Cam Hackett ('96) is originally from Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada and was drafted by the Green Bay Gamblers in 6th round of the 2012 USHL Futures Draft.
Cam got his first taste of the USHL during the 2012-13 season with Green Bay. In six games that season, he had a 3-2-1 record along with a 3.24 goals against average and a .895 save percentage.
Cam returned to the Gambers in 2013-14 and posted a 5-8-2 record in 18 games along with a 2.59 goals against average and a .908 save percentage.
From what I have read online, Hackett suffered from a high ankle sprain last October which kept him out of the lineup for almost three months. While out of the lineup, Gamblers goaltender Jared Rutledge, who played at the University of Michigan in 2012-13, cemented his spot as the #1 goaltender. So on paper, it doesn't appear that Hackett really got an opportunity to be the #1 goaltender last year for the Gamblers.
Jared Rutledge returns for the Gamblers this upcoming season, and the Gamblers also obtained goaltender Jason Pawloski in the Indiana Ice dispersal draft. Pawloski was the USHL's Clark Cup MVP this past season, so the Gamblers have a logjam at the goaltender position for 2014-15. Hackett was most likely the odd man out with Rutledge returning and the acquisition of Pawloski. This trade allows Hackett to fight for a #1 position in Lincoln while in Green Bay he likely would never have had the opportunity.
In late 2012, Hackett committed to play college hockey at Cornell University. However, he is no longer committed to Cornell from what I have read online. So there is a good chance Hackett could play two seasons in Lincoln before heading off to college. I assume Hackett, Hunter Shepard, and Peyton Jones will compete in the preseason for the two goaltending spots available on the roster. Hackett has very good size, coming in at 6'2", 205 pounds. I've been told Hackett is considered an import in the eyes of the USHL.
Patrick Polino ('95) hails from Buffalo, NY and was originally selected by the Chicago Steel in the 2011 USHL Futures Draft. Patrick was a very high draft pick that year, going fourth overall to the Steel.
The season after he was drafted by Chicago, Patrick played the 2011-12 campaign with the Team Illinois U-18 program, which happens to be where Lincoln Stars GM Jon Hull used to coach. Gotta think there's a connection there.
Polino played his first full USHL season in 2012-13, where he scored 24 points (9g, 15a) and added 50 penalty minutes in 60 games played.
In 2013-14, Patrick was named an alternate captain for the Steel to begin the season. In 31 games for the Steel, Polino scored 12 points (6g, 6a) and added 46 penalty minutes before he was traded to the Green Bay Gamblers. Patrick finished the 2013-14 season in Green Bay where he only scored 1 point (assist) in 15 games played.
I'm friends with a hardcore Steel fan, and he told me that Polino was a favorite of his when he played in Chicago. My friend described Polino has a very hard worker on the ice with a motor that does not stop. Although he may not have put up a ton of points while in Chicago, Polino's effort was never in question according to my friend. Hopefully the change of scenery from Green Bay to Lincoln will give Patrick an opportunity to get his scoring touch back and be a positive, veteran leader on the team. Although he is a bit undersized at 5'9", 170 pounds, I've been told Polino plays a bigger game than his size indicates and won't take a shift off.
Looking at this trade from a fan's perspective, I like it. Hackett (24 USHL games) and Polino (109 USHL games) have some good USHL experience and both should be hungry to come to Lincoln and play well to impress the college scouts out there. Having a goaltender with USHL experience on the roster to start the season is a must, in my opinion. I said in a previous blog article that it would not surprise me to see the Stars make some moves over the summer to address some experience needs in certain positions, and that is certainly what they did here.
Your thoughts on the trade? Please leave a comment below. I will edit this article to include the players/picks the Stars traded to Green Bay in return for Hackett and Polino once that information is made public.