Three UND recruits ended up getting selected in the NHL Draft this season with Nick Schmaltz going in the first round, Austin Poganski going in the fourth and Shane Gersich going in the fifth.
As previously stated, I’m no longer listing Ryan Mantha as a recruit, no matter which team drafts him (it was the New York Rangers in the fourth round). The reason: According to multiple sources, he’s an academic casualty. That’s why it didn’t matter who drafted him.
That left Poganski and Gersich as the two UND draftees on Saturday.
Poganski is coming right away. His goal will be to produce more in the second half of the year than the first half, which he will have an adjustment to make.
Gersich is heading to Omaha of the USHL for a year before coming to campus. He said on Saturday that he will be a senior next season. He did consider trying to accelerate his education last year.
Regardless, his path is one that the Washington Capitals are happy about.
Washington assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said that Gersich went from a highly offensive role at Holy Family High School as a sophomore to a more defensive role with the NTDP as a junior.
Gersich was playing behind first-round picks Alex Tuch and Sonny Milano — and soon-to-be first-round pick Jack Eichel. Gersich wasn’t a power-play guy. He had more of a checking role and didn’t put up big numbers.
Mahoney thinks Omaha is the best destination for Gersich next season. He should get more opportunity to play an offensive role and the Caps (and UND) want to see him re-discover that. Mahoney said he knows that it’s in Gersich, because he has seen it.
Had Gersich gone to college this season as a young player with a deep roster, his role would have once again been limited and who knows if he would have been able to re-discover his offense or how that would have affected development.
As it is, Gersich is taking the patient route and that could pay dividends for Omaha, UND and Washington in the end.
“We’re looking, as of now, at an excellent third-line center,” Mahoney said. “You’re always hoping they can move higher in the lineup. (Gersich) is a very good two-way player. He’s very intelligent. We would like to see him get the skill that he showed a year ago. We’d like to see him build more on that game after playing more of a checking role with the Under-18 team.
“He will end up playing in the USHL, then heading to North Dakota, which will be really good for him there. It’s a really good program. We’re happy with the path that he has chosen.”
With Minot’s Alex Schoenborn (Portland, WHL) going in the third round of the draft, someone asked in the comments for a list of North Dakotans and East Siders that have been selected, so here it is. Let me know if I’m missing anyone.
North Dakota high school players in NHL Draft
Alex Schoenborn, Minot, 2014 (3rd, 72nd, SJS)
Luke Johnson, GFC, 2013 (5th, 134th, CHI)
Keaton Thompson, DL, 2013 (3rd, 87th, ANA)
Paul LaDue, GFC, 2012 (6th, 181st, LAK)
Ryan Potulny, RR, 2003 (3rd, 87th, PHI)
Danny Irmen, RR/FN, 2003 (3rd, 78th, MIN)
James Massen, BHS, 2001 (6th, 194th, NJD)
Andy Schneider, RR, 2001 (5th, 156th, PIT)
Grant Potulny, RR, 2000 (5th, 157th, OTT)
Mike Hanson, Minot, 1994 (11th, 269th, NJD)
Mike Peluso, BHS, 1994 (10th, 253rd, CGY)
Brent Brekke, Jamestown, 1991 (9th, 188th, QUE)
Mike Markovich, GFC, 1989 (6th, 121st, PIT)
Chad Johnson, GFC, 1988 (6th, 117th, NJD)
Dave Hanson, GFC, 1984 (4th, 79th, PHI)
Lee Brodeur, GPR, 1984 (4th, 65th, MTL)
Tim Loven, RR, 1982 (11th, 213rd, TOR)
Brian Williams, FN, 1982 (9th, 187th, MTL)
Mark Berge, RR, 1978 (11th, 182nd, PHI)
Dennis Johnson, GFC, 1972, (5th, 74th, DET)
East Siders in the NHL Draft
Gage Ausmus, EGF, 2013 (5th, 171st, SJS)
Tucker Poolman, EGF, 2013 (5th, 127, WPG)
Craig Mack, EGF, 1983 (7th, 132nd, QUE)
Tim Mishler, EGF, 1982 (5th, 96th, WPG)