by John Peterson
Eleven days after taking over as Head Coach and General Manager of the Austin Bruins, Kyle Grabowski and assistant coaches Keenan Kelly and Brad Clayton selected a new crop of players that could be a part of the first Bruins team under the new leadership. Austin picked 12 new players to fill its 30-player protected roster Tuesday at the 2015 North American Hockey League Entry Draft. Here’s a recap of the Bruins’ selections:
Round 1 (20th overall) – Vince Marinaro (Algonquin, IL), F, Des Moines (USHL)
Marinaro played 22 games for the Coulee Region Chill in the NAHL to start the 2014-15 season, and actually scored a goal and added two assists in four games against the Bruins. The 18-year-old finished with two goals and four assists before he was called up to the United States Hockey League’s Des Moines Buccaneers, where he played 25 games to finish the season. The 5’9 forward previously played for Team Illinois’s U18 team in the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL).
Round 2 (43) – Mason Anderson (Anchorage, AK), D, Waterloo (USHL)
Anderson is a 20-year-old defenseman with one year left of junior hockey eligibility. He played 50 games in the USHL last year. The Anchorage native started the season with the expansion Madison Capitols, where he had a goal and five assists in 30 games. Midway through the season, Anderson was traded to the Waterloo Black Hawks where he played in 20 games and was a teammate of former Bruins forward Niko Hildenbrand (Vacaville, CA).
Round 3 (48) – Ian Beck (Chicago, IL), D, Milwaukee Jr. Admirals (T1EHL)
Beck is listed as 6’1 on one scouting site and 6’4 on another, so we’ll find out which one is correct when he comes to Austin. Either way, the Bruins are getting a big defenseman who just turned 17-years-old in April. The native of Chicago spent last season in the Tier 1 Elite Hockey League (T1EHL) playing for the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U18 team. In 30 games for the Admirals, Beck compiled nine points (2-7–9), and he added two goals in four playoff games.
Round 3 (65) – Alexander (A.J.) Drobot (Churchville, PA), F, New Jersey Rockets (EHL)
Drobot is one of two Bruins draft picks who have already committed to Division 1 schools. The talented 17-year-old winger from Churchville, PA committed to the University of Maine last year. He put up 29 points (11-18–29) in 35 games for the New Jersey Rockets of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) in 2014-15. The Rockets are the same junior team that Bruins’ forward J.C. Maclean (Basking Ridge, NJ) played for when he was drafted by Austin last summer. Drobot also skated in one regular season game for the eventual Clark Cup-winning Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL.
Round 4 (87) – Frankie Sullivan (Fairfield, CT), D, Springfield Pics (USPHL)
Sullivan played in 48 games last year in the United States Prospect Hockey League (USPHL), which will make the transition to a 60-game NAHL season a relatively easy one. The 19-year-old from Fairfield, CT spent time with the New Jersey Hitmen and South Shore Kings before playing the final 23 games of the season with the Springfield Jr. Pics. Sullivan also briefly played for the Boston Jr. Bruins 18U team after graduating from the Westminster Prep (CT) school in 2013-14.
Round 5 (109) – Kyle Madore (Venetia, PA), G, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18 (T1EHL)
Madore is the only goaltender drafted by the Bruins, who may have two roster spots open if Jake Kielly (Tri-City, USHL) and Evan Smith (Victoria, WHL) move up to the next level. The 18-year-old from just outside of Pittsburgh won 11 of 16 games for the Penguins Elite U18 team last year and posted a 2.54 goals-against average and a 90.6 save percentage. Madore’s older brothers Rob (University of Vermont 2008-12) and Matt (New Mexico, NAHL) also were goalies, and their cousin is former Minnesota Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey.
Round 6 (126) – Logan Haskins (Rochester, MN), F, Mayo HS (MN)
Haskins is latest player from nearby Rochester, MN to come to Austin following the likes of Drew Anderson (Century HS, Bruin from 2012-14), Riese Zmolek (Century HS, Bruin in 2014-15) and current tender Griff Slightam (Lourdes HS). The 18-year-old forward put up 47 points (22-25–47) in 24 games during his senior season at Mayo HS. Haskins compiled 116 points in his three-year high school career and also skated in 14 games last fall for the Rochester Ice Hawks of the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MNJHL).
Round 7 (141) – Nick Wilson (Bartlett, IL), F, Michigan Nationals U18 (ECEL)
Wilson skated for the Michigan Nationals last year in the Midget Major division of junior hockey, where the team compete against HPHL, T1EHL and East Coast Elite League (ECEL) teams. The 18-year-old from Bartlett, IL was teammates with current Bruins tender Brendan VanSweden (Kentwood, MI) on the Nationals and could be teammates again in Austin next year. Before that, Wilson played for the co-op Bartlett is a part of just outside of Chicago.
Round 8 (153) – Nigel Nelson (Crystal Lake, IL), F, Chicago Young Americans U16 (HPHL)
Nelson had a strong final season in the U16 division of the HPHL last year for the Chicago Young Americans. The Crystal Lake, IL native tallied 13 points (7-6–13) in 25 games and turned 17-years-old in January. Nelson is listed as a 6’1 forward and would finish high school in Austin if he makes the Bruins roster. Before playing for CYA, he played for Team Illinois’ AAA bantam team.
Round 9 (164) – Ezra Hall (Winnipeg, MB), D, Winnipeg Blues (MJHL)
Hall is the only member of the Bruins’ 30-player protected roster from Canada, as he hails from Winnipeg, MB. The 19-year-old defenseman played for the Winnipeg Blues in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) last year, where he had 26 points (12-14–26) in 53 games. Hall’s size could be a huge factor on the Bruins’ blue line as he’s listed at 6’5 and 201 pounds.
Round 10 (174) – Jacob Paganelli (Verona, NJ), F, Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep (MN)
Paganelli also was drafted having already made his college commitment. The 18-year-old forward from Verona, NJ is slated to play from Princeton University in his home state in 2016-17 and could add a big scoring punch to the Bruins if he doesn’t play in the USHL next year. Paganelli spent the last three years at the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault, MN and racked up 59 points (24-35–59) in 54 games last season.
Round 11 (184) – John Pesek (Lake Forest, IL), D, Soo Indians 18U (Midget Major)
Pesek is the youngest of the 12 Bruins draft picks but has a very high ceiling with four years of junior eligibility remaining. The defenseman from Lake Forest, IL won’t turn 17 until October, and spent the last season playing AAA midget majors for the Soo Indians 18U team. Pesek accrued 47 points (18-29–47) in 59 games for the Indians and also had the opportunity to play in two USHL games for the Green Bay Gamblers alongside former Bruins Sam Kauppila (Gurnee, IL) and Jason Pawloski (Omaha, NE).
The Bruins will again hold its main summer camp July 7-10 in Somerset, WI. The camp is invitation only, and all interested players may contact the coaching staff for approval to attend camp. For more information, see the Austin Bruins’ website under the tab “Tryout Camps”.