2021-22 Preview: Defensemen

Sep 1, 2021

The Minotauros went with a young group on the blue line last season with Will Crull and Ryan Petersen as the only 20 year-olds.  Veterans Jacob Thomas, Cole Mickel, Mason Campbell, and Nikolai Charchenko give the Tauros an experienced group of returners while another crop of young defensemen look to compete for roster spots.  With Charchenko and Mickel being the only two vets who were consistently in Head Coach/G.M. Shane Wagner’s lineup there will be plenty of competition not just for roster spots but for roles within the game.  The NAHL will continue to allow teams to dress 22 skaters which means it is fair to assume the Tauros will dress seven defensemen per game so expect seven or eight of the players below to break camp on the final 25 man roster that heads to the NAHL Showcase.

Get your first look at the 2021-22 Tauros this Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. with a FREE inter-squad scrimmage on the Pepsi Rink at Maysa Arena.  If you missed yesterday’s post previewing the goalie battle click here to give it a read as well.

2 – Jacob Thomas: 6’3” 193 lbs. 2002

Thomas enters his second season as a Tauro looking to expand his role.  In 28 games played he posted a goal and three assists, along with a -1 rating which was second best on the team.  He dressed for three of the five playoff games against Aberdeen and finished even.

Scout’s Take: A heavy veteran defenseman entering his second year, he’s difficult to play against with a good compete level.

4 – Brayden Hindman: 6’0” 185 lbs. 2004

A product of the Notre Dame Hounds program the 16 year-old defenseman posted three goals and five assists in 14 games last season.  The Corvallis, MT, native has spent the last four seasons north of the 49th parallel developing his game.

Scout’s Take: Entering his first year of junior hockey he makes a good first pass and likes to join in on the rush.

5 – Artjoms Kadnikovs: 6’1” 165 lbs. 2003

Kadnikovs comes to North America for the first time after playing his entire career in his native Latvia.  His offensive production dipped a bit last season with just two assists in 22 games compared to the prior year’s 14 points in 44 games however he was playing primarily in the top Latvian league.  He also has international experience playing the last two seasons on Latvia’s U17 and U18 teams.

Scout’s Take: A smooth puck moving defenseman who is able to play a two-way game.

6 – Cole Mickel: 5’11” 191 lbs. 2002

Mickel led the Tauros defense corps with 19 points on two goals and 17 assists last season to go with a group high +1 rating.   Already an NCAA DI commit headed to the United States Air Force Academy Mickel is expected to be a part of the leadership group this season.

Scout’s Take: Mickel is a solid two-way defender with a high motor, he is able to generate offense and find shooting lanes effectively.

9 – Noah Roitman: 5’10” 189 lbs. 2001

The Tauros 7th round draft pick this summer Roitman comes to Minot after two seasons in the NA3HL.  He played 39 games for new NAHL Central Division rival North Iowa before being traded to Oklahoma City last season where he flourished under former Minotauros Assistant Coach Mick Berge posting 6 goals and 39 assists and earning NA3HL All South Division 1st Team honors.

Scout’s Take: Entering his third season of junior hockey Roitman possess good size and shows a strong compete level and good gap control.

10 – Mason Campbell: 6’0” 165 lbs. 2001

Second among last year’s Tauros defense group with 12 points Campbell had two goals and 10 helpers in 39 games played.  Eight of his 12 points came after the calendar flipped to March as he adjusted to the speed of the junior game. Offense has never been a problem for the Tauro blue-liner who posted 52 points over his final 50 games for Rosemount High in Minnesota; now the Tauros look to Campbell to grab a bigger role at both ends of the ice.

Scout’s Take: A second year guy Campbell is offensively gifted and likes to join the rush.

15 – Nikolai Charchenko: 6’5” 210 lbs. 2001

The longest tenured Tauro on the roster “Char” has 95 games in Cream and Cardinal.  A defensive defenseman Charchenko is +6 in his Tauro career and has set up 16 goals.  Despite being a third year player Charchenko has never had a full 60 game season during his time in Minot, if he dresses for all 60 this year he will finish fourth all-time in franchise history with 155 games played.

Scout’s Take: A workhorse defenseman, he shows good gap control and a high hockey IQ; he blocks shots effectively and competes hard.

22 – Evan Izenstark: 5’11” 199 lbs. 2002

Going into his second season of junior hockey Izenstark posted 21 points in 42 games for the USPHL’s Hudson Havoc last season.  A former high school captain Izenstark was All State and All Academic Team for Glenbrook North in Illinois.

Scout’s Take: A well rounded defenseman who plays a low-risk style.

91 – Colby Woogk: 6’0” 210 lbs. 2004

After four years in the T1EHL with the Dallas Stars AAA program Woogk looks to make the move to the NAHL.  Last season he posted seven assists in 12 games in his second season on the 16U team after posting three goals and eight assists in 24 games the year before.

Scout’s Take: Hard nosed defenseman that plays with an edge but also provides support on both sides of the puck.