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Stars Offseason Primer Part II: the 2019 Draft Class

June 6, 2019 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Lincoln Stars News Release

Lincoln, NE-In less than one week, 200 hockey players will make their way to Lincoln in hopes of making the Stars roster for the 2019-2020 season. Stars Main Camp will begin Tuesday, June 11th and conclude Sunday, June 16th in a week that will allow Stars staff to pick their team for the upcoming season. Among the hopefuls are the Stars selections from this year's USHL Draft. All totaled, Lincoln made 26 picks between Phase and I and II of the draft back at the beginning of May.

The Phase I draft saw the Stars make 11 selections from a pool of 2003-born prospects. The group is made up of standouts from high school and youth hockey teams across the country.

In Phase II, the Stars traded out of the top overall selection, acquiring the 11th overall pick and forwards Christian Sarlo and Travis Treloar from the Chicago Steel. They then sent affiliate Garrett Pinoniemi, and the 11th and 12th picks to the Madison Capitols for the 4th overall selection. Following the trade, the Stars made 15 selections in the Phase II draft to complete their two 2019 draft classes.

"I'm pleased with our draft," said Chupp. "In Phase II, it's a little bit different than the Phase I in the sense that you're looking for guys that are coming in to compete for a spot right away for the most part. There are some guys I think we drafted that I think are going to compete for an affiliate list spot, but I was pleased with the group that we got. Ultimately we rely a ton on Billy Pugliese who was essentially responsible for this draft and to have eyes on as many guys as he possibly he can. He makes sure that when we're making picks, they're the right pick for us. To see every player is virtually an impossibility but the ability to get eyes on the guys that are right for us and make those decisions that are right for our organization is extremely important. That's all-encompassing: not only what they are as a player, but who they are as a person, how they'll help fuel the culture here in Lincoln and make the people around them better."

Those drafted will compete for roster spots with returning Stars veterans, USHL veterans acquired in mid-season trades, affiliates, and a list of highly-talented players that received invites from the Stars staff. Though not every camp participant will make the team, the Stars are also evaluating for their affiliate roster, a list of protected players that can play elsewhere in 2019-2020 while the Stars hold their USHL rights.

"We try as camp goes on to separate the group that's competing for a spot on the team and the group that's competing for an affiliate list spot," said Chupp. "Ultimately we want guys who are willing to compete. Whether that's an '03 or a '99, we want guys that are willing to compete. If that means an '03 who plays with a little bit of bite and being able to play and compete against older, stronger, faster players, that's what we want. We want to create environments where guys are pushed outside their comfort zone and forced to play with a level of intensity above what they're used to. I've had a lot of conversations with our guys that are returning, with the guys that we received in trades that we made throughout the year, but my intent is to make our camp very intense, very competitive and to set the tone for what it's going to be like when they get back in the fall. The development and the foundation of that culture-to me it starts in June in our camp. It can't be summer hockey or loose and lack contact and intensity. Those things have to be a key component because it allows us as a staff to start to make better decisions on guys that we're bringing back in the fall who will ultimately be competing for a spot on this team."

The Stars will host their main camp at John Breslow Ice Center in Lincoln from Tuesday, June 11th to Sunday, June 16th. All interested parties are welcome to attend and admission is free. Stay tuned for a full camp schedule that will be posted online at, and on Stars social media!


LHD, 5-11 190, Mars, PA, Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U16, 2003

The Stars used the first overall pick in Phase I to select Carter Schade, a defenseman from the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. The left-shot hails from Mars, Pennsylvania, but is excited by the prospect of a trip west to Lincoln.

"My initial reaction was that I was very excited, I couldn't believe it," said Schade. "This is something I've been striving to achieve and all my work over the past years leads up this."

The 16-year old notched 16 goals and 30 points in 70 games played between Midget and T1EHL U16 for Pittsburgh in 18-19.

"He's an honest player," said Cody Chupp. "His details are beyond his years. To us, that translates really well into our league. We feel that he's a player that with another great year of development, he'll be able to step in and play some big minutes for us because of his ability to defend, his details in his own zone, and his ability to make that first pass. He plays a very simple game, an honest game, but there's offensive upside there too in our opinion."

"I agree with the staff, and I think I can play a heavy, physical game when needed and I can also play that physical game and be a great defender without taking penalties and hurting the team," said Schade. "I've heard that the Stars are an amazing organization. They've had NHL players develop there along with very good collegiate hockey players. I'm going to try to use it as a springboard to develop my career. I look forward to developing under Coach Chupp in the coming seasons, if not next season."

The Pens Elite product is the first Pittsburgh-area product to be taken first in the USHL draft. His dedication to his team and his teammates was a key component that endeared Schade to the Stars.

"Off the ice everything we know about him as a kid has allowed this decision to be even easier for us," said Chupp. "I think he's a kid that does things right on a daily basis. He can drive culture because of the type of person that he is. To me, those two things combined made him an easy choice as a kid we can start to build our future around and we think he will be a driver of what we want to accomplish here."

"I bring a lot of energy and excitement," said Schade. "I like to get everyone going and just be bonded with my team and make that team feel like we're one, together. I'm sure it's already like that in Lincoln, but I'm just trying to bring more to the table, more energy, more excitement. I just want to thank the Stars staff for believing in me and I can't thank them enough for this opportunity."

LHD, 6-0 165, Maple Grove, MN, Maple Grove HS, 2003

With the first pick in the second round, the Stars circled back to their blue line for Maple Grove, Minnesota product, Henry Nelson. Nelson made his commitment to the University of Notre Dame at 15-years old. For Maple Grove High School last year, the lefty notched three goals and nine assists in 24 games.

LHF, 6-3 170, Sayreville, NJ, NJ Rockets U15's, 2003

With the first of two picks in the third, the Stars drafted the USPHL 15U's leading scorer in Gleb Veremyev. The big-bodied forward scored 43 points in 21 games before notching two points in three games in a brief promotion to the 16U level. A commit to Western Michigan, Veremyev hails from Sayreville, New Jersey.

RHF, 5-5 145, Flowermound, TX, Detroit Little Caesars, 2003

Werner kicked off back-to-back selections from the U15 National Champion Detroit Little Caesars program. The righty tallied 62 points in 73 games last season. Werner finished the season tied for the most games played in Little Caesars U15 history.

LHF, 5-9 157, Grosse Ile, MI, Detroit Little Caesars 15U, 2003

In 73 games, Jurecki scored over a point-per-contest, posting 78 on the year while wearing a letter for Detroit. He kept his strong play going in the postseason by recording 10 points in six games to help lead Little Caesars to their championship title.

LHF, 5-9 155, Kirkland, Quebec, Lac St-Louis Lions, 2003

Photo: is an adjective that Malatesta has embodied at every stop in his young career. The Quebec native battled injury in his 2018-19 season with the Lac St. Louis Lions, scoring 12 points in 22 games in the regular season. He recovered and erupted to score 11 goals and 12 assists, good for 23 points in 16 games in the postseason. The forward's play did not go unnoticed as he was named to Team Quebec U16 for the Canda Games last February, scoring five points in six games.

LHF, 5-7 126, Sioux Falls, SD, Sioux Falls Power, 2003

Up I-29 in South Dakota, Vockler proved his knack for goal-scoring last season, lighting the lamp a staggering 50 times in 85 games. The lefty carried his scoring prowess into the postseason, recording nine points in just five playoff games.

LHF, 6-0 165, Chesterfield, MO, St. Louis Blues U16, 2003

In the sixth round, the Stars added another forward with the selection of Missouri-native Riley Brueck. He spent 40 games split between the St. Louis Blues U15 and U16 last season, scoring 10 goals and 14 assists. In 13 games for Marquette High School, Brueck added seven goals and 20 points, giving him 37 in his high school career.

LHF, 5-9 163, Cochrane, Alberta, Airdrie Bisons, 2003

Mueller holds the distinction of being a Phase I draft pick that has already played junior hockey. With the Airdrie Bisons in the AJHL last year, the Alberta-born forward produced 34 points in 34 games. Mueller has also shown a knack for timely performances, scoring a combined 18 goals and 37 points in 23 games between three postseason tournaments in 2017-2018. The 16-year old is committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

RHF, Glen Head, NY, Long Island Gulls, 2003

Levyy is currently coming off a monstrous season for the Gulls. He scored 98 points in 30 games in the AYHL 15U last year. Levyy proved it was no fluke, scoring 12 points in 13 games playing prep-school hockey with Portledge School. There he played previously alongside current Stars forward Ross Mitton.

RHD, 6-0 176, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Thunder Bay Kings, 2003

The Stars wrapped up phase I by adding Canadian defender Alex Pineau. The right-shot scored four goals and 11 points in 24 games with the Thunder Bay Kings in 2018-19. His high-energy and savvy play saw him named to the NAPHL's Elite Division All-Star team, making the honor roll in the process.


LHD, 6-1 175, Cos Cob, CT, Brunswick Bruins, 2001

After the Stars traded up in the first round, Moore was drafted fourth overall by Lincoln as a defender who scored over a point-per-game player as a defenseman for Brunswick School last season. The blue-liner was top-five in scoring among all New England prep school defensemen. He is committed to the University of North Dakota.

LHF, 6-2 194, London, Ontario, Buffalo Jr. Sabres, 2000

Glover is a forward who hails from the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, an OJHL organization that has become a pipeline for the Stars of late. Glover spent last year on a line with former Stars affiliate Declan McDonnell, and recently acquired forward Spencer Smith. In 47 games, the power forward picked up 19 goals and 23 assists before going on a 12 point tear in 12 postseason games. A Canadian citizen born in Great Britain, Glover is committed to Western Michigan University. His strong resume earned him the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Jr. A Challenge in December and has him ranked by NHL Central Scouting for this year's NHL draft.

LHD, 5-8 155, Hooksett, NH, Jamestown Rebels, 2000

Price comes to the Stars with prior USHL experience. The puck-moving lefty had brief stints with the Sioux Falls Stampede and Tri-City Storm last year. Described as an elite skater and puck-mover, the defender notched four goals and 20 points in 50 games for the NAHL's Jamestown Rebels last season. He's committed to Arizona State University.

LHF, 5-10 175, Port St. Lucie, Wenatchee Wild, 2000

Fillion, a Quinnipiac University commitment, scored 18 goals and 16 assists last year in the BCHL. The left-handed forward is a dual American-Canadian citizen and a dual-sport athlete, having previous experience as a prep-school hockey and golf player.

LHF, 5-9 173, Dunnville, Ontario, Ottawa Jr. Senators, 2000

Cole is the third Canadian forward selected in Phase II, and is coming off a season in which he rose to a top scoring role with the Fred Page Cup Champion Ottawa Jr. Senators. The Ontario-native scored 29 goals and 44 assists to lead all Jr. Senators scorers in 2018-19. His 73 points saw him finish as the fourth overall scorer in the CCHL in 2018-19. The 19-year old is committed to UMass Lowell.

RHF, 6-1 195, Maplewood, MN, Maryland Black Bears, 2000

Luke Mountain is a forward with previous junior hockey experience that stood out on his resume. The right-shot scored 18 goals and 10 assists for the Maryland Black Bears in the NAHL last year. His efforts saw him named to the NAHL's All-East Division Rookie team.

LHD, 6-0 170, Oxford, MI, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, 2001

The left-handed defenseman comes from an Oakland Jr. Grizzlies program that has provided the Stars with affiliates Owen Michaels, Dominic James, and Ben Steeves, to name just a few. Norris had 11 goals and 41 assists for the Grizzlies in 2018-19. His play earned him a two-game stint with Team USA U18's this past season. Norris joins the competition on the left side of the Stars blue line that saw the departure of Stars 2018-19 team MVP Samuli Niinisaari.

RHF, 6-0 190, Andover, MN, Chippewa Steel, 2001

Kiecker-Olson joins Phase I pick Jacob Vockler as another former member of the Sioux Falls Power. The right-handed forward also played for a Colorado Thunderbirds program that produced former Stars Josiah Slavin and Mason Klee. The defenseman had 15 goals and 20 assists for the NAHL's Chippewa Steel last season. He was named to the NAHL's Top Prospect Tournament in 2018-19.

LHD, 6-3 192, Chelyabinsk, Russia, Shattuck St. Mary's, 2001

Gonchar posted five goals, 20 assists and 25 points for Shattuck's St. Mary's last season. The well-traveled defenseman has played in Russia, Canada, and the US in his youth hockey career. The Russian is the nephew of NHL star, Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Sergei Gonchar.

G, 6-4 187, Jyvaskyla, Finland, KalPa U20, 2000

Ruotsalainen played in Jr. A SM-liiga, the same league that produced NHL goalies Pekka Rinne and Tuukka Rask. Last season, the towering 18-year old manned the net in 21 games for Kuopio Kalpa Jr, the same team that produced Toronto Maple Leafs forward Kasperi Kapanen.

LHF, 6-4 198, Kouvola, FIN, KooKoo, 2000

In keeping with the theme of familiar backgrounds, the Stars selected Ilari Vahauski. The Finnish forward hails from the same team as the aforementioned defenseman and team MVP, Samuli Niinisaari. In 23 games last season, Vahauski notched seven goals, nine assists, and 16 points in 23 games between JR. A and JR. B levels. Like Ruotsalainen, he comes from the same league that produced Finnish superstars Patrik Laine, Aleksander Barkov, Mikko Rantanen, Sebastian Aho, and soon to be top 5 NHL draft pick Kaapo Kakko.

LHF, 5-9 137, Rosemere, QC, Flin Flon Bombers, 2000

Another pick with junior hockey experience, Nardone scored 19 goals and 23 assists in 65 games for the Flin Flon Bombers last year. Nardone was heavily scouted by colleges throughout the 18-19 season before committing to Nebraska-Omaha.

LHF, 6-2 175, White Lake, MI, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, 2002

Another Grizzlies forward, Grant accumulated 28 goals and 28 assists in 70 games played last season. The big 16-year old enjoyed success playing alongside Lincoln Stars affiliates Owen Michaels, Ben Steeves, and Dominic James. Once called "the best teammate I've ever coached" by Grizzlies coach Dan Riedel, the forward is committed to Bowling Green University after his junior career ends.

G, 6-6 194, Novosibirsk, Russia, NS Snaipery, 1999

The towering Russian goalie was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the 7th round of the 2018 NHL Draft. Shmakov played his prior junior hockey in Russia. He comes from Sibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk, the same team that produced NHL All-Star Vladimir Tarasenko. In 23 games last season, he recorded a 2.57 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He was named the MHL's Goalie of the Month last November.

RHF, 6-6, 200, Williamsburg, MI, Fox Motors HC, 2002

To complete their draft, the Stars selected Kyle VanCompernolle, a 6-6 forward from Michigan. He led Fox Motors Hockey Club with 24 goals and 12 assists in 28 games in 2018-19. The high-end talent participated in USA Selects 15 tournament in 2017-18.

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