Junior hockey clubs draft 18 current, former Jr. Ducks players
Suffice to say North American junior hockey leagues are well aware of the Anaheim Jr. Ducks.
Nine players with ties to the Jr. Ducks were selected in the USHL’s Phase I and II drafts on May 4-5. Previously, another nine players were taken in separate WHL and NA3HL drafts.
The USHL total is the most the club has had taken in one year by the circuit. Since 2015, USHL teams have picked 28 Jr. Ducks.
“These kids who get drafted all share many of the same characteristics,” said Jr. Ducks director of player personnel Alex Kim. “All of them are respectful, all of them have good work ethics and good character. All of them are good teammates and good people.”
“And all of them are contributors to society in a positive manner, and that’s ultimately what (director of coaches) Craig Johnson and I want the club to produce.
“It’s also a testament to all the coaches in our club who worked with these kids when they were younger to lay strong foundations.”
The Jr. Ducks had three 2004 birth year players selected in the Phase I draft on May 4 – forwards James Hong, who played for the club’s 16U AAA team this past season, and Merril Steenari, who played for the 15U AAA team, and defenseman Brodrick Williams.
Hong (team-high 72 points) was selected in the third round (43rd overall) by Waterloo, Steenari (68 points, 28 goals) went to Sioux Falls in the seventh round (97th overall), and Williams was taken by Fargo in the 10th and final round (147th overall).
Goaltender Owen Millward went in the seventh round (97th overall) to Tri-City. Forward Sam Deckhut (pictured), a St. Lawrence commit, was picked by Sioux City in the eighth round (109th overall). Forward Garrett Wright was taken by Omaha later in the eighth round (118th overall). Forward Brett Roloson went to Sioux City in the 12th round (169th overall), Jason Stefanek, was picked in the 15th round (218th overall) by Youngstown. Goalie Tyler Shea was selected eight picks later (226th overall) by Dubuque.
Former Jr. Ducks forward Christian Kim was selected by the Vancouver Giants in the WHL Bantam Draft on April 22, going in the seventh round (135th overall).
Previously, four more 2005 birth years with ties to the club were taken in the WHL’s U.S. Prospects Draft on March 25. Those four were current Jr. Ducks Miles Roberts and Jason Zaccari and former Jr. Ducks Ze’ev Buium and Ty Henricks. Roberts is a goaltender, Henricks is a forward and Zaccari and Buium are defensemen.
Four forwards were selected in the NA3HL Entry Draft on April 23.
Dylan Contreras and Josh Hyden, who were teammates on the 16U AAA team this past season, were taken by Missoula, Logan Gallaher, a member of the 18U AAA team, was picked by Texas, while former Jr. Duck Liam Massie was tabbed by Wilmar.
— Chris Bayee
(July 30, 2020)