Scott Morrow has big goals for next season.

He wants to maximize his development before his NHL Draft year. He wants to be a first-round pick. And he wants to step onto campus at UND in the fall of 2021 and be an instant-impact player.

Morrow, the highly touted defenseman who played at Shattuck-St. Mary's last season, will attempt to do all of that under the direction of a coaching staff that is very familiar with the UND hockey program -- the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League.

The Force traded away their first-round pick in the United States Hockey League Phase II Draft on Tuesday to get Morrow, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound, right-handed shooting defenseman from Darien, Conn.

Morrow said if the season starts on time, he'll be in Fargo.

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"I've heard a lot of great things about the organization," he said. "Everyone has good things to say. I know the UND coaches like that as an option for me. They're really supportive of me going there."

Fargo's general manager is Cary Eades, who won national championships as both a player and an assistant coach at UND. The Force's second-year head coach is Pierre-Paul Lamoureux, a defenseman who got his start in coaching as a UND student assistant under Dave Hakstol.

The associate coach is Eli Rosendahl, who worked as a goalie coach for the UND women's program. And Fargo's other assistant is Grafton's Chad Demers, who played college hockey at Air Force.

Morrow is expected to be another elite defenseman in UND's pipeline, which currently features Jake Sanderson (an expected first-round pick this year), Fargo's Tyler Kleven (who could become the highest-ever NHL pick to play North Dakota high school hockey), Cooper Moore (a Detroit Red Wings fifth-round pick), Mitchell Miller (an expected top-three round pick this year), undrafted Luke Bast and 2022 NHL draft-eligible Trey Ausmus of East Grand Forks.

Morrow is coming off of a big year at Shattuck. He scored 22 goals and had 67 points in 46 games as a defenseman. Only two players on his team had more points than him -- Russian forward Artem Shlaine (78) and Grand Forks native and forward Jackson Kunz (69), a UND commit.

"I want to continue developing my offensive ability and make that more of a strength -- my point mobility, getting shots through, joining the rush," Morrow said. "But I also want to become a well-rounded, two-way defenseman who can play in all situations -- penalty kill, power play. That's the type of player I want to be.

"Right now, I'm working on improving my strength and speed, because I don't really have ice. So, it's a lot of weight training and stick handling."

Riley Tufte is the highest-drafted player to come directly from the Force. He went No. 25 overall to the Dallas Stars in 2016, though Tufte never played a full season with the Force. He played with Fargo before and after his high school season at Blaine (Minn.).

Other notable Phase II Draft picks

  • Former Moorhead forward Kyler Kleven went in the second round, No. 29 overall, to the Waterloo BlackHawks. Kleven played for Minot in the North American Hockey League last season.
  • Former Grand Forks Central forward Lucas Kanta went in the fourth round, No. 55 overall, to the Sioux Falls Stampede. Kanta played for the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL last season.
  • Former Fargo South forward Benjamin Strinden went in the sixth round, No. 82 overall, to the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Strinden played for NorthStar Christian Academy last season.
  • Former Grand Forks Red River forward Drew Montgomery went in the seventh round, No. 102 overall, to the Tri-City Storm. Montgomery played for the Sioux Falls Power program last season. Drew's brother, Dane, a UND commit, played in the USHL for Waterloo last season.
  • Minot's Liam Cox-Smith went in the 10th round, No. 140 overall, to the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Cox-Smith, a forward, plays for the Rocky Mountain RoughRiders 16U team. Another Minot product, Charlie Larsen, went in the 19th round, No. 284 overall, to the Force. Larsen plays for the Colorado Thunderbirds 16U team.

  • Former Grand Forks Central defenseman Tucker Hodgson went in the 21st round, No. 314 overall, to the Force. Hodgson played for Steinbach in the Manitoba Junior Hockey Leauge last season.

UND hockey committed recruits As of Feb. 14, 2020
Name Birth year Position Hometown Team
Riese Gaber 1999 F Gilbert Plains, Man. Dubuque (USHL)
Griffin Ness 1999 F Wayzata, Minn. Waterloo (USHL)
Braden Costello 2000 F Grand Forks Trail (BCHL)
Brendan Budy 2000 F Langley, B.C. Langley (BCHL)
Nick Portz 2000 F St. Cloud, Minn. Tri-City (USHL)
Louis Jamernik 2000 F Calgary Okotoks (AJHL)
Massimo Rizzo 2001 F Burnaby, B.C. Coquitlam (BCHL)
Jake Schmaltz 2001 F McFarland, Wis. Green Bay (USHL)
Ethan Bowen 2002 F Chilliwack, B.C. Chilliwack (BCHL)
Jackson Kunz 2002 F Grand Forks Shattuck-St. Mary's
Stephen Halliday 2002 F Toronto Dubuque (USHL)
Dane Montgomery 2002 F Grand Forks Waterloo (USHL)
Dylan James 2003 F Calgary Okotoks (AJHL)
Jackson Blake 2003 F Eden Prairie, Minn. Eden Prairie HS
Jaksen Panzer 2004 F Grand Forks East Grand Forks HS
Cole Spicer 2004 F Grand Forks Honeybaked 15
Bowden Singleton 2004 F Calgary NAX Midget Prep
Luke Bast 2000 D Red Deer, Alta. Waterloo (USHL)
Cooper Moore 2001 D Cos Cob, Conn. Chilliwack (BCHL)
Mitchell Miller 2001 D Sylvania, Ohio Tri-City (USHL)
Jake Sanderson 2002 D Whitefish, Mont. U.S. Under-18
Tyler Kleven 2002 D Fargo U.S. Under-18
Scott Morrow 2002 D Darien, Conn. Shattuck-St. Mary's
Trey Ausmus 2004 D East Grand Forks East Grand Forks HS
Kaleb Johnson 2001 G Grand Forks Minnesota (NAHL)
Hobie Hedquist 2003 G Heron Lake, Minn. Sioux Falls U16
SOURCE: Grand Forks Herald