By Joel Badzinski | LaCrosse Tribune | Thursday, May 26, 2011
RAMSEY, Minn. — Coulee Region Chill coach Garrett Strot joked late Thursday afternoon about going with that draft-day cliché: “We got everybody we wanted.”
The thing is, the Chill basically did.
Strot, general manager Rick Wesp and scouting director Dan Strot pushed away from a conference table with the rights to six new players after the 2011 NAHL Entry Draft. In 3½ hours, the draft had unfolded almost exactly as the Chill wanted, with one little bump in the road that they plan to smooth over.
“This was our list yesterday except for one kid,” Wesp said.
The Chill’s draft haul started with the 18th pick of the first round. They took Mac Jansen, a forward from White Bear Lake (Minn.) High School who scored 38 goals, including the double-overtime game winner in a sectional final win over Hill-Murray, this past winter.
Forwards Joe Rehkamp (Fargo USHL), Myles Maltz (Lansing U-18), Jake Sampson (Edina, Minn. HS) and Derek Frawley (Minnetonka, Minn. HS) went next. Coulee Region also took Austin Schmid, a goaltender from Verona, Wis., in the one-round NA3HL draft.
“We feel like they all can play for the most part,” Garrett Strot said.
Jansen was high on the Chill’s list for a reason. He turned in 56 points playing for MSHSL Class AA power White Bear Lake and was named AP All-State honorable mention.
The Chill — who were the North Iowa Outlaws for five seasons before moving to Onalaska — always have drawn heavily from Twin Cities area high schools and believe Jansen can be an NAHL contributor much like Connor Gaarder (Edina) and Zac Frischmon (Blaine, Minn.).
“His goal totals and the fact that he’s a tough kid, a solid two-way player,” Garrett Strot said of the Chill’s take on Jansen.“He’ll be a complete player coming into the league.”
Rehkamp, Maltz and Frawley could be considered “flyer” picks. Rehkamp’s rights are owned by Waterloo of the USHL, but the Chill would welcome him if Waterloo doesn’t make him part of its plans. Maltz might be a year away from being NAHL-ready, and Frawley left the Minnetonka team at midseason, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.
Those are all situations Wesp and Garrett Strot are prepared to deal with. While the draft is simply one part of building a roster, it is a way to add three, four, even six top-notch players in a few hours.
Of course, those players still have to make the team via the team’s final camp July 21-24 in Onalaska. Three of the Chill’s six 2010 draft picks (Nathan Trannel, Eric Drapluk and Chris Hughes) went on to earn roster spots.
The Big List of Prospects the Chill brought to the draft room on Thursday was at least nine months in the making. Dan Strot, who is Garrett’s father, is the lead evaluator and information-gatherer throughout the winter, making the rounds of high schools and other junior leagues. Meanwhile, Wesp and Garrett Strot work their own connections.
No player was called by the Chill on Thursday who hadn’t been seen at least three or four times by a member of the Chill or a close contact.
“A lot of them we’ve seen and know what they’re capable of doing,” Garrett Strot said.
The Chill also built a reputation last year for loyalty that made its way around hockey circles and had a trickle-down effect to the draft.
Dan Strot said he was at a hockey clinic this spring when a USHL executive congratulated him on the team’s emphasis on player development.
The Chill made by far the fewest transactions in the NAHL — one, officially — in 2010-11 and finished the season with 23 players who were on the Sept. 1 roster.
That didn’t affect the bottom line, as Coulee Region finished second in the Central Division and was one game short of winning the divisional playoff title.
“That’s been our philosophy since day one,” Garrett Strot said.“I want us to have the reputation as a team that sticks with players and develops them.”
As for that bump in the road: the Chill worked furiously to trade and add a higher pick in the first round and thought they’d worked out a deal, sending a tender contract to expansion Jamestown (N.Y.) for the 13th overall pick. The problem was that teams only can trade players or draft picks, not unsigned contracts.
But the Chill didn’t mind an unlucky 13 for a solid six.
CHILL DRAFT PICKS
First round (18th overall): Mac Jansen, F, White Bear Lake (Minn.) High School, 5-feet-10, 181 pounds
n Minnesota AP All-State honorable mention
n Scored game-winning goal in 2OT section final vs. Hill-Murray
n Totals: 38 goals-18 assists-56 points (plus-26) in 32 games
Second round (46th): Joe Rehkamp, F, Fargo Force (USHL), 5-feet-10, 175 pounds
n Played for 2009 MSHL Class A state champion Breck
n USHL rights now owned by Waterloo
n Totals: 14 goals-16 assists-30 points (plus-1) in 128 games
Third round (72nd): Myles Maltz, F, Lansing U-18 (North American Prospects), 5-feet-7, 160 pounds
n Mattawan, Mich., native
n Totals: 7 goals-9 assists-16 points in 15 games
Third round (75th): Jake Sampson, F, Edina (Minn.) High School, 5-feet-11, 185 pounds
n Played on Edina’s state tournament team
n Totals: 14 points-18 assists-32 points (plus-3) in 30 games
Fifth round (96th): Derek Frawley, F, Minnetonka (Minn.) High School,
6-feet-1, 187 pounds
n Totals: 3 goals-12 assists-15 points (minus-5) in 18 games
Supplemental round (NA3HL Draft): Austin Schmid, G, Peoria (NA3HL), 6-feet, 165 pounds
n Verona, Wis., native
n Totals: 12-6-1, 2.12 GAA, .923 save pct.