Posted by: Feldman
The North American Hockey League will hold its annual draft tomorrow, beginning at 1 p.m. Fans of the Austin Bruins will have to wait a bit for the team to make its first selection. Teams draft in reverse order of their records during the 2012-13 regular season, so the Bruins will pick 23rd in the 24-team draft.
The Amarillo Bulls will draft 24th. The newly formed Minnesota Magicians, based in Richfield, will draft first. They'll be followed by another new member of the NAHL, the Minnesota Wilderness (based in Cloquet).
Players are not asked to register for the NAHL Draft. Eligible players are:
• Younger than 21 as of Dec. 31, 2013
• Not listed on an NAHL team roster OR are listed on an NAHL roster but played less than 10 total games in the league last season
• Any player that meets the above criteria and has not accepted a tender from an NAHL team for the 2013-14 season
Teams are permitted to draft as many players as it takes to push their roster to 30. That means the total number of tendered players + the total number of rostered players + total number of drafted players must be equal to or less than 30. Teams have to cut their rosters to 25 by Sept. 1.
WHAT WILL THE BRUINS DO?
So, what type of player will the Austin Bruins look for in Tuesday's draft? The obvious answer is goal scorers, but if it was that easy to just draft a goal-scorer, all 24 teams would do that, right?
I'm strictly guessing here, but I think the Bruins might try to hit on some forwards who they think can boost the offense early in the draft. A couple of reasons I think they'll go forward-heavy: 1. The Bruins scored more than three goals just once in eight playoff games; 2. Austin loses some of its top scorers to age (Reid, Wahlin, Fischer, Colvard) and could lose others to college or the USHL (CJ Smith? Jay Dickman?).
Then again, the Bruins tendered some really talented forwards and if those guys end up in Austin (and not the USHL), the team will find it easier to replace some of those lost scorers.
Speaking of tenders, I did a little digging and here is a look at the nine players Austin has tendered (which means the Bruins hold their NAHL rights for 2013-14). This list includes Michigan's Mr. Hockey, a First Team All-State forward from Wisconsin and Hill-Murray's all-time leading scorer:
• F Brian Bachnak (6-1, 190, 9-30-94): From Southgate,
Mich. … Named Michigan's Mr. Hockey 2013 on March 17. … Also named First
Team All-State and named to Michigan's Dream Team. … Had 97 points (53
goals) as a senior in 2012-13 for Riverview High School. … Led Riverview
its first-ever appearance in the Michigan Division 3 state semifinals. …
Had six points in 15 games with Toledo of the NA3HL in 2011-12.
• F Trey Dodd (5-11, 185, 7-18-96): Produced 34 points in 44 games for the St. Louis Jr. Blues of the NA3HL last season as one of the few 16-year-olds in the league. Had a plus-33 plus/minus rating. “Austin is a strong program, in fact at the top of their division this year, and their player turnover is pretty low. If you make the team, they make a commitment to you.” Dodd said when he tendered with the Bruins in early February. “I was looking for a place that I could go and continue to develop and grow, and I thought that this was the best fit for me.”
• D Rhodes Dolan (6-5, 179, 5-2-96): The 17-year-old blue-liner from Waterloo, Iowa, played five games for the Bruins in 2012-13, scoring one goal. … Played two games for Waterloo of the USHL and 33 for the Omaha U16 AAA team in the North American Prospects Hockey League. Helped Omaha to a 21-1-0 regular season record. … Had three goals in five playoff games to lead Omaha to the NAPHL championship. … Selected by the Oshawa Generals in the 10th round (No. 194 overall) of the Ontario Hockey League draft in April.
• D Cory Dunn (5-10, 160, 1-24-94): The 19-year-old from Trenton, Mich., had 10 points in 31 games for Team Illinois U18 in the High Performance Hockey League last season. … A right-handed shot.
• F Dominik Florian (6-2, 185, 5-12-95): Good size for an 18-year-old. … From Vlasim, Czech Republic. … Played high school hockey in Waukesha, Wis., last season. Was the team's second-leading scorer with 55 points (29 goals) in 27 games. … Led Waukesha to the Section 7 championship, where it fell by a goal to Whitefish Bay. … Played for Notre Dame of the Saskatchewan Midget Hockey League for two seasons prior to going to Waukesha.
• F Niko Hildenbrand (5-11, 190, 8-18-95): The play-making forward from Vacaville, Calif., played two games for Sioux City of the USHL last season. Sioux City still holds his USHL rights. … Put up 27 points (15 goals) and 35 penalty minutes in 38 games last season for the Chicago Fury U18 team.
• F Casey Jerry (5-11, 160, 1-14-95): Named All-State First Team in Wisconsin and named to the St. Paul Pioneer Press All-Metro Team. … As a senior and captain of the River Falls (Wis.) Wildcats in 2012-13, had 67 points, including 36 goals, in just 25 games. … Leading scorer for Team Wisconsin in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League (14 points in 21 games). … Had 35 points in 19 games as a high school junior at River Falls.
• D Tyler Jones (5-10, 170, 8-16-95): From Naperville, Ill., Jones, 17, had nine assists and 45 penalty minutes for the Chicago Young Americans U18 team in the High Performance Hockey League last season.
• F Zach LaValle (5-11, 195, 10-20-94): Helped lead Hill-Murray to the past two Minnesota Class AA state high school tournaments. H-M finished as the state runner-up both years. … Named the Metro Player of the Year by the St. Paul Pioneer Press in March. … Had 61 points (26 goals) in 30 games as a senior. … Finished high school career with 84 goals and 113 assists for 197 points (H-M's all-time scoring leader). … Played in seven state high school tournaments in three different sports. Was an all-state quarterback for the Pioneers last fall. … USHL rights are owned by Waterloo.