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The Daily Skate: What to know about UND recruits, area players picked in USHL Draft

UND commit Cooper Moore plays in a game for Brunswick School in Connecticut earlier this season. Photo by Hickling Images/USHL

UND defenseman commit Cooper Moore will play one year of junior hockey before coming to campus in the fall of 2020.

It could be a valuable year. The left-handed shot defenseman should get plenty of good experience playing big minutes and a key role for the Lincoln Stars, according to the team’s general manager.

Lincoln drafted Moore, a Connecticut native, in the first round with the No. 4 overall pick in the United States Hockey League’s Phase II Draft on Tuesday.

“For us, he’s a top-two ‘D’ pairing,” Stars general manager Jon Hull said. “We see him as a top-four ‘D’ for us. He’s going to have to play special teams minutes. We’re going to rely not only on his development, but for him to play significant minutes and make our team better.”

Moore, a 6-foot-1, 181-pound defenseman, played at Brunswick School in Connecticut last season, where jumped onto the radar of NHL scouts. Moore is listed as the No. 88 North American-based NHL-draft eligible skater and will likely be taken in the middle rounds next month in Vancouver.

After a year in Lincoln, he’s expected to come to Grand Forks.

“Our whole group in Lincoln was attracted to the entire package -- his length, frame, skating,” Hull said. “He’s a guy who can get himself out of trouble, he can be proactive with the puck, he can make quick decisions, he makes simple, smart, effective plays with the puck and with his skating.

“He really peaked in the last year and he has tremendous upside in the future.”

Moore was just one of several notable picks in Tuesday’s USHL Phase II Draft, formally known as the Entry Draft.

Here’s a rundown of other notable picks and what they mean:

Cameron Rowe, Round 1, No. 8 overall, Chicago: The UND goaltender commit, who is expected to get picked in next month’s NHL Draft in Vancouver, is looking for a spot to play this season. Rowe has been keeping his options open between the USHL and the British Columbia Hockey League, but the Buccaneers hope it will be in Des Moines. The Bucs are expected to name Peter Mannino their next head coach, which could be intriguing for Rowe. Mannino is a former goaltender himself. He was in net for Denver in the 2005 NCAA national championship game, in which the Pioneers beat UND. Rowe played for the U.S. Under-18 Team in 2018-19.

Aaron Myers, Round 3, No. 37, Fargo: Myers, a former Thief River Falls forward who had a standout year in the North American Hockey League, appears headed to Fargo. There are longstanding connections there. Myers’ father, Rick, played at UND with Force head coach and general manager Cary Eades. Rick also was teammates with Pierre Lamoureux, the father of Force associate head coach Pierre-Paul Lamoureux. Myers recently committed to Bemidji State and was named to the NAHL’s all-rookie team.

Kaleb Johnson, Round 5, No. 60, Cedar Rapids: The former Grand Forks Central standout and UND commit played in the North American Hockey League this season, his senior year of high school. A fifth-round draft pick indicates that Cedar Rapids believes that Johnson could make the team in the fall. Johnson is working on his development, while waiting to come to UND. Rowe is expected to come to campus before Johnson.

Cade Stibbe, Round 7, No. 109, Fargo: The Force used their seventh-round pick to grab a hometown player. Stibbe played his junior year for Fargo Davies. The small, speedy Arizona State commit tallied 25 goals and 56 points in 27 games for the Eagles.

Grant Slukynsky, Round 15, No. 221, Fargo: Eades, Fargo’s general manager, went to his old stomping grounds for his 15th-round pick. Fargo drafted Slukynsky from Warroad High School, where Eades served as head coach for 11 years. Slukynsky had 29 goals and 56 points in 27 games for the Warriors. The fact that he was drafted so late indicates that he might go back to Warroad and play his senior season.

Massimo Rizzo, Round 15, No. 225, Chicago: Rizzo, a UND commit, will play one more year of juniors before coming to campus. But where will he play? Rizzo served as captain for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL last season. The fact that Chicago didn’t draft him until the 15th round suggests the Steel may not be extremely confident that Rizzo will leave Penticton. But the Steel did nab one of Penticton’s players last summer -- UND defenseman commit Luke Reid.

Judd Caulfield, Round 16, No. 236, Fargo: The former Grand Forks Central player and UND commit didn’t go until the 16th round, which also suggests that the Force don’t have a lot of confidence that they’re going to get him. If they did, he would have gone much higher. Caulfield could be coming to UND this fall, but the Fighting Hawks haven’t named their rookie class yet. If he doesn’t come campus, Fargo will have his USHL rights.

UND commits, Roseau players picked

On Monday night, the USHL held its Phase I draft, which involved solely players born in the year 2003.

Virtually none of the players selected in that draft will play in the USHL this season, but they will remain on their team’s protected lists for the future. There were a few notables taken.

Two UND commits were selected in the Phase I Draft -- forward Jackson Blake of Eden Prairie was taken in the second round (No. 22 overall) by the Chicago Steel, while forward Dylan James of Calgary was taken in the fifth round (No. 67 overall) by Sioux City.

Blake figures to play for Eden Prairie High School next season, while James could play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Two uncommitted players from Roseau were also taken. Defenseman Thor Byfuglien was taken in the fifth round by Chicago, while forward Paul Huglen was taken in the eighth round by Tri-City. Byfuglien and Huglen are expected to play for the Rams next season.

Quiet on the college front

If an active college player is taken in the opening rounds of the Phase II Draft, it’s usually a sign that the player is headed back to junior hockey and is going to transfer. It happened at UND with Matej Tomek and with Michael Forney. Last year, it was Wisconsin’s J.D. Greenway, who went in the first round and is transferring to Maine.

Sometimes, these players keep their intentions to go back to juniors quiet, with the exception of one or two USHL teams, so they can be drafted by their team of choice.

This year, however, it was pretty quiet on the college front. Only three active college players were taken, and only one in the first nine rounds.

Boston University freshman forward Mark Cheremeta went in the third round to Dubuque. Cheremeta had no goals and three points for the Terriers.

Perhaps the most intriguing pick was former U.S. National Team Development Program goalie Dylan St. Cyr, who went in the 10th round to Muskegon. St. Cyr has had limited playing time the last two seasons at Notre Dame behind star Cale Morris, who has announced he will return for his senior year in the fall. Using a 10th-round pick on a talent like St. Cyr indicates that Muskegon isn’t overly optimistic that St. Cyr is leaving Notre Dame, but worth a shot.

The third college player selected was Quinnipiac freshman forward Matthew Cassidy in the 17th round. Cassidy played 15 games and had no points for Quinnipiac.

Jost enters Game 7 hot

Former UND forward Tyson Jost, who is in his second full season with the Colorado Avalanche, enters tonight’s Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks on a scoring streak.

Jost scored goals in both Game 5 and Game 6, his first two career Stanley Cup Playoff goals.

Along with his scoring streak, Jost has earned significantly more playing time with Colorado. In Game 6, he played 15:44, easily his highest of the playoffs.

Game 7 is scheduled for 8 p.m. Central tonight in San Jose. The winner will join the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes in the conference finals.

Sharks goalie Aaron Dell, who played three seasons at UND, hasn’t seen any action in this series. He came in relief of starter Martin Jones twice in San Jose’s opening-round series against Vegas.

The Ralph's new control room

Ralph Engelstad Arena posted photos on Twitter of its control room from both the opening of the arena in 2001 and from the new one that was just installed this month.

The difference in technology is astounding.

Ralph Engelstad Arena is undergoing several major renovation projects this offseason. It will install the largest center-hung scoreboard in college hockey (by total screen area), replace the ribbon that goes around the arena between the upper and lower decks, install LED lighting and it has already updated the control room.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 14th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016 and 2018, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He also was the NCHC's inaugural Media Excellence Award winner in 2018. Schlossman has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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