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CEDAR RAPIDS — Phase I of the 2017 United States Hockey League Draft didn’t start until 6 p.m. Monday, but there was zero suspense about the first pick.
Grant Silianoff was in Cedar Rapids with his mother and father Monday morning, touring the city and the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena and meeting with Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson. He’s your guy.
The Edina, Minn., forward played this season for famed Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep School in Faribault, Minn. He was the U16 team’s leading scorer, with 35 goals and 73 points in 55 games.
“It’s an unreal experience, a good opportunity,” Silianoff said. “When I first came down here, I knew it was the right place for me. The coaching staff, the team, everybody, it was just the right fit for me.”
Phase I of the draft includes only players with 2001 birthdates. Phase II, or the main draft, is Tuesday morning at 8, with the RoughRiders again holding the first overall pick.
Carlson said his club knows who it will take but will keep that quiet for now. He wasn’t so quiet about picking up Silianoff, a versatile 5-foot-10 forward who prefers to play on his off wing (a lefty shooter at right wing).
“Skilled offensive player. I play 200 feet,” Silianoff said. “I know how to score goals, am a really big offensive guy.”
“It starts with the character of the person,” Carlson said. “He’s a tremendous character guy who has tremendous leadership ability, tremendous work ethic and a competitor. He is relentless in the way that he plays. Those are all starting points. Then we like his ability, his hockey sense, his vision, his ability to make a play and produce offense. His best days are ahead of him.”
Just a sophomore in high school, Silianoff already has verbally committed to play college hockey at Notre Dame. That’s where his cousin, Ryan Thang, played, so he has a personal knowledge of the program.
It wasn’t just Carlson who recruited him here, either. RoughRiders forward T.J. Walsh was a teammate last year at Shattuck and continually planted bugs in his ear about the virtues of being in Cedar Rapids.
“We played together my first year at Shattuck, were linemates, and grew a really good bond together,” Silianoff said. “Definitely he was trying to get me to come here. He was like ‘Aw, you should come down and see it. You’ll love it.’ He told me everything about it. Just so happened I loved everything I heard. He did a lot of (salesmanship).”
“He’s like everybody else,” Carlson said. “He’s got to work his tail off here from now on moving forward. We certainly feel extremely confident that he’s going to do that. That’s another reason why we’re choosing him first overall.”
The RoughRiders selected nine other players Monday evening. They included defenseman Mitchell Miller in the second round (a Miami of Ohio commit), goalie Derek Mullahy in the third round (a Harvard commit), forward Ben Troumbly in the seventh round (a St. Cloud State commit) and defenseman James Rayhill in the ninth round (a Cornell commit).
Below is the complete list of draftees, with round, followed by name, position, height and weight, hometown and 2016-17 season team:
1. Grant Silianoff LW 5-foot-10, 153 pounds; Edina, Minn. (Shattuck-St. Mary’s 16U)
2. Mitchell Miller RD 5-10, 180; Sylvania, Ohio (Detroit Honeybaked 16U)
3. Derek Mullahy G 5-10, 166; Scituate, Mass. (Shattuck-St. Mary’s 16U)
5. Jackson Jutting C 5-10, 168; Savage, Minn. (Prior Lake High School)
6. Ben Meehan LD 6-0, 163; Walpole, Mass. (Dexter Prep School)
7. Ben Troumbly F 5-2, 90; Coloraine, Minn. (Greenway 14UA)
8. Adam Varga LW 6-0, 150; Bel Air, Md. (Washington Little Capitals 15U)
9. James Rayhill RD 5-9, 152; New Hartford, N.Y. (Gunnery Prep School)
9. Ethan Haider G 6-0, 160; Maple Grove, Minn. (Maple Grove High School)
10. Tucker Forte FW 5-5, 125; Doylestown, Pa. (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 15U)
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