USHL Draft Full Recap
YOUNGSTOWN, OH – On Tuesday, the USHL Draft concluded with Phase II, where USHL teams chose available USHL free agent players born between 1997 and 2001. In Phase I the Youngstown Phantoms made 9 selections in the 10 round draft of only 2001 born players, while in Phase II they made 20 selections in 25 rounds of the draft.
Prior to Monday’s Phase I portion of the draft, the Phantoms had already forfeited their first round draft pick when they tendered Trevor Kuntar, a forward from Buffalo, NY and who is committed to Harvard. When the Phantoms returned to action in the second round, they selected forward Arseni Smekhnov, a dynamic offensive presence from the Colorado Evolution U15 club. In the near future, Arseni is expected to have a huge offensive impact on the ice and has committed to the University of Connecticut, where Phantom alum and San Jose Sharks NHL prospect Max Letunov is currently playing and where current Phantoms’ forward Evan Wisocky is also committed.
The third round of Phase I saw the Phantoms select defenseman Hunter Weiss. Weiss comes from one the top U16 teams in the country, the Chicago Mission, and is viewed as a solid top four caliber defenseman that should be expected to play against other club’s top lines as he develops. Hunter is committed to Notre Dame along with current Phantom Max Ellis as well as outgoing Phantom Pierce Crawford and alum Cameron Morrison.
Prior to the Phase I Draft due to previous trades, the Phantoms had an extra fourth round pick from Muskegon due to the Ty Farmer trade in January and were without their own sixth round pick as a result of the December 2016 Marshall Moise trade with Madison and without their tenth round pick also a part of the Ty Farmer deal with Muskegon. On Monday night during the Phase I Draft, the Phantoms also struck a deal with Sioux Falls, acquiring their tenth round pick in Phase I in exchange for Youngstown’s fifteenth round pick in Phase II on Tuesday.
Similar to Phase I, the Youngstown Phantoms did not have a first round draft pick in Phase II, due to Youngstown’s trade with Omaha to acquire Pierce Crawford in February. Defenseman Gianfranco Cassaro from the OJHL’s Toronto Jr. Canadiens, was the first selection the Phantoms made in Phase II. Cassaro had a breakout season in the OJHL and is just the type of player the Phantoms need to reload their defense after losing key players at the end of the 2017-18 season. Cassaro is committed to the University of Massachusetts - Amherst.
Michael Regush was the Phantoms’ Phase II, third round selection. Regush is a power forward who will fit right in with how the Phantoms want to play. Regush is a playoff caliber player every shift which the Phantoms believe will bring more horsepower to their offense. Regush is committed to play hockey at Cornell University.
Prior to the Phase II Draft, the Phantoms were without their first round pick which was dealt to Omaha for forward Pierce Crawford, their sixth which was sent to Sioux City for forward Evan Wiscoky in July, their seventh which was moved for defenseman Jake Gingell in July, and their eighth which had been traded to Fargo last May for forward Austin Pooley. The Phantoms had extra picks in round five and eight as a result of trades with Musekgon for Ty Farmer and Waterloo for Sam Craggs, both in January.
During the draft, the Phantoms completed two trades for additional seventh round draft choices. The Phantoms picked one up from Sioux City in exchange for their eighth and ninth round picks and then another from Waterloo for the Phantoms tenth round pick and also their 2018 Phase I ninth round selection next year.