NAHL Draft Preview

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NAHL Draft Preview May 31, 2012 6:45 AM

The draft begins at 2 p.m. today and the number of selections each team receives is based on its overall roster number and the amount of players on the club’s pre-draft protected list. Each team can use enough picks to get its overall roster up to 30 players.

NAHL member teams did a great job this season moving players on to the USHL and obtaining D-1 and D-3 Scholarship offers for their players. Those numbers look to be on the uptick for the future as well.

While the NAHL faced some challenges this off season with four member franchises going dormant for a year, the teams that are carrying on will likely pick up many of the top end players from the dormant franchises in todays draft.

TJHN expects to see many of the St. Louis Bandit free agent players taken early today. Given their experience in the past season, falling just short of the NAHL Championship, that experience will be valued highly from current teams looking for leadership and championship experience. 1994 DOB Defenseman Brendan Wilson should be one of the names called.

Chicago Hitmen, Dawson Creek, and New Mexico also had many good players on their teams. TJHN expects to see many of their younger players taken today as well. Teams looking for grit may like Chicago Hitmen – Mike Fazio, Dawson Creek – Luke Ripley. Teams looking for a point producing forward may like New Mexico Jimmy Peplinski.

TJHN predicts that the Jamestown Ironmen will be the team most improved on paper after todays draft. As an organization who finished fifth last season, the Ironmen proved they can develop players for the USHL. Win and loss records do not indicate development in all cases. Scouting, and Jamestown has done a lot, will prove to be the key in todays draft.

Unfortunately some players who otherwise would be drafted this season, wont be hearing their names called. The result of four teams going dormant, the NOJHL having lost the Soo Eagles, and continued contraction in the OPJHL is an over load of talented players hitting the open market.

Players that are ready for the NAHL and other Tier II leagues this season will for one reason or another filter down to Tier III leagues. For those that fall into that situation, do not be discouraged. Timing on and off the ice is critical to success. Just because your name may not be called this year does not mean you can not be drafted next year, unless your a 1992 DOB.

The NAHL is always looking to expand its footprint. Next off season will almost certainly be different from this off season.

For those not called today, take advantage of your Tier III opportunity. The MnJHL, and NA3HL are being aggressively scouted, and both leagues do an outstanding job at promoting their players throughout the season, and into the off seasons.

Joseph Kolodziej

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