The Maryland Black Bears, and the rest of the NAHL for that matter, will be a part of the NAHL Draft that’s being held on Tuesday afternoon. It’s a big day for the players being selected, as well as the teams selecting them as a part of their future. The Black Bears have drafted in the top-five the last two Draft, but this year, they’ll hold the 10th overall pick.
It’s hard to gauge what teams will do. Unlike professional drafts, there’s so many prospects for NAHL teams to pull from, there’s not really an official chart for who’s at the top of the ranks for the Draft. Some times you make a pick and they make a dent in the line-up that next season– like Aden Bruich did last season for the Black Bears. There’s also times where you take a risk at a player who has decent talent, but they don’t join the team– like Steven Agriogianis who went to play in the USHL after Maryland selected him.
Before all of that, you have to look at what the Black Bears have in terms of Tendered contracts. Throughout the 2019-20 season, the Black Bears have signed six players to Tender Contracts: Joseph Borthwick (LHD), Connor Cole (C), Tanner Rowe (F), Shane Albert (RW/C), Chase Tallaire (F), and Farrell Dinn (F)– with Tallaire actually playing a game for the Black Bears this season. Also, you have to take into account the players that were selected in the Supplemental Draft– Matteo Pecchia (LW), Kyle Robinson (LHD), and Matt Shanklin (F).
Those are just the new faces, you have to account for players who may comeback into the fold. The Black Bears have 18 players with eligibility left. Three players– Cooper Black, Brayden Stannard, and Cameron Recchi– were selected in the USHL Phase 2 Draft and will be at their camps in hopes of making that team. There’s probably some other players who will take part in USHL camps, as well– so the roster is very influx with who’s coming back.
One spot the Black Bears may look at is defense. With the maximum of six returnees, one tendered, and one from the Supplemental, the Black Bears might look to the blue-line for some added bodies. While some may think a goalie could be in the mix, that’s not always a necessity for the Draft; unless that goalie is top-tier. Plus, there’s also some solid goalies in-state and kind of “in-house” through Team Maryland that could be looked at, as well.
The upside for the Black Bears is that they select players who are ready to jump in immediately. Eight players who played the majority of the season on the Black Bears last year were picked through the draft, with Philip Ekberg, Luc Salem, and Max Borst playing in the NAHL, but were selected by the Black Bears in this draft.
We’ll have to wait just one more day before we see the next crop of possible Black Bears get their name called out.