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 New Jersey Titans

2024 NAHL Draft Recap

June 12, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
New Jersey Titans News Release

With 6 picks in the 2024 NAHL Draft, the New Jersey Titans looked to restock a roster that lost seven players aging out of junior hockey after the Titans were swept in the East Division Semifinals last season.

With their first round pick, the Titans selected defenseman Luke Santilli from the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the BCHL. The Reading, Massachusetts native recorded 20 points in 101 games over the past two seasons on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and was named as an alternate captain for the Capitals this year. "We are thrilled to add Luke to our blueline," mentioned Director of Scouting Gary Biggs. "He is someone we had our eyes on for some time and we are very happy we were able to draft him. He immediately brings junior hockey experience, size, toughness and leadership to our franchise. He will be a big addition to the back end."

With their second round selection, the Titans again looked to reinforce their blue line when they selected defenseman Blake Jones from Avon Old Farms. The speedy Winnipegger is an '05 birth year committed to American International College after recording 20 points in 27 games in his second season playing Prep School hockey. Head Coach and General Manager Craig Doremus remarked, "Blake is a very gifted puck moving defenseman. His ability to transition pucks and help create chances will be a welcome addition to a very deep, skilled group of defensemen. We have had a lot of success with players like him in the past, and we look forward to him complementing our group."

Without a selection in the 3rd or 4th rounds, New Jersey needed to bide their time until their next pick at 164th overall. When their turn finally came around again, the Titans chose Alex Papaspyropoulos from the Estevan Bruins of the SJHL. The Toronto, Ontario native began the season in Amarillo before heading over the border to Estevan, where he helped propel the Bruins into a playoff position with 27 points in 22 games, adding an additional 6 points in 5 playoff games. Assistant Coach Kyle Shapiro said "Alex is a forward who brings a ton of junior hockey experience, and as a 2004 birth year, we're excited to see how Alex can help replace some scoring lost from the players aging out of our program. He has great vision and is lethal with the puck on his stick. As coaches, we're excited to have Alex in the fold and to help him achieve his goals of playing Division I hockey and beyond."

Later, in the 6th round, the Titans selected Owen Leahy from Lawrence Academy, located in Groton, Massachusetts. Leahy, hailing from Providence, Rhode Island, was previously selected in the 1st round, 13th overall by the Victoriaville Tigres in the 2021 QMJHL American Draft. Spurning the major junior route to maintain his college eligibility, Leahy has scored 102 points in 76 Prep School games in his past 3 seasons. "Owen was one of the most dynamic forwards we watched all of last season," said Biggs. "He's a gifted skater who plays with a tremendous amount of pace. He is able to make lethal plays with pace and can create offense for himself and his line mates. We can't wait to get to work with Owen in New Jersey."

In the 7th round, New Jersey went back to the Wolverine State when they took forward Gianni DiVita from the Trenton Golden Hawks of the OJHL. DiVita, already committed to Lake Superior State, put up 26 points in 51 games, his first at the junior hockey level. DiVita checks in at 6? 4?, 195lbs, adding size and tenacity to the forward corps. "Gianni is a big strong forward who plays a north to south, simple game," said Associate Head Coach Bobby DiRico. "He compliments our group so well in so many different ways. We had looked at him last year prior to the draft but we wanted him to get some junior experience and we are happy to add him via the draft this year."

With their last selection, the Titans took Luca Restauri from the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks in the NA3HL. Restauri was named to the NA3HL All-Rookie Team after putting up 27 points in 45 games, his first in the United States. The Hamiltonian also appeared in 5 games at the NAHL level with Danbury. "Luca comes to us with years of experience in junior hockey. Luca showed well during his time in the NAHL last season and we are excited to add him to the fold. We look forward to seeing Luca at camp in July," said Doremus.

Next up for the Titans will be their Main Camp in July, where the final roster to begin the 2024-25 season will be selected. The camp concludes with the annual Red vs White All Star Game, to be held on July 26th.

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