The 2018 USHL draft was conducted in two parts over two days. The Phase I draft began on Monday and was open to players with a 2002 birth year. The Storm selected ten players during the Phase I draft on Monday night, including seven forwards and three defenseman. Tri-City signed defenseman Ruben Rafkin and forward Colby Ambrosio to tender agreements earlier this season and had to forfeit its first and second round Phase I draft picks because of the signings. There were a total of eleven tender signings across the USHL this season, which tied the record for the most during a single season since the process began in 2012.
Despite not having a Phase I 1st Round draft pick due to the Ruben Rafkin tender signing, the Storm elected to execute a draft day trade for the 3rd pick overall pick in the 1st Round of the Phase I draft. Tri-City acquired goaltender Isaiah Saville and the 3rd overall pick in the 1st Round of the Phase I draft from Madison in exchange for the Storm’s 10th overall pick in the Phase II draft the following day, and the Storm’s 5th Round draft pick in the Phase I draft later that night. Additional draft day trades allowed Tri-City to acquire more draft picks to be used in the Phase I and Phase II draft. Tri-City completed a trade with the Green Bay Gamblers to acquire a 5th Round draft pick in the Phase I draft and a 6th Round draft pick in the Phase II draft. In exchange, Green Bay acquired the Storm’s 6th Round Phase I draft pick and defenseman Oskari Oksanen. Oksanen was drafted by Tri-City in the 16th Round of the 2017 USHL Phase II draft and was listed as an affiliate player on the Storm’s roster this season while he competed at the Jr. B level in his native Finland. Another draft day trade gave Tri-City additional picks for the following day’s Phase II draft. Tri-City acquired a 1st Round Phase II pick, a 7th Round Phase II pick, and forward Joe Berg from the Omaha Lancers in exchange for defenseman Jayden Struble, forward Jack Jensen, and the Storm’s 5th Round Phase II pick. Joe Berg skated in 34 games with the Lancers this season. He netted two goals and registered 1 assist with Omaha during the 2017-2018 season. Jack Jensen appeared in 11 games for Tri-City this season after playing for both the Storm and Eden Prairie high school in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Jensen did not score a goal but recorded 1 assist in his 11 games with Tri-City this season. Jayden Struble spent the season on the Storm’s affiliate list.
With the newly acquired picks, the Storm’s draft order for Monday night’s Phase I draft was set. Tri-City began its 2018 USHL draft by selecting forward Carter Mazur from Jackson, Michigan 3rd overall in the 1st Round of the Phase I draft. Mazur played 67 with the Little Caesars U15 program in Detroit, MI this season and scored 43 goals. He also recorded 35 assists and was a +93 for his plus/minus rating and was the team’s leading scorer. Mazur is committed to play college hockey at Michigan State. He is listed as 5’9’’, 142 lbs.
The Storm’s next selection landed defenseman Kyle Aucoin from Hinsdale, Illinois with the 35th overall pick in the 3rd round. The draft pick was acquired in a trade with the Madison Capitals. Aucoin spent this season with the Chicago Mission U16 program in Chicago, Illinois. He skated in twenty games with the U16 team, scoring 2 goals and recording 4 assists. He is listed as 5’10’’, 142 lbs.
Three selections later, the Storm drafted Matthew Knies of Phoenix, Arizona with the 38th overall pick in the 3rd round. Knies became the second forward taken by the Storm in Phase I draft with the selection. Knies spent his 2017-2018 season with the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U15 & U16 programs. He scored 15 goals in 16 games with the U15 team and 4 goals in 12 games with U16 program. Knies also added 11 assists with the U15’s and 5 assists to the U16 offense during the season. He is listed as 5’9’’, 151 lbs.
Tri-City went back to the Detroit Little Caesars program with its 4th Round draft selection. The Storm drafted forward Mark Estapa from St. Clair, Michigan with the 54th overall pick in the 4th Round of the draft. Estapa was in the top five on his team with 29 goals scored in 64 games played. He also provided 37 assists to the Little Caesars U15 offense during the season. Estapa is committed to play college hockey at Western Michigan. He is listed as 5’10’’, 161 lbs.
The Storm made another selection from the Chicago Mission U16 program with its 73rd overall selection in the 5th round. The Storm drafted defenseman Matthew Basgall of Lake Forest, Illinois with the draft pick acquired earlier from Green Bay. Basgall skated in 17 games for the U16 team this season and netted 2 goals. He also provided 3 assists to the offense and became the 2nd defenseman selected by the Storm in the first 5 round of the Phase I Draft. He is listed as 5’9’’, 175 lbs.
Tri-City selected three forwards and two defenseman in its first five selections in the Phase I draft. The Storm did not have a 6th round selection and began the second half of its Phase I draft with the 102nd overall pick in the 7th round.
Tri-City selected forward Brendan Poshak of Green Bay, Wisconsin from Notre Dame Academy. Poshak played in 28 games this season for the Notre Dame Academy Tritons of Green Bay, Wisconsin and scored 13 goals. He also provided 19 assists to the Tritons offense. Poshak also spent time with the Team Wisconsin 15U team this season. He is listed as 5’5’’, 133 lbs.
The Storm made its 8th Round selection by drafting forward Victor Czerneckianair of Southington, Connecticut 118th overall. Czerneckianair spent the 2017-2018 season with the Selects Academy at the South Kent School in South Kent Connecticut. He was top three on his team in scoring with 34 goals scored in 53 games played this season. Czerneckianair recently committed to play college hockey at Quinnipiac. He is listed as 5’10’’, 167 lbs.
Tri-City selected another forward with the 134th overall pick in the 9th Round of the Phase I draft. The Storm drafted Christian Stevens from Brooklin, Ontario and the Whitby Wildcats. Stevens finished 2nd on his team in points with 34 during the 2017-2018 regular season. He scored 14 goals and registered 20 assists for the Wildcats offense this season. Stevens is committed to play college hockey at UMass. He is listed as 5’11’’, 180 lbs.
The Storm drafted its third and final defenseman of the Phase I draft by selecting Andrew Boemer of South St. Paul, Minnesota 146th overall in the 10th Round. Boemer skated in 22 games this season for St. Thomas Academy, scoring 2 goals and registering 5 assists. Boemer also skated in 16 games with the Minnesota Moose 16U team and recorded 5 assists. His height and weight is unlisted.
Tri-City’s final selection of the Phase I draft was the 158th pick of the 10th Round. The Storm drafted forward Joshua Rule of Lansing, Michigan with the pick. Rule skated in 28 games for the Fox Motors Hockey Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan during the 2017-2018 season. He scored 10 goals and picked up 13 assists for the team. He is listed as 5’9’’, 154 lbs.
The Storm selected four forwards and one defenseman with its final five draft selections in the Phase I draft.
“We feel that we got good players from good programs, who are our type of guys that will play for us in the future. We felt like it was a bonus to get some of the guys who we did in the later rounds who we weren’t expecting to still be available at that point. I’m sure that there will be guys in that group that will play games with us over the course of the season, but we have to give them their best chance to develop and we aren’t going to rush any of them into our lineup. We believe in doing what’s best for their development and we know that we can count on them to step in there when they’re ready”- GM/Head Coach Anthony Noreen
Following the competition of Monday’s Phase I draft, the Phase II draft began Tuesday morning and allowed teams to draft 1998, 1999, 2001, 2001, & 2002 birth year players with the goal of building a 45 player roster. The Phase II draft lasted approximately eight hours and the Storm selected twenty two players in total.
The Storm made several trades that impacted Tuesday’s Phase II draft. Tri-City moved up the draft board in the 1st Round of the Phase II draft to make two of the first three selections. The Storm already possessed the 2nd overall pick in the 1st Round from a trade with Des Moines earlier in the season, but Tri-City elected to make a trade with Madison to go from 6th overall to 3rd overall with their additional 1st Round draft selection. Tri-City acquired Madison’s 1st Round pick, and its 3rd Round pick in the previous night’s Phase I draft in exchange for defenseman Jace Foskey. Foskey was drafted 12th overall in the 1st Round of the 2016 Phase I draft by the Storm and skated in 84 games over two seasons for Tri-City. The Storm also executed a trade with the Waterloo Blackhawks to exchange picks in the 2018 & 2019 USHL drafts. Tri-City acquired Waterloo’s Phase II 2nd Round pick, a 5th Round Phase II draft pick in 2019, and a 2019 Phase I 6th Round draft pick. In exchange for these picks, Waterloo received the Storm’s Phase II 3rd Round draft pick, a 2019 Phase II 4th Round draft pick, and a 2019 Phase I 5th Round pick.
Tri-City selected forward Brendan Budy of Langley, British Columbia with the 2nd overall pick in the 1st Round of the Phase II draft. Budy skated for the Langley Rivermen of the BCHL during the 2017-2018 season and netted 22 goals in 49 games played. He also provided the Rivermen offense with 34 assists for a total of 56 points. Budy led the Langley in points and was the Captain of the team. Budy has committed to play college hockey for Denver. He is listed as 5’10’’, 178 lbs.
The Storm made the next selection in the draft with the newly acquired pick from Madison and selected defenseman Zachary Jones from Glen Allen, Virginia. Jones was the 1st defenseman taken in the draft by any team and spent the 2017-2018 season with 18U Selects Academy at South Kent School in South Kent, Connecticut. Jones was 2nd on his team in points scored by a defenseman with 45 on the year. He skated in all 54 games, scoring 8 goals and registering 37 assists. He is listed as 5’9’’, 161 lbs.
The Storm’s next selection in the Phase II draft was 32nd overall in the 2nd Round. Tri-City drafted forward Asa Kinnear from Anchorage, Alaska and the Alaska Oilers 16U team. Kinnear played in 24 games for the Oilers this season and scored 7 goals. He also provided the team with 12 assists and appeared in 2 games with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL. He is listed as 5’9’’, 160 lbs.
Tri-City selected forward Tyler Coffey of Hamilton, New Jersey with the 54th overall pick in the 4th Round of the Phase II draft. Coffey skated with the Jersey Hitmen of the NCDC during the 2017-2018 season and scored 27 goals. His 27 goals were tied for team best and he also provided 19 assists to the Hitmen offense. Coffey is committed to play college hockey at Colorado College. He is listed as 5’9’’, 169 lbs.
The Storm selected another forward with the 62nd overall pick of the 5th Round by drafting Joseph Molenaar of Chanhassen, Minnesota. Molenaar was the Captain of the Minnetonka High Skippers this season and led the team with 27 goals in 25 games played. He finished the year with 8 assists for a total of 35 points in the 2017-2018 season. Molenaar also appeared in 8 games with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. He is listed as 6’0’’, 174 lbs.
Tri-City used another pick in the 5th Round to select forward Brad Morrissey 68th overall. Morrissey is from Tignish, Prince Edward Island and spent this season with the Notre Dame Hounds of the SMAAAHL. Morrissey netted 21 goals in 32 games for the Hounds and also registered 30 assists. The Hounds won the Telus Cup National Championship in Sudbury, Ontario in April, and Morrissey received the Most Sportsmanlike Award. Morrissey has committed to play college hockey at Maine. He is listed as 5’8’’, 160 lbs.
The Storm used the 92nd overall pick in the 6th Round to draft defenseman Luke LaMaster from Duluth, Minnesota. LaMaster was the second defenseman chosen by the Storm in the Phase II draft and the first since the 3rd overall pick of Zachary Jones in the 1st Round. LaMaster was the Captain of the Duluth East High School Greyhounds and skated 25 games with the team this season. He scored 4 goals and provided the Greyhound offense with 31 assists. He was top five on his team in scoring and led all defenseman with 35 points. LaMaster also skated in 7 games with the Janesville Jets of the NAHL this season. LaMaster is committed to play college hockey at Wisconsin. He is listed as 6’0’’, 197 lbs.
Tri-City selected defenseman Dalton Norris of Oxford, Michigan with the 110th overall pick in the 7th Round. Norris comes from the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 16U program in Oakland, Michigan where he netted 11 goals in 68 games this season. He added 32 assists to the Grizzlies offense and was the third defenseman selected by the Storm in the Phase II draft. He is listed as 5’9’’, 166 lbs.
The Storm did not have picks in the 7th or 8th rounds and selected forward Carter Primo Self of Grand Rapids, Michigan with the 154th overall pick in the 10th Round. Self skated with the Fox Motors U16 program both last season and this season, he and recorded 16 goals during the 2017-2018 campaign. Self also registered 19 points during the season for a point total of 35 for the year. Self is committed to play college hockey at Miami. He is listed as 5’8’’, 151 lbs.
Tri-City made its 10th selection of the Phase II draft by drafting forward Matthew Holmes of Rye, New York with the 170th overall pick in the 11th Round. Holmes spent the 2017-2018 season with both the Mid-Fairfield Rangers U18 program and Salisbury School of Salisbury, Connecticut. He scored 13 goals in 28 games with the Crimson Knights of Salisbury and netted 8 goals in 27 games with the Mid-Fairfield Rangers. Holmes compiled 34 points for Salisbury, finishing 2nd on the team in points and 3rd in goals for the 2017-2018 season. Holmes is committed to play college hockey at Merrimack. He is listed as 5’11’’, 160 lbs.
The Storm drafted seven forwards and three defenseman in its first ten draft selections in the Phase II draft. Following the 11th round selection of Matthew Holmes, Tri-City made twelve additional selections in the remaining rounds of the draft.
With the 186th overall pick in the 12th Round, Tri-City selected forward Sebastian Frantz of Hedemora, Sweden. Frantz skated for both the junior and professional Sodertalje teams in Sodertalje, Sweden during the 2017-2018 season. He appeared in 46 games across the multiple Sodertalje teams and scored 20 goals. He also recorded 24 assists, including an assist in his 8 games with Sodertalje SK, the professional team in Sodertalje. He is listed as 5’11’’, 165 lbs.
The Storm made another selection a few picks later with the 189th overall pick in the 12th Round of the draft. Tri-City drafted another international prospect in defenseman Dmitri Deryabin from Minsk, Belarus. Last season, Deryabin represented his native Belarus on an international stage, competing in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, NY. Deryabin skated in all 6 games for Belarus and scored his lone goal of the tournament in a 5-2 Belarus loss to Russia on December 29th. Deryabin also appeared in 2 games with the Dinamo Minsk of the KHL. In total, Deryabin skated in 36 games for Team Belarus U20 last season. He scored 2 goals and registered 15 assists and was a plus 11 in the plus/minus rating. He is listed as 6’0’’, 181 lbs.
The 202nd pick in the 13th Round of the draft was used by the Storm to select forward Ian Murphy of Scituate, Massachusetts. Murphy spent his 2017-2018 season with Dexter Southfield in Brookline, Massachusetts and the Cape Cod Whalers U18 program in Scituate, Masshachusets. Murphy appeared in 8 games with the Whalers and scored 2 goals and recorded 2 assists. With Dexter Southfield, Murphy skated in 26 games and scored 15 goals. He also provided the offense with 26 assists over the course of the 26 game season. He is listed as 6’0’’, 180 lbs.
Tri-City drafted forward Benji Eckerle from Northville, Michigan with its draft pick in the 14th Round. Eckerle was selected 218th overall by the Storm and became the 10th forward taken by Tri-City in the Phase II draft. He spent last season with the Janesville Jets of the NAHL, appearing in 50 regular season and 3 playoff games. Eckerle finished top ten on his team in scoring with 7 goals and 15 assists on the year. Prior to joining Janesville, Eckerle played for the Detroit Little Caesars program in Detroit, Michigan. He is listed as 5’10’’, 160 lbs.
The Storm used the 234th overall pick in the 15th Round to select goaltender Justin Evenson from Minnetonka, Minnesota. Evenson was the only goaltender drafted by Tri-City in the Phase I and Phase II drafts. He spent his 2017-2018 season in Canada with the Brockville Braves of the CCHL. He was named to the CCHL Second All-Star Team and appeared in 53 games. Evenson compiled a record of 27-9 in the regular season and also went 7-4 in the CCHL playoffs. During his 42 regular season appearances, Evenson posted a GAA of 2.34 and a save percentage of .930. He is listed as 6’1’’, 146 lbs.
Tri-City selected forward Chase Sakic of Englewood, Colorado with the 250th overall pick in the 16th Round. Sakic spent time with multiple teams for the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy in Kelowna, British Columbia during the 2017-2018 season. He appeared in 37 games, scoring 21 goals and providing the offense with 11 assists. Sakic spent time with the Colorado Thunderbirds prior to joining the Pursuit of Excellence Hockey Academy. He is listed as 5’6’’, 148 lbs.
The Storm began a trend of selecting three consecutive defenseman by drafting Artyom Borshyov from Vitebsk, Belarus with the 266th overall pick in the 17th Round. Borshyov spent his 2017-2018 season with the Northern Cyclones of the NCDC in Hudson, New Hampshire. He skated in 50 regular season and 3 playoff games during the season and recorded 6 goals and provided the Cylcones offense with 24 assists. Borshyov also represented his native Belarus in the 2018 IIHF U18 World Junior Championship in Magnitogorsk, Russia. He was the Captain of the team, appearing in 5 games and scoring his lone goal of the tournament in Belarus’ 4-3 loss to Sweden on April 21st. He is listed as 6’3’’, 183 lbs.
Tri-City used the 282nd overall pick in the 18th Round to select defenseman Ole Julian Holm from Oslo, Norway. Holm skated for the Mangerlund Star in Oslo, Norway during the 2017-2018 season. He appeared in 50 games for the U16, U18, and U20 Star teams and netted a total of 6 goals. Holm also tallied 34 assists with the three teams. He was the only 2002 birth year player selected by Tri-City in the Phase II draft. He is listed as 6’1’’, 176 lbs.
The Storm took another defenseman with the 298th overall pick in the 19th Round by selecting Layton Ahac from North Vancouver, British Columbia. Ahac spent his 2017-2018 season with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL. He skated in 57 regular season, and 24 playoff games in his first season with the Spruce Kings. He led all Prince George defensemen with 6 goals and 28 points on the season. Ahac has committed to play college hockey at Ohio State. He is listed as 6’2’’, 182 lbs.
Tri-City’s 314th overall selection in the 20th Round was forward Jake Veri from Northville, Michigan. Veri comes to the Storm from the Detroit Belle Tire program in Chelsea, Michigan. In 20 games played this season, Veri led the team with 15 assists, and finished with 6 goals on the year. Prior to joining the Belle Tire U16 team, he spent the 2016-2017 season with the Compuware U15 program in Detroit, Michigan. He is listed as 5’7’’, 145 lbs.
The Storm used the 330th overall pick in the 21st Round to select forward Trevor Bishop from Rochester, Michigan. He spent his 2017-2018 season in Canada, appearing in 39 games with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL. Bishop registered 2 assists in his first season with the team. Prior to joining the Grizzlies, Bishop spent the last several years in the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies program. Bishop was the final forward taken by the Storm in the Phase II draft. He is listed as 5’10’’, 165 lbs.
Tri-City made its final selection of the 2018 USHL draft by drafting defenseman Cole Gibbs of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan with the 346th overall pick in the 22nd Round of the Phase II draft. Gibbs has spent the past two seasons with St. Mary’s Prep in Orchard Lake, Michigan. He netted 7 goals with the team in his 26 games played this season. Gibbs also provided the Eagles offense with 12 assists. He was tied for the team lead for most goals and most points by a defenseman. He is listed as 5’10’’, 155 lbs.
“Our thought in trading up during the Phase II draft was to give ourselves the opportunity to draft the #1 ranked forward and the #1 ranked defenseman on our draft board, and we were able to do that. A lot of work goes into these drafts, the organization spends all year getting ready for these two days. My job is to coach the team and have them ready to play, but I have to give credit to our scouting staff, President of Hockey Operations Steve Lowe, Assistant Coach Ethan Goldberg, and Assistant Coach Matt Stewart for the tremendous amount of work that they put in all season long to prepare for this draft. We had a clear mission going into the draft, we wanted to get our type of guys, guys who have speed, character, skill and who will compete. Every guy we drafted we believe fits that mold. These are the type of players who fit into our system and who we believe we can win with.” – GM/Head Coach Anthony Noreen
With the culmination of the 2018 USHL Draft, the next major event for the Storm comes next month in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tri-City will hold its 2018 Main Camp June 11th-16th at the Las Vegas Ice Center. The 2018-2019 preseason and regular season schedule will be released in July.
The complete list of picks and the draft results of this year’s Phase I and Phase II draft can be found at https://www.ushl.com/draft.