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.

Gersich wins U-18 gold

UND recruit Shane Gersich helped the Americans win the gold medal at the IIHF World Under-18 tournament in Finland this morning.

The U.S. beat the Czech Republic 5-2 in the championship game. Canada beat Sweden for the bronze.

Gersich, who will either come to UND this fall or in the fall of 2015, played in all seven games for the Americans. He didn’t register any points and was a +2.

Gersich is the seventh UND player to win gold in the event, which started in 1999. All seven played for the Americans.

UND at the U18s (All medalists American)

2014 — Gold, Shane Gersich
2013 — Silver, Keaton Thompson and Gage Ausmus
2011 — Gold, Rocco Grimaldi
2010 — Gold, Rocco Grimaldi and Derek Forbort
2009 — Gold, Nick Mattson
2008 — Bronze, Danny Kristo
2005 — Gold, Taylor Chorney, Zach Jones
2004 — Silver, Zach Jones
2002 — Gold, Zach Parise

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.

UND lands Shane Gersich

UND’s big week in recruiting continued Thursday night as Holy Family forward Shane Gersich, believed to be the top available forward in Minnesota, tweeted that he has committed to UND.

Gersich currently is a sophomore in high school. He is the nephew of former Roseau greats Neal, Aaron and Paul Broten, all of whom went to Minnesota.

This comes on the heels of UND landing St. Cloud Cathedral forward Austin Poganski.

For a full story on Gersich, including quotes from the player, go here.