Bulls of the NAHL.  In 48 regular season for the Bulls, Joe scored 18 points (2g, 16a) and added 96 PIM's.  He was also +34 in those 48 games for an Amarillo team that finished the regular season with a eye-popping record of 46-7-7.  The Bulls are currently fighting for the Robertson Cup in the NAHL playoffs, so Joe's season is still going.  In May of 2012, Grabowski was selected by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 5th round of the USHL entry draft, but he did not make the team after trying out for them.  He later tried out for the Fargo Force but wasn't able to stick there either.  Grabowski has been described to me as a "poor man's Mike McKee," which isn't a bad thing.  Grabowski has committed to Princeton University for the fall of 2014.  Click here to follow Joe on Twitter.

29th Round:  Kevin Fiala ('96) - Forward - 5'9", 178 pounds
This is one player I have had a really hard time finding information on.  I believe he is originally from Switzerland, but his name makes me wonder if he could be from somewhere else but is just playing hockey in Switzerland.  In 33 games last season for the Malmo IF Redhawks Jr.team, Fiala scored 28 points (9g, 19a) along with 28 PIM's.  I did find a couple of videos here and here of Kevin scoring some nifty shootout goals.  Like the MacAuley pick, this may be another shot in the dark for the Lincoln Stars.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college, and I wasn't able to find Kevin on Twitter.

30th Round:  Nick Schmit ('94) - Goaltender - 6'0", 175 pounds
Schmit, who is originally from Fargo, ND, was the third and last goaltender selected by the Lincoln Stars in this draft.  This may be another familiar name to some Stars fans as he served as an emergency goaltender for the Stars this past season in November, I believe.  Schmit has a very interesting story, as he has overcome a lot in the last year.  In July of 2012, he was critically injured in a boating accident in which suffered "broken bones, a fractured hip and multiple deep cuts."  Schmit spent a lot of time last summer and fall rehabbing, and he finished the 2012-13 season with the NAHL's Wenatchee Wild where he went 4-2-3 with a 2.01 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.  Nick's come a long way since his accident less than one year ago, so I hope this young man gets a good shot at making this team.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Nick on Twitter.

31st Round:  Nate Repensky ('93) - Defenseman - 5'10", 185 pounds
Repensky gets the honor of being the last player selected in the entire USHL entry draft this past Tueday.  The native of Duluth, MN played last season for the Bismark Bobcats of the NAHL where he scored 27 points (6g, 21a) in 37 games played and added 50 PIM's.  18 of his 27 points come on the powerplay, so Repensky is obviously a good PP quarterback.  Despite only playing 37 games, Repensky was the highest scoring defenseman on the Bobcats.  One of Nate's teammates this past season with Bismark was former Stars forward Bob Kinne.  In the 2010 USHL entry draft, Repensky was chosen in the 16th round by the Chicago Steel.  He may have been the last player chosen in the 2013 entry draft, but after looking at his stats, I think Rapensky has a pretty good shot at making the Stars' roster this next season as an overager.  He's a quality puck-moving d-man who has some good experience in the NAHL.  Click here to read an article from the Bismark Bobcats' website which highlights Repensky.  No information online that indicates he's committed to a college.  Click here to follow Nate on Twitter.

Wow....that was a long draft.  Much longer than I expected (7+ hours).  28 total players drafted this evening.  3 goaltenders, 7 defensemen, 18 forwards.

Origin breakdown of the 28 players drafted by the Lincoln Stars:
6 MN
4 NY
4 Canada
3 MA
2 ND
2 MI
1 each from CA, WA, AK, IL, NJ, PA & Switzerland

I will post another article soon which talks about the two trades the Stars made on draft day.  Lincoln picked up forward Luke Voltin and defenseman Luke Shiplo from the Des Moines Bucaneers, as well as defenseman Jared Kolquist from the Sioux City Musketeers.

Thanks for reading!  -Yeti

Monday, May 6, 2013

B³ Draft Coverage: 2013 USHL Futures Draft Results

The Lincoln Stars selected a total eight players tonight in the 2013 USHL Futures Draft (aka Phase 1) and I'll highlight each and every one below.

Click here to check out the league's draft website to view the selections made by all of the USHL teams tonight.

All of the players selected by the Stars tonight were born in 1997, and are considered the best at their age group.  Although they may not play for Lincoln next season, these players very well could be in a Stars uniform in the next couple of years.

1st Round (11th overall):  Pick traded to Des Moines
-I'm hoping to find out more information about this trade, which was made shortly before the draft started this evening.  I've heard some rumors that the Bucs traded a player or players to Lincoln for the Stars' first round Futures pick.  As soon as something is announced, I'll post it here.

2nd Round (26th overall):  Tye Ausmus (D) - 5'9", 160 pounds
Lincoln's first selection in the draft, Ausmus is an undersized defenseman who last season played for East Grand Forks (MN) high school as a sophomore.  In 30 games played, Ausmus scored 14 points (6g, 8a).  According to Chris Dilks of the Western College Hockey blog, Ausmus is a "smaller defenseman that is a smart, responsible puck mover."  Tye's older brother Gage Ausmus just finished a season with Team USA U-18.  Considering that Chad Johnson is originally from Grand Forks, ND, which is basically the same town as East Grand Forks, MN, I'm sure Tye was a familiar name for the Stars head coach.  Click here to follow Tye on Twitter.

3rd Round (41st overall):  Jared Bethune (F) - 6'0", 170 pounds
Bethune played for Warroad High School (MN) last season where he accumulated 49 points (26g, 23a) to go along with 38 PIM's.  What's impressive was that he was Warroad's leading scorer as a sophomore.  Good size for a 16-year old.  I guess the questions is, as it is with all MN high school players, can the Stars convince a kid like Bethune to leave his high school and friends to play in the USHL?  Normally, most MN high school players wait until after their senior season to play a year or two of USHL hockey.  Click here to view a quick video interview Jared did recently for the USHL.  Click here to follow Jared on Twitter.

4th Round (56th overall):  Tyler Jutting (D) - 6'3" 165 pounds
Last season, Jutting scored 20 points (4g, 16a) in 28 games for Mankato-West High School (MN) as a freshman.  Good size already, so when this kid fills out he's going to be a monster.  Tyler put up some quality numbers on a very good Mankato-West team as only a freshman.  Tyler's father, Troy Jutting, was a head coach for the University of Minnesota-Mankato for 12 seasons before he stepped down last year.  He is currently an assistant coach at the University of Nebraska-Omaha under Dean Blais and former Stars head coach Steve Johnson.  I assume Tyler is still probably a year or two away from playing in the USHL.  Click here to follow Tyler on Twitter.

5th Round (71st overall):  Angus Scott (F) - 6'1" 195 pounds

Gotta love a kid whose first name is "Angus."  Last season, Angus played for the Notre Dame Argos of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League where he scored 19 points (7g, 12a) in 42 games played along with 34 penalty minutes.  Angus is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah.  Found this article from a few years ago when Scott originally signed with the Notre Dame Argos.  Like Bethune, Scott has very good physical size for a 16-year old.  I wasn't able to find a lot of information about Angus online.  Click here to follow Angus on Twitter.

6th Round (78th overall):  Michael Floodstrand (F) - 5'9" 150 pounds

Last season for Chicago Mission MM U-16, Floodstrand scored 7 points (4g, 3a) in 16 games played.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find a lot of info about Michael online.  He's a bit on the small size, but I'm sure he'll fill out a bit as he gets older.  This particular draft pick appears to have been traded by the Des Moines Buccaneers to the Stars.  I assume it is part of the trade the Stars made with Des Moines right before the draft that may also include players.  Click here to follow Michael on Twitter.

6th Round (86th overall):  Keegan Ward (F) - 6'3" 181 pounds

Physically, the most USHL-ready player the Stars drafted today.  In 22 games for the West Michigan Hounds (U18 and U16) of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL), Keegan scored 6 points (3g, 3a) to go along with 45 PIM's.  Just looking at his stats, Ward definitely plays with an edge.  Keegan was one of only three players born in 1997 that participated in Lincoln's tryout camp in 2012, so he's obviously a familiar face and name for the Lincoln coaches.  Ward contacted me on Twitter and said he will be at Lincoln's tryout camp once again this June.  According to this article, Keegan practiced with the Lincoln Stars this past January at the IceBox.  Click here to follow Keegan on Twitter.

7th Round (101st overall):  August Von Ungern-Sternberg (F) - 5'10" 170 pounds

First of all, what a name.  Not only did the Stars draft an Angus, but they drafted an August as well.  Good luck getting that whole last name on the back of a jersey.  Last season, August scored 12 points (5g, 7a) in 15 games for the Idaho Jr. Steelheads of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL).  According to this link, August is described as a "lanky kid that still has room to grow into his body but already showcases above average foot speed and a tenacious forecheck. He also practices mixed martial arts on the side and has been victorious in his efforts more times than not."  August has quite the background.  He was born in Singapore, but has lived in the USA since he was two years old.  He has both German and American citizenship.  August practiced with the Stars this past March, and took in a Omaha-Lincoln game at the IceBox.  August contacted me and said he will be at Lincoln's tryout camp in June.  Click here to follow August on Twitter.

8th Round (116th overall):  Zach Grzelewski (F) - 5'10" 185 pounds
The last player selected by the Stars in this draft, Zach played for the Thunder Bay Kings Minor Midget AAA squad last season where he piled up 80 points (38g, 42a) in only 50 games.  Grzelewski is originally from Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.  Solid frame on this kid for such a young age.  This is just my opinion, but this pick seems like a flyer to me.  Grzelewski is a highly touted kid from Canada who was selected by the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights in the 6th round of the OHL's Priority Draft.  The Knight are one of those major junior teams who normally get the kids they want, so it wouldn't surprise me at all if Zach ends up playing for the Knight one day.  Having said that, I doubt the Lincoln coaches would have made this pick if they knew for sure that Zach was leaning towards major junior, so hopefully we'll see him at Lincoln's tryout camp next month.  I could not find Zach on Twitter.

That's it for the Futures Draft!  If you have any more information about the players noted above, or if I have posted incorrect info, please email me at lincolnstarshockey@gmail.com.  Thanks for reading!  Check back here tomorrow night for the results of the USHL Entry Draft.

-Yeti (Tim)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

B³ Draft Coverage: 2013 USHL Futures/Entry Draft Preview

On Monday, May 6th, and Tuesday, May 7th, the Lincoln Stars will participate in USHL's Futures and Entry drafts.  Normally, these two drafts are held a few weeks apart from one another.  Starting this year, however, the two drafts will be held on consecutive days.  The Futures draft (Phase 1) will be held on Monday, May 6th starting at 6pm CST.  The Entry draft (Phase 2) will be held on Tuesday, May 7th starting at 4pm CST.  I'll talk about the differences between the two drafts below for those who may be a little confused.

Before I get started, click here to read a very informative article about the draft process from the USHL website.

Futures Draft (Phase 1): This particular draft consists of eight rounds, as each USHL team will select eight players (and sometimes less, depending on if they've signed any tenders) from the 1997 birth year age group.  Only players born in 1997 can be selected in this particular draft.  USHL teams use this draft to select some of the best young players in North America in hopes that in the future they will develop into full-time players.

Some players on the Stars' roster last season that were drafted in prior futures drafts were Dominik Shine, Zach Frye, Brad Hawkinson, Luke Johnson, Vinni Lettieri, and Daniel Willett.  Very rarely do players selected in the Futures draft play for the team that selected them that same season. Daniel Willet was the last to do it for Lincoln.  Before that, it was Dominik Shine.

Excerpt below from the USHL website about the Futures Draft:

The first step in the two-part draft process will be the 2013 USHL Draft: Phase 1 which will take place on Monday, May 6th beginning at 6:00 PM (CDT), and will be broadcast live and free via FASTHockey, the USHL’s exclusive digital video network.  Formerly referred to as the “USHL Futures Draft”, the USHL Draft: Phase 1 will consist of eight (8) rounds as USHL teams select players from the 1997 birth year.  This single-age portion of the USHL Draft allows teams to choose players who are traditionally not ready to play in the USHL the following season, but will continue to develop at lower levels of hockey in preparation for USHL play in future seasons.  While not yet USHL full-timers, a number of those players will see game action in the coming season. 

Click here to view the players selected by the Stars in the 2012 Futures Draft.  Click here to see the players selected by the Stars in the 2011 Futures Draft.  Click here to see the players picked by the Stars in the 2010 Futures Draft.

Entry Draft (Phase 2):  This is a much longer draft than the Futures, and is where USHL teams will select most of the players that will be on their teams this next season.  Whereas the Futures Draft is used to select some of the up and coming youngsters from a specific birth year who will contribute to the Stars in a few seasons, most of the players selected in the Entry Draft are selected with the intentions they will contribute in 2013-14

Excerpt below from the USHL website about the Entry Draft:

The USHL Draft: Phase 2 is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7th beginning at 4:00 PM (CDT), and all selections will be posted in real-time at www.USHL.com.  Previously known as the “USHL Entry Draft”, Phase 2 of the Draft consists of players from multiple birth years as USHL teams look to fill their protected lists with players who will compete for roster spots for the 2013-14 season.

Phase 2 of the USHL Draft will continue until all USHL teams have 45 players on their Initial Protected List.  That list includes affiliate players from the 2012-13 season and players selected in Phase 1 of the 2013 USHL Draft.

Click here to see the players selected by the Stars in the 2012 Entry Draft.  Click here to view the players selected by the Lincoln Stars in the 2011 Entry Draft.  Click here to view the players selected by the Lincoln Stars in the 2010 Entry Draft.

Because of prior trades made, the Stars only have one draft pick in the first 85 picks of the Entry draft, and will not make their first selection until the fourth round.  Their first and second round picks were traded to Sioux City for Riley Bourbonnais. Their third round pick was traded to Chicago last summer for Jimmy DeVito.  Their fifth round pick was traded to Des Moines for Trent Samuels-Thomas.  The Indiana Ice will have six draft picks made, and the Sioux City Musketeers will have five draft picks made, before the Stars have one.

.As I mentioned in the prospects watch article, the cupboard is very bare right now for the Stars.  They only have a handful of players from last season returning in 2013-14.  If Vinni Lettieri doesn't return to Lincoln next season, the Stars will lose their top 7 scorers from last season going into 2013-14.  So considering their lack of picks in the top five rounds, and the fact that so much scoring is gone from last season, the Stars coaches will have to draft very well in Phase 2 next Tuesday evening.

Because the Stars do not have a goaltender on their affiliate list, and with Jackson Teichroeb and Michael Bitzer leaving for college, I would suspect that the Stars will draft at least one goaltender in the Entry Draft.

I'll be following both drafts live as they occur, and will post the selections made by the Stars in two separate articles (one for the Futures Draft, one for the Entry Draft) here on the blog.  As I mentioned above, the Futures Draft on Monday, May 6th will be broadcast live via FASTHockey.com, so tune in at 6pm for that.

You can follow both drafts live online also via the links below:

Futures Draft (Phase 1)
Entry Draft (Phase 2)