AUSTIN, Minn. – The Austin Bruins saw four players get selected in the USHL Draft on Thursday including Ben Dexheimer, Sutter Muzzatti, Braidan Simmons-Fischer, and Tyler Shea.
The USHL Phase II draft took place on Thursday as teams in the nation’s highest junior hockey league look to replenish for the upcoming season. In the first round, the Bruins saw their first player get claimed when defenseman Ben Dexheimer was selected by the Madison Capitols with the 14th overall pick. Dexheimer, 18, played the entire 2020-21 season with the Bruins and solidified his spot as a top-two defenseman with six goals, 17 assists, and a plus-13 rating. The Edina, MN, native committed to Miami University (NCAA-DI) before playing his first junior season with the Bruins this past year.
After Dexheimer, the next Bruin to be taken off the board was forward Sutter Muzzatti. Taken by the Youngstown Phantoms with the 93rd overall pick, Muzzatti was the youngest Bruins’ player to be picked at 17-years-old. Like Dexheimer, Muzzatti completed the entire first season playing for the Bruins and even earned a call-up to the US National Team Development Program where he scored a goal in his lone game played for the stars-and-stripes. A native of Okemos, MI, Muzzatti committed to RPI (NCAA DI) early in the 2020-21 season and followed up his commitment by tallying five goals and eight assists in his 30 games played for the Bruins.
One round later, the Bruins saw two players get taken just four picks apart. Braidan Simmons-Fischer was taken by the Omaha Lancers in the 8th round with the 117th overall pick, followed by Tyler Shea selected by Madison with the 121st overall pick. Simmons-Fischer, 19, is no stranger to the USHL after spending all of 2019-20 and the start of 2020-21 with the Green Bay Gamblers. Upon joining the Bruins, Simmons-Fischer really found his stride becoming a fan-favorite for his physicality and offensive upside. Like Muzzatti, Simmons-Fischer also earned a call up to the USNTDP and registered an assist in his lone game with the program. In total, the Detroit, MI, native Simmons-Fischer played 36 games for the Bruins with two goals and seven assists to his name.
For Tyler Shea who was selected four picks after Simmons-Fischer, it was his second time being drafted into the USHL following last season’s draft in which he was taken by Dubuque. Shea has been part of the Bruins crease for the past two seasons, playing in a total of 56 games. In 2020-21, the Stevenson Ranch, CA, native played 35 games with a 3.23 goals-against-average and a .914 save percentage. Shea has earned a call-up to the USHL on one occasion before but has yet to play a regular-season game in Tier-I.
For all four of the Austin Bruins players selected, the team still retains their rights if they were to return to the NAHL. The four players selected will compete throughout the offseason at camps, and possibly throughout preseason games, to earn a spot on their USHL team’s final roster.