By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports
The 2022 North American Hockey League Draft takes place today and the Shreveport Mudbugs have the 19th selection in the first round.
NAHL teams don’t use the draft to build their teams like NFL teams. Selections are made to garner a player’s rights should he play in the league, but draftees often have many options and there’s a decent chance they don’t wear the sweater of the NAHL team that took a shot on them.
The Mudbugs’ first draft choice in NAHL franchise history, Jared Domin, never played for the team.
However, the draft does offer opportunity. In the Mudbugs’ inaugural draft (2016), they were able to grab defenseman Croix Evingson in the seventh round. The 6-foot-5, Anchorage, Alaska, product played one season in Shreveport and became the first Mudbug selected in the NHL Draft (Winnipeg, seventh round, 2017).
The number of selections used by teams in the NAHL drafts depend on the spots they have available on their protected list. This year, Campbell says the Mudbugs have six openings to work with in the draft.
“We lost a lot (12) of players from last year that have a lot of experience,” Campbell told The Journal. “I feel like we’ve done a pretty good job with our tenders, now it’s a matter of what we feel we need to target.
Draft planning has been in the process for months, but the team finalized their approach with a call Tuesday night.
“We will look at what we think need most, try to get it in the first round and go from there,” Campbell said.
Last year, the Mudbugs used their first-round selection on defenseman Brandon Cimino. He was not one of the four of nine players selected to hit the ice for Shreveport during the 2021-22 season. Those were: forward Logan Gotinsky (third round), defenseman Jonah Copre (fourth round), Ryan Williams (fourth round), Will Fortescue (sixth round).
Only Gotinsky and Copre were on the team at season’s end. Gotinsky, who was also drafted by Shreveport in 2020, finished in the top 10 in scoring for the team (10 goals, nine assists).
The Shreveport Mudbugs’ first six slots in today’s 2022 NAHL Draft:
Round (overall pick)
5 (144 from St. Cloud)
6 (148, from El Paso)
Contact Roy via email at email@example.com
Photo by CHRISTI LANG