With the first pick fourth overall, the Bulls selected Marko Sturma from Slovakia who was a draft 2017 pick of the Bloomington Thunder of the USHL. Other players joining Sturma include: Simon Morberg, 2nd Round-27th overall (Forward); Jon Russell 4th Round-73rd overall (Forward); Stephen Rex 5th Round-97th overall (Forward); Nick Blankenburg 7th round-144th overall (Forward/Defense); Liam Walsh 8th Round-167th overall (Forward); Nathan Severtson (9th Round-190th overall (Forward); and Cole Edgerton (10th round-213th overall (Forward).
Bulls Head Coach Matt Nicholson said the group of players chosen have fit the mold of the organization and hopes they can help lift the team to the next level of getting to the Robertson Cup playoffs.
“Tony and I are happy with the selections we made today,” said Bulls Nicholson. “Each player was chosen for a specific reason. One of the areas on our wish list was to get more forwards to add to the potential core of returning players that we had last year. Anytime you go into a Draft scenario you have a wish list but you know you are not going to be able to get all of them. But, we feel we have made strides in getting most of our players we wanted.”
All NAHL teams participated in the Draft and made selections in each round in reverse order of their finish during the 2016-17 NAHL regular season standings. The NAHL Draft consisted of the number of rounds necessary for each club’s protected list to reach 30 total players. The thirty players are made up of veteran players, tendered players and drafted ones. Each eligible NAHL club was entitled to one selection per round unless it had acquired or lost selections due to approved trades with other NAHL clubs.
Next up for the Amarillo Bulls will be Main Camp at the end of July in Pittsburgh, PA. Those players who have made it through that will advance to Amarillo in late August to begin Training Camp and prepare for the 2017-18 season.
Here is a synopsis of the Bulls Selections from the Draft along with a quote from Head Coach Matt Nicholson on each player.
Position: Goaltender; Selected – 1st Round – 4th overall; Previous Team: HK SKP Proprad U20
“Our assistant coach Tony Attanucci was in contact with his advisor. It so happens that Marko was a late selection of the Bloomington Thunder of the USHL and will be attending their camp. With the tape that we saw of Sturma and the depth of the goaltending position in Bloomington we thought it was a high percentage play to pick him in event that he doesn’t make their roster.”
Over the last two seasons we have had two European goaltenders and I think the fans will agree that if we were to roll the dice and pick a goalie who has the potential to be as good or better than they are then we should go and make that selection.
Position: Forward; Selected – 2nd Round-27th overall; Previous Team: Frolunda HC/Northwood School Junior USHS
“He played for Northwoods High School in Lake Placid for Chadd Cassidy who was involved in the US National Team and coached with the Rochester Americans. Coach Cassidy spoke volumes about Simon’s character and his play specifically as a 200-foot player that competes hard with a strong shot. I saw him in the Omaha Lancers camp and was impressed with his play.”
Position: Forward; Selected – 4th Round-73rd overall; Previous Team: West Kelowna Warriors BCHL
“Jon not only has NAHL and USHL experience but his brother Marcus played for Topeka. There is a familiarity with Jon and the South Division. Tony saw him in Youngstown Camp and thinks he can be a definite top-six or top-nine player with us.”
Position: Forward; Selected – 5th Round-97th overall; Previous Team: Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18;
“Stephen played for our assistant Coach Tony Attanucci in Pittsburgh and is a smart student in the same mould as a Alex Truscott, Matt Nehls and Alex Cathcart. He plays similar to Alex Truscott where he is going to compete every day and every shift.”
Position: Forward-Defense; Selected – 7th Round-144th overall; Previous Team: Victory Honda U18
“Both Tony and our Scouting Director Brian Burke have seen Nick play the most and compare him to a Cooper Zech of the Odessa Jackalopes. He is a smooth skating player that has strong puck skills, but is still learning the defensive side of the game.”
Position: Forward; Selected – 8th Round-167th overall; Previous Team: Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL
“This was our flyer or homerun pick because we know his focus is going to be on making the USHL. He is a big strong player similar to Colin Price, where he can handle the physical game but does have skill. He is a young guy who already has junior experience so we think he will fit in very well in Amarillo and blossom into a Division I player.”
Position: Goaltender; Selected – 9th Round-190th overall; Previous Team: Madison Capitols NAPHL
“Nathan played with Aaron Swanson and Jakob Hanthorn (Bulls Tender) in Madison and attended our camp over the weekend. He has tremendous worth ethic who has the potential of being a Division I goalie. By no means is he a finished product but there is enough potential there.”
Position: Forward; Selected – 10th Round-213th overall; Previous Team: New Jersey Avalanche U18
“He is the brother of Luke Edgerton and played for one of the best U18 programs in the nation this past season. He has as much skill as Luke but different they are different players in other ways. We thought we would take a chance and draft him and get the two to play together. Anytime you can play sports with a sibling is, a special opportunity and we think that the South Division and Amarillo is a perfect spot for that.”