By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – After completing the most successful season in franchise history last month the Minotauros will be looking to bolster an already strong roster in tomorrow’s NAHL Draft. The Tauros have eight selections in the first nine rounds to get their protected list to 30 players for the summer. Already on the protected list are 22 players whom are either eligible to return from last year’s roster or new faces already signed to tender agreements.
The Tauros first selection will come at 15th overall in the first round due to having the eighth best record in the league last season. Then the Tauros will have two picks in the second round, the first (35th overall) comes from the New Jersey Titans (formerly the Soo Eagles) from the trade that sent the Tauros’ third round pick from last season Pat Gazillo, to the Soo. Gazillo never suited up for the Tauros who traded him after he was cut from the USHL’s Lincoln Stars opting instead to trade him thanks to an already strong crop of young defensemen. The Tauros second pick of the second round will be their own, 37th overall.
After having three picks in the first two rounds the Tauros will have to wait some time to make their next selection. The Tauros sent their third round pick to Wenatchee after the NAHL Showcase last season for James Mathias and their fourth round pick to Corpus Christi last offseason for Nick Monfils. The duo combined for 57 points in the regular season and finished as the Tauros top two playoff scores, so the trades were certainly worth the loss of picks tomorrow. Barring more trades after sitting out for two rounds the Tauros will return with one pick (their own) in each of the next five rounds.
With St. Cloud State bound Jon Lizotte the only of the Tauros six defensemen not eligible for return it is a safe bet that the Tauros draft will be forward heavy. The Tauros only have eight forwards from last year’s team eligible to come back and three of them; Blake Lizotte (Fargo Force), Johnny Walker (Chicago Steel), and Nate Pionk (Lincoln Stars) were all selected in the USHL Draft last month.
For more info on the NAHL Draft including the draft order and how you can follow the full draft check out the preview on NAHL.com. Follow us on twitter @MinotauroHockey, to get Minotauros news as it happens including all eight picks tomorrow, and be sure to check back here on minotauroshockey.com for a recap of the draft tomorrow night. Also for the first time KMOT’s Jovana Simic will have behind the scenes access to the Minotauros draftroom throughout the draft.