Steelhawks 2021 Entry Draft Review

GM Chris Fekete with a breakdown of his team's latest draft pick selections
by Chris Fekete | September 28, 2021, 6:43 PM ET

It was a Sunday evening, 7:20 PM EST and the entry draft had not started yet. There were rumblings that the draft would be delayed or pushed back to a later date. Fortunately, due to the clever minds of Mark MacRae and Mike Franceschini (hope I spelt it right, if not, oh well lol), we got the draft started, a bit later than anticipated but the show went on and to the delight of the GM's, well, maybe except for Don as he wanted to go to bed earlier (lol), the 2021 entry draft got underway. In this article, we will be dissecting the picks the Hamilton Steelhawks made and what the future holds for this franchise for the rest of the off-season.

 

1st Round - 9th Overall: Kent Johnson (Center - University of Michigan)

Leading up to the draft, the Steelhawks were a bit disappointed that they were sitting 6th overall. That was the worst case scenario for them as they hoped for a top 3 pick to land one of Power, Beniers or Eklund. The Steelhawks tried to move up as high as number 2 but the trade never materialized, to no surprise really as the GM holding the 2nd overall at the time was very adamant on getting the guy he wanted but it didn't hurt to ask. After the first 4 picks were made, there was a lot of trade chatter between Montreal and Hamilton as GM Kasim really wanted to move up from 9 to 6 and leap frog the villainous and AEW version of MJF (Maxwell Jacob Friedman) Eric Schneider, GM of Nova Scotia. Kasim was not begging but Chris didn't really need to trade down, the guy he wanted was still on the board and could've easily made the pick. However, Kasim wanted the pick, there was a guy he wanted, probably the same guy Eric wanted too. So Kasim, reluctant to offer as much as he did, offered Chris the 9th overall pick, as well as picks 73 and 75 for the 6th overall pick. Chris decided, moving down 3 spots, hoping that the player of his was still there, accepted the trade and picked up an additional 2 3rd round picks at the expense of moving down 3 spots. Montreal then drafted Jesper Wallstedt, Cougars drafted Luke Hughes and Nova Scotia drafted Simon Edvinsson. It couldn't have worked out any better for the Steelhawks. At number 9, they selected the guy they liked at number 6: Kent Johnson, from the University of Michigan. Home of the Wolverines. He is a dynamic playmaking centre with agility, and elusiveness. Possesses superior hockey IQ, creativity and decision-making quickness. His strong powerful stride separates him from opponents and he can quickly read an opening averts the puck there. His passing is high end, and he isn’t afraid of venturing into the battle zones and dirty areas. Strong scorer who needs little room to hit pay dirt. At this time, there is high end elusiveness in his game and even though he may be in a bit longer path trajectory to the SICHL, his ability to quickly read react and shoot shows a bit of Patrick Kane to his game, and will probably project to a left or right wing in the pro game.

 

2nd Round - 41st Overall: Danila Klimovich (LW - Belarus)

The Steelhawks next draft pick wasn't until pick 41 as they dealt the 19th overall selection (Fedor Svechkov) to the Whitehorse Huskies for Brendan Gallagher and then dealt the 25th overall selection (Corson Ceulemans) to the FireAnts in exchange for Jonathan Marchessault. This gave the Steelhawks 2 solid top 6 wingers to add to their franchise and give them some more scoring depth because they definitely could use it after the season they had last year. There were some trade talks regarding pick #41 but it wasn't really going to go anywhere. The Steelhawks selected Danila Klimovich, a winger from Belarus. I'm sure there were some Canucks fans that were like crap, a non-Canucks fan drafted him and if he pans out, I'm going to kick myself. Well GM's, you may be right. The Danila Thrilla has been playing very well during the other league's training camp and has earned praise from his peers, especially the coach Travis Green. He may be closer to playing in the SICHL than people think. He's one of the hardest shooting kids in the draft class. Exploded on to the draft lists after the U-18s. An unknown who comes with high end skill and lots to like. A playmaker who is an outstanding stickhandler and puck possessor at top speed, powerful skater with outstanding hand-eye coordination, and an incredible shooter who launches missiles with his wrist snaps and whose one timer is rocket from the circles. Seems to be playing at a pace a notch above all others. This is a prospect that may end up being special when he rounds out his defensive side of the game.

 

2nd Round - 50th Overall: Tristan Broz (C/LW - University of Minnesota)

A big factor going into this pick was the other league's current prospect system and what their prospect system is like and how deep it is, etc. How long before they make the jump to SICHL. It was hard to ignore Tristan Broz. Former top Minnesota high school left shooting centre who has many SICHL desirable attributes including nice frame, excellent hands and elusive feet. Good at winning face-offs, he is a quick twitch, quick in the start / stop on his way to the loose pucks and the small areas. Looks as if he may have the mentality and skills of a finisher as he has an accurate, quick release with strong velocity. He is committed to the University of Minnesota. Likely a few years away, like a lot of these prospects in this year's entry draft but he could be a good middle 6 guy when the time comes.

 

3rd Round - 73rd Overall: Cole Huckins (C - Canada)

This 3rd round was very intense for the Steelhawks. They held picks 73, 75, 76 and 86. It was just after 10 PM EST and we were midway thru the 3rd round and it was becoming a long day, especially since GM Chris had his other job to go to. He was starting to look at trading his 3rd round picks. He got 3 or 4 messages simultaneously from GM's asking his price and of course, Chris was offering his demands in which a couple GM's were like yeah, too steep, I'm out. Dublin GM Ryan was asking for pick 86 in which GM Chris wanted HBG 3rd 22. Ryan was like no but what about LV 3rd 22? I was already holding up the draft with this pick so I made my selection of Cole Huckins and then told Ryan that I accept our deal. The 86th pick was gone but I still held 75 and 76, back to back picks. To be continued. As for Huckins, he is a big framed centre who controls the middle ice area. At this point his co-ordination is in adjustment stage, as his skating seems cumbersome. Once in motion, he is ok, as he finishes checks, jumps back in and competes every minute he is out there by going into the trenches and greasy areas. He overloads scrums, aiding his linemates, will throw passes off the dashers to the middle after unearthing them in scrums. Has good vision and above average puck skills. Hits teammates with pinpoint passes as they are breaking into the attack zone. His long arms break up plays and pressures defenders and creates off man breaks. He is projected to be a bottom 6 guy in the SICHL but he is still in his early developmental stages.

 

3rd Round - 75th Overall: Janik Jerome Moser (D - Germany)

This is where I was really taking some time and I'm sure Dr Morrison was not too pleased, it was getting late and he wanted his beddie bye time. I'm sure he was drinking some of that vintage wine to keep his brain cells awake, whatever is left (lol, I kid, don't hunt me down lol). I had offers for both 75 and 76 but I was asking for a lot. Mark sends me a message saying I'm up and I'm still fielding calls, plus trying to fugre out who I want to pick. I tell a GM this is what I want, if you accept, let me know but I'm making my pick in 30 seconds. Unfortunately for that GM, they never saw the message in time, but highly unlikely they would've done the deal anyways so I stepped up, and drafted Janik Jerome Moser, he is one of the oldest prospects in the draft (turned 21 this year) but he has been playing against men in the German league and he has been ripping it up. Whether or not it translates to smaller ice in North America remains to be seen. He is committed to Ohio State University this upcoming season.Moser is an all-rounder D-man with great skating skills and who is brilliant defensively. He can also play on the powerplay thanks to his good hockey sense. Could we be looking at the next Cale Makar? Okay, maybe I'm pushing it over the top but this oozes with gem written all over it.

 

3rd Round - 76th Overall: Kirill Kirsanov (D - Russia)

I was still in talks of moving the 76th overall pick but no one wanted to reach my asking price so I made the pick of defenceman Kirill Kirsanov, Russian defencemen and friends of Danila. Kirsanov is a very confident and poised defenseman when the puck is on his stick. He looks like he has ice in his veins, and is able to stickhandle the puck through traffic and around forechecking pressure to help his team exit the zone. Very good hockey sense and decision-making under pressure, he shows very little panic. He can receive passes well enough and makes a reasonable first pass. There were some scouts that thought he could go as high as 40 but he went 76th in the SICHL. Keep an eye out for Moser and Kirsanov. These 2 d-men the Steelhawks drafted, plus the guys already in their system: Drysdale, York, Romanov, Foote, Sanderson, Pachal, Lundmark, Villeneuve and their D looks very strong. Thats the way to build a team: start from the backend and build within.

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