Tonight marks the USHL Futures Draft where every team in the league will look to get better whether its right away or in the future.
Last year’s Futures Draft watched Waterloo and Fargo strike it rich by selecting Taylor Cammarata and Gabe Guertler (both Minnesota) first and second overall. Both were a big part of their teams reaching the Western Conference playoffs.
And there have been other players such as Muskegon defenseman Michael Brodzinski (Minnesota) who despite not playing a full USHL season, has impressed quite a bit of people with what he did in high school before making the jump.
Omaha holds the No. 1 overall pick followed by Waterloo and now Fargo after it traded up from seventh with Tri-City, which initially held the No. 3 pick.
There’s no guaranteeing who each pick will pan out but here’s a look at a few players who could certainly either have an impact on your team whether it be next season or beyond.
-Shane Gersich, forward: Let’s get this one out of the way. He’s already been one of the most talked about forwards, OK, players that could go in this year’s draft. USHL scouts have said Gersich should go No. 1 today. One scout said in a text, “I think he’s a no brainer.” Gerisch might have been the most impressive freshman in Minnesota high school hockey this year. He scored 60 points (30 goals, 30 assists) in 21 games for Holy Family. At 5-11, 174 pounds, he already has good size for a player at his age level. Feeling is Gersich will be a first-round pick. Assuming he doesn’t go No. 1, he should be selected really high in this year’s draft. He was also played for Team USA at the World Youth Olympic Games this past January. In fact, he was one of three Minnesotans to make the team.
-Adam Baughman, defenseman: At 6-2, 175 pounds, this will be one of the defensemen to watch in this year’s draft. He played this season for the Chicago Mission in the first-year High Performance Hockey League. Offense didn’t appear to be his forte picking up three points in 22 games. But he was a force in those 22 games as the Mission only lost once and tied twice with him in the lineup for the U-16s. He also represented Team USA at the World Youth Olympic Games.
-Marcel Godbout, defenseman (Michigan State): Like Gersich, Godbout comes in with an extremely high profile. He spent this past season at Shattuck-St. Mary’s (MN-HS), He appears to be the next prospect touted for success of the Shattuck assembly line given what he did for the school’s U-16 team. He scored 42 points (18 goals, 24 assists) in 46 games. At 5-9, 175 pounds, he isn’t the biggest player but the impact he could have on a team would be huge. The Detroit native also played two years for Belle Tire scoring 102 points in 61 career games. He also played at forward in the Youth Olympic Games.
-Nick Magyar, forward (Ohio State): Here is another guy that will probably go really, really high. At 6-2, 185 pounds he was an absolute monster for the Cleveland Barons this season scoring 94 points (42 goals, 52 assists) while committing to college in the process. Magyar, who is from Mentor, Ohio, is another one of these players who impressed USA Hockey enough to make the Youth Olympic Games team.
-Robby Nardella, defenseman: Nardella was actually teammates with Baughman at Chicago Mission, a program which has certainly been fertile for USHL clubs. Nardella, compared to Baughman, is a bit more offenisve-minded having scored 17 points (5 goals, 12 assists) in 29 games. His father actually played in the USHL scoring more than 100 career points for the Des Moines Buccaneers.
-Jack Walker, defenseman: Now here’s the other guy who could challenge Gersich for Minnesota’s most impressive freshman. Walker was part of an extremely young Edina team which reach the state tournament and lost in a one-goal thriller to Benilde-St. Margaret’s in the opening round. Walker played in a total of 29 games scoring 14 points (2 goals, 12 assists) while being reliable for the Hornets, which are a favorite to win state next season. Keep this in mind. Walker’s rights are owned by the Victoria Royals in the Western Hockey League where his brother, Ben, plays. It’ll be interesting to see who takes a chance on Walker knowing he might never end up in the USHL.
-Joe Snively, forward: Snively spent this past season at South Kent School (CT-HS), which is certainly a prep hockey power. He won the team’s MVP award having scored an impressive 35 goals in 47 games this year. The most updated roster we’ve seen has him listed at 5-7, 140 pounds. He’s also an attacker for the school’s lacrosse team.
-Liam Pecararo, forward (Maine): Here’s a guy who has already received excitement from quite a few Maine fans awaiting his arrival. He spent this past season at Boston Advantage where he scored 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists) in 40 games while playing for the U-18 team for the second year in a row. Yes, you read that right. He’s played for the U-18 team for two years. He bounced back from a first season where he played 20 games scoring five points before having an impressive season this year.
-Mason Morelli, forward: Morelli from what we’ve heard from scouts and others had his draft stock soar when he attended the USHL Combine. He opened with a hat trick in his first game and from there has certainly captured the attention of quite a few people. Now here’s where it gets rather interesting. Morelli, is 5-11 and a 185 pounds, is from Minot, N.D. and we all know the Force have had a fondness for North Dakota kids. Morelli played this season at Minot (ND-HS) and for the city’s NAHL team. In high school, he scored 40 points (22 goals and 18 assists) in 26 games and then made the transition to score 3 points in 11 games in the NAHL.
-Ryan Norman, forward: Once again, here’s another guy off that Shattuck team who could very well go in the first round. Norman, as a ninth-grader, was second on the sophomore and junior heavy U-16 team and was second in scoring. He scored 33 goals and 28 assists for 61 points. He’s 5-10 and 180 pounds and is only going to get bigger and better. Schools have started to take notice as Wisconsin is allegedly showing interest in him.
-Christian Dvorak, forward: Get to know this name. Get to know it quickly because it appears this kid has quite a bit of potential. He was part of the Chicago Mission U-16s and did quite a bit of damage this year. Dvorak had 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists) in 29 games this season. From his 2006/07 season to his 2010/11 season, Dvorak registered an impressive 172 points (90 goals, 82 assists) in 144 games. He joins Norman as a player apparently on the Badgers’ recruiting radar.