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Minor League Sports

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders add 31 draft picks to solid list of possible returning players

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defender Will Francis. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders defender Will Francis. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Before we talk about the 31 kids they added Monday night and Tuesday, let’s talk about the list of possible returning players next season for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.

It’s really good, especially on defense.

There’s Jack Millar, Mitchell Miller, Will Francis and Dmitri Deryabin. All of those guys played major minutes in a successful 2018-19 campaign for the Riders.

Bennett Zmolek got promoted from the affiliate list after his prep season ended in Minnesota and showed oodles of promise. How’s that for 2/3 of your blueline?

Backup goaltender Troy Kobryn has a chance to re-make next season’s team. Nine forwards could earn returns: Grant Silianoff, Andrei Bakanov, Chase Hamstad, Joe Hankinson, Jordan Tonelli, Ethan Wolthers, Jack O’Leary, Max Sasson and Nate Hanley.

“We like the group that can return,” RoughRiders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson. “I know it sounds cliche, and everybody says it, but I think, more so than any other year, we really like the talent level of the guys who can come back, (and) it’s the summer for them that’s going to be enormous. In terms of how guys can impact the game when they come back will be dictated by how hard they train.”

You’ll get to know the names of affiliate roster players Darian Gotz, Ben Meehan, Jackson Jutting and Joshua Barnes at tryout camp, which is May 31 through June 2 at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. Most, if not all, of the 21 players taken by the Riders in Tuesday’s United States Hockey League Phase II draft, as well as the 10 guys selected in Monday night’s Phase I draft of 2003 birthdates also will be in town.

C.R.’s first-round pick in Phase I was forward Ty Voit, who played this past season for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U-15 club. He was recently drafted by the major junior Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League, which gives him two options, though Carlson didn’t seem fazed by that.

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“All the indications we got was that he’s going to go to school,” he said, meaning he would eventually play in the USHL. “Our guys, we really like him. A good skating offensive player. We think his best days are ahead of him.”

The RoughRiders’ first pick in Phase II was 18-year-old Quebec forward Justin Hryckowian, a Northeastern University commit who had 45 points in 26 games this past season at Salisbury (Conn.) prep school.

“He’s a real good offensive player, has a real good stick,” Carlson said. “We think with a real good summer of training, he’ll be ready to have a big year.”

C.R.’s second-round pick was 17-year-old prep school forward Michael Posma, who is an Air Force Academy commit from the same hometown in New York as Carlson. Taken in the third round was Austrian defenseman Luis Lindner.

Minnesota prep forward Grant Ahcan went in the fourth round, hoping to join brothers Jack and Roman as RoughRiders. Jack is a defenseman now at St. Cloud State, Roman a forward at Wisconsin.

North Dakota commit Kaleb Johnson was drafted in the fifth round, joining Kobryn and affiliate roster guy Derek Mullahy in the race for top goaltender next season. Other draftees of note include 17th-round defenseman Jack Blake, a Bowling Green commit who is the son of Rob Blake, the longtime NHL defenseman who is general manager and vice president of the Los Angeles Kings.

“We added a lot of players to the organization,” Carlson said. “I thank our staff for all their hard work. I thought we did a nice job.”

2019 USHL Draft: Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Phase I

Round 1 — F Ty Voit (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Pittsburgh Pens Elite U15

Round 2 — D Kalle Ervasti (Onlu Finland), South Florida Hockey Academy

Round 3 — D Chase Beacom (Bloomington, Minn.), Bloomington Kennedy HS (St. Cloud State)

Round 4 — G Andrew Pichora (Bethel Park, Pa.), Pittsburgh Pens Elite U16

Round 5 — F Calvin Osterberger (Boise, Idaho), Rocky Mountain RoughRiders U15

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Round 6 — F Ethan Mann (Fox Point, Wis.), University School of Milwaukee Wildcats (Wisconsin)

Round 7 — F Tim Delay (Hingham, Mass.), St. Sebastians Prep School (Boston College)

Round 8 — G Nikolas Simo (Northville, Mich.), Oakland Jr. Grizzlies 16U

Round 9 — D William Brenner (Oklahoma City, Okla.), Dallas Stars Elite 16U

Round 10 — F Zachary L'Heureux (Mercier, Quebec, Canada), Chateauguay Grenadiers

2019 USHL Draft: Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Phase II

Round 1 — F Justin Hryckowian (Ile Blizard, Quebec, Canada), Salisbury Prep School (Northeastern)

Round 2 — F Michael Posma (Pomona, N.Y.), Kent Prep School (Air Force)

Round 3 — F Luis Lindner (Austria), EC Red Bull Akademie U20

Round 4 — F Grant Ahcan (Burnsville, Minn.), Burnsville High School

Round 5 — G Kaleb Johnson (Grand Forks, N.D.), Minnesota Wilderness (North Dakota)

Round 5 — F Tyler Rollwagen (Bloomington, Minn.), Shattuck St. Mary's (Nebraska-Omaha)

Round 5 — F Robby Newton (Milwaukee, Wis.), University School of Milwaukee Wildcats

Round 5 — D Michael Suda (Cheektowoga, N.Y.), Nichols School (Cornell)

Round 6 — F Aidan Curran (Dracut, Mass.), New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (New Hampshire)

Round 7 — F Levi Glassman (Red Deer, Alberta, Canada), Powell River Kings

Round 7 — F Jamie Engelbert (Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada), Cobourg Cougars

Round 8 — F Cy LeClerc (Brentwood, N.H.), Seacoast Spartans 16U (New Hampshire)

Round 9 — F Joseph Harguindeguy (La Habra, Calif.), Mino Minotauros

Round 11 — D TJ Schweighardt (Wayne, N.J.), Jersey Hitmen 18U

Round 12 — F Jackson Howell (Boise, Idaho), Rocky Mountain RoughRiders U15

Round 13 — F JT Halliday (Santa Clarita, Calif.), St. Paul's Prep School

Round 14 — D Alex Gagne (Bedford, N.H.), New Hampshire Avalanche 16U

Round 15 — F Nick Portz (St. Cloud, Minn.), Minnesota Wilderness

Round 16 — F Mack Byers (Long Lake, Minn.), Trail Smoke Eaters

Round 17 — D Jack Blake (Manhattan Beach, Calif.), Shattuck St. Mary's (Bowling Green)

Round 18 — D Michael Palandra (Markham, Ontario, Canada), Aurora Tigers

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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