2021-22 Preview: Forwards pt. 1

Sep 2, 2021

With 21 forwards in camp there will certainly be competition for the Tauros 13 or 14 forward spots.  Today we will take a look at the first 10 forwards in camp (by jersey number) that will look to break camp and head to Blaine for the NAHL Showcase starting September 15th.

Just four forwards from last season’s playoff roster remain: Christian “Bubba” Kadolph, Logan Anderson, Ike Keller, and Trevor Stachowiak.   Anderson led the group of returners with 18 points on seven goals and 11 assists.  Overall, the Tauros put up 150 goals in 56 games last season, the average was skewed (as was just about everyone else’s) by the dominant Aberdeen Wings team that lost just four games last year. The Tauros averaged just 1.42 goals/game against Aberdeen but posted a respectable 3.02 average against everyone else.

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 prior posts previewing the goalies or defensemen click the links to learn more about the other positions.  We’ll be back tomorrow with the final 11 forwards.

7 – Thomas Gazich: 5’11” 162 lbs. 2002

Gazich brings some NAHL experience to the group having played 42 games for the St. Cloud Blizzard (now the Norsemen) in the 2019-20 season.  While with the Blizzard he had a goal and five helpers in what was a difficult season overall for St. Cloud.  He posted a goal and an assist in six games for Great Falls in the NA3HL last season in the regular season before chipping in a goal and three assists in six more playoff games.

Scout’s Take: Going into his 3rd season of junior hockey, he has a good frame and protects the puck well.  Good hands around the net and plays a two-way game.

8 – Christian “Bubba” Kadolph: 5’8” 171 lbs. 2002

The Tauros Target Tuesday champion returns seeking a more consistent role in the lineup.  Last season was marred by injuries for Kadolph he did post two goals in his first four games but was then held off the scoresheet in his final 22 games.   The former captain at Brainerd H.S. in Minnesota Kadolph posted 31 points in 25 games his senior year so there is some offense for the coaching staff to unlock.  Always a hard worker “Bubba” was the only Tauros to choose to skate in the optional pre-draft camps.

Scout’s Take: A high character player who always competes.  Can play forward or d, useful flexibility for a roster with just one healthy scratch.

11 – Joe Westlund: 6’1” 175 lbs. 2002

The younger brother of former Tauros Captain Jack Westlund, Joe looks to make his own mark in the Magic City.  The younger Westlund played 54 games for Northstar Christian Academy in the NAPHL 18U posting 19 goals and 34 assists.  Prior to that he posted 28 points in 25 games in his last season at Alexandria Area H.S. and four more in 12 games for the NA3HL’s Alexandria Blizzard.

Scout’s Take: Making the move to juniors Westlund plays with grit and is able to find the soft areas offensively.

12 – Liam Cox-Smith: 5’8” 183 lbs. 2003

A Minot native returns home looking to play a full season as a Tauro after dressing for three games last season.  Cox-Smith has spent the last three seasons with the Rockey Mountain Roughriders AAA program posting 21 goals and 32 assists in 45 games last season at the 18U level.

Scout’s Take: A skilled forward who plays a two-way game.

16 – Grant Kwapick: 6’2” 159 lbs. 2002

A veteran of the famed Shattuck St. Mary’s program Kwapick is back for his second run with the Tauros.  Last season he posted an assist in six games.  He posted back-to-back 10 goal/26 assist seasons for Shattuck prior to joining the Tauros.

Scout’s Take: Plays a two-way game with some grit and a good nose for the net.

17 – Owen Hanson: 6’1” 170 lbs. 2003

Another player with Minot ties Hanson was also a teammate of Joe Westlund’s on Northstars Christian’s 18U team.  In 54 games last season he posted 23 goals and 13 assists. Prior to joining NCA Hanson played 16U for the Sioux Falls Power in the NAPHL recording six points in 15 games.

Scout’s Take:  Works hard and plays with jam that makes him good on the forecheck.

18 – Jaksen Panzer: 5’9” 172 lbs. 2004

A Grand Forks native Panzer is already committed to the University of North Dakota.  Hockey is certainly in his blood with his father Jeff and uncle Jay having played for the Sioux.  Jaksen is not just a legacy bid however posting 36 points in 23 games for East Grand Forks last season along with another 26 points in 19 games in the Minnesota Elite League.  Panzer has already made his Tauro debut playing on New Year’s Day in Bismarck last season as an affiliate player.

Scout’s Take: A dog on a bone hockey player, plays the entire 200 feet, will not get cheated on any shift he plays.

19 – Logan Anderson: 6’1” 163 lbs. 2001

One of the four returning Tauros forwards Anderson came to Minot in January after a season and a half with the USHL’s Des Moines Buccaneers.  Anderson posted 18 points in 35 games with the Tauros and then added a goal and an assist in the Tauros five game playoff series with Aberdeen.  The only 2001 birthyear forward in the first group of previews Anderson will be counted on to provide leadership and make a strong push for an NCAA DI commitment.

Scout’s Take: A skilled winger who is able to generate in tight areas offensively, has a good work ethic, and great hockey sense.

20 – Ben Anderson: 6’5” 210 lbs. 2002

The biggest Tauro on the roster, like Kwapick Anderson returns for his second go with the Tauros.  He played in two games with the Tauros last season and was held off the scoresheet.  After that Anderson played 32 contests for the NA3HL’s Granite City Lumberjacks recording 12 goals and six helpers. Prior to last season Anderson finished his Minnesota high school career strong with 56 points (18/38) in just 25 games for Armstrong/Cooper High.

Scout’s Take: His game developed with a year of junior experience, good frame and competes hard; goes to the net well.

21 – David Nesburg: 5’10” 169 lbs. 2002

A former teammate of Kwapick’s at Shattuck Nexburg posted 28 points in 38 games last season after posting 83 points in 72 games the year prior.  Those kind of numbers certainly have appeal for a team that is returning just 11 goals from forwards last season.

Scout’s Take:  A two-way center with good hockey sense, also a good character kid with a high compete level and consistency.