Poganski gets WJ camp invite

UND freshman forward Austin Poganski has earned an invitation to the World Junior Evaluation Camp next month. He is a late addition.

Poganski will join classmate Nick Schmaltz at the event, which is used to help coaches and administrators select the roster for the World Junior Championship. The camp will run from Aug. 2-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Poganski and Schmaltz will play on different teams in the event.

USA Hockey will continue to evaluate players through the first half of their seasons and will make final selections in December. This year’s event will be held in Toronto and Montreal.

As a late addition, Poganski is probably a longshot to make the team at this point, but even if he doesn’t, it should be a good experience before coming to campus.

Wrapping up the draft

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)

Poganski, Gersich go on Day 2

PHILADELPHIA — One day after UND recruit Nick Schmaltz was selected in the first round by the Chicago Blackhawks, two more UND recruits were picked at the NHL Draft.

The first to go was Austin Poganski. The incoming freshman was selected by the St. Louis Blues in the fourth round (No. 110 overall). Shane Gersich quickly followed, going to the Washington Capitals in the fifth round (No. 134).

Poganski will play for UND next season. Gersich will go to Omaha for one year before coming to UND. Both chatted with the media after their selections. Comments will be posted later.

UND’s draft board

Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks, first round, No. 20
Austin Poganski, St. Louis Blues, fourth round, No. 110
Shane Gersich, Washington Capitals, fifth round, No. 134

Four recruits get Combine invites

Four UND recruits have been invited to participate in the NHL Combine in Toronto later this month.

Nick Schmaltz, Shane Gersich, Austin Poganski and Ryan Mantha all have been invited to the event. Schmaltz, Gersich and Poganski are forwards. Mantha is a defenseman.

A total of 119 invites were handed out for the NHL Combine, which means the general consensus is that all four of these players are going to be picked in June.

Schmaltz is projected to be the highest pick. Most scouts have him pegged to go late in the first round like his brother.

Gersich, Poganski and Mantha are slated to be second-day picks.

The NHL Draft is June 27-28 in Philadelphia.

Four UND recruits to play in Prospect Game

Four UND recruits have been selected for the USA Hockey All-American Prospect Game, a contest designed to give exposure to draft-eligible American players.

Nick Schmaltz, Shane Gersich, Austin Poganski and Ryan Mantha all will play in the game on Sept. 26 in Pittsburgh.

Schmaltz, Gersich and Poganski are 1996-born forwards. Mantha is a 1996-born defenseman.

The one surprising omission from UND’s stable of recruits is Chris Wilkie, a 1996-born forward who left the U.S. National Team Development Program to go to the USHL this season (Tri City).

After the selections came out, Wilkie tweeted “Just more fuel to the fire.”

Wilkie still could be added if not all the players can end up playing (there were late additions last year to the event).

All of the players will play in the USHL this season — Schmaltz with Green Bay, Gersich with USA U18s, Poganski with Tri City and Mantha with Sioux City.

Poganski commits to UND

St. Cloud Cathedral junior forward Austin Poganski has committed to UND.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward is one of the top juniors in the state of Minnesota and chose UND over the Gophers and St. Cloud State.

Poganski says he played for a Junior Sioux team when he was 10 or 11 (coached by former Sioux Jeff Bowen) and always wanted to play for North Dakota.

Read the full Herald story on Poganski’s commitment, including quotes from the player and his high school coach here.

He previously appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd. Read that here.