Group of five forwards, four defensemen and one goalie full of potential
As the Knights prepare for tomorrow’s 2017 NAHL Draft, they do so bolstered by the confidence of having already assembled an exciting tender class for next season. Each year, NAHL teams are given 10 tenders, or agreements used to secure player rights within the NAHL for the upcoming season. Over the past year, the Knights staff has been busy scouting across the country and the world, for future players. Their efforts have culminated in a group of ten players, versatile in skills, positions, and experience.
“Our staff has put in a lot of hours to build this list and we’re really pleased with how it came out,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “There’s a lot of talent in this group. I’m excited to bring them together and work with them this summer. It’s a group that could really play a big part for us this coming season.”
Jack Olmstead, Forward, Little Caesars U18, HPHL U18
As an affiliate player with the Knights NAHL team last year, Jack made an immediate impact by scoring a goal in just his second NAHL game.
“The biggest thing that jumps out at you when you see Jack play is his character,” said Knights scout Justin Schreiber. “He just plays the game the right way; he’s a high character guy on and off the ice and has a ton of offensive skill.”
That skill was put on the display for the Little Caesars U18 team where the lefty forward tallied nine goals and 17 assists in 17 games. The scoring prowess, attitude and prior NAHL experience has the Knights excited for his potential.
Tyrone Bronte, Forward, Meijer AAA Hockey 18U, NAPHL 18U
Bronte was a part of a U18 D2B gold-medal finish for his home country of Australia at the World Junior Classic last season. The Heathmont, Victoria native led his team with six goals and six assists in five games played. The leading scorer trend continued stateside where he scored 12 goals and 24 assists in 18 games with Meijer AAA Hockey in the NAPHL 18U.
“Tyrone brings great offensive instincts and skills to our organization right away,” said Schreiber. “He thinks the game really well, which pushed him to lead the NAPHL in scoring this past year.”
Thomas Farrell, Defenseman, Chicago Mission U18, HPHL U18:
Farrell, another 2016-17 affiliate player, impressed enough to earn a call-back to help a Knights roster in the Robertson Cup Playoffs. In five total games, the 6-1 defenseman skated well in the minutes he was given and added a goal for good measure.
“Thomas’ elite skating ability and vision are his best attributes,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “We feel his game will translate extremely well at the NAHL level and above.”
In 22 games with the Chicago Mission U18, Farrell demonstrated that ability with big minutes and a solid stat line of a goal and eight assists.
Josh Fricks, Forward, Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U
A native of Laguna Niguel, California and most recently a member of the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede 18U Tier -1 AAA program, Fricks is another skilled forward with plenty of points on the resume. This past season the 1998 birth year registered 23 goals and 35 assists in 40 games played.
“Josh is an extremely gifted and skilled forward who put up a ton of points this year with his midget U18 team,” said Whiteside. “We feel that Josh will complement our returning core group of forwards right away.”
Blake Kryska, Defenseman, Oakland Jr. Grizzlies U18, T1EHL U18
Kryska is another defenseman with NAHL experience, the most recent coming with the Knights in the 2016-17 Robertson Cup Playoffs. All totaled, the ’99 birth year has already amassed a healthy amount of work in the NAHL to accompany 13 games played in the T1EHL U18. There the big-bodied defenseman posted a line of one goal and six assists for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies.
“Blake’s a steady presence on the blue line and his decision-making skills with the puck are beyond his age,” said Whiteside. “We expect Blake to log a ton of minutes on our back end next year.”
Luke Robinson, Defenseman, Dallas Stars AAA U16, T1EHL U16
The Knights again bring back a familiar face as Robinson is another former affiliate player the team saw in action last year. To have that experience before his 16th birthday is an impressive feat, one not lost on the Knights staff.
“Luke is a big, physical presence in his own zone and has the skating ability to jump in and join the rush if the opportunity presents itself,” said Schreiber. “Luke’s hockey IQ is probably his biggest strength as he keeps it simple and minimizes mistakes.”
Robinson displayed his consistency in his prior league, playing in a total of 72 games over his past two seasons in the T1EHL U16, scoring 3-7-10 in 2015-16 and 1-8-9 in 2016-17, supporting the offensive dimension he has, accompanying his intelligence and physicality.
David Tomeo, Goalie, New Jersey Hitmen, USPHL
A former opponent, Tomeo made his lone NAHL start last year against the Knights in the final stretch of the regular season. Though the Knights were ultimately victorious that afternoon, Tomeo made a lasting impression with a flurry of impressive saves.
“David is a goaltender that comes with junior experience in both the USHL and the NAHL,” said Whiteside. “He has won at every level and we expect him to have a significant impact in our crease right away.”
In 11 games in the USPHL Premier last season, Tomeo backed up his impressive showings at other levels with a GAA of 2.18 and a save percentage of .925 in 11 regular season games.
Andrew Wells, Forward, Esmark Stars U16 AAA, NAPHL 16U
Already 6-1 at 17 years old, Wells is a power forward coming out of U16 but with that the right-handed forward brings more than just physicality. In 73 games with the Esmark Stars last season, he picked up 35 goals and 37 assists in 73 games played.
“Andrew plays a true power forward game,” said Schreiber. “His mix of size, physical play, and offensive ability is very exciting. His ceiling is very high and we are excited see how he develops.”
Dominik Bogdziul, Forward, Binghamton Jr. Senators, NA3HL
Bogdziul is another member of the Knights draft class that has represented his country at World Juniors this past season. A member of team Lithuania in the WJC U20 D2A, Bogdziul scored four goals and eight assists in five games played in a gold place finish in the tournament.
In the NA3HL last season, he tallied 46 goals and 89 assists in 50 games played for the Binghamton Jr. Senators.
“Dominik creates a ton of space and offense for his teammates,” said Whiteside. “His speed along with his skill set make him a threat all over the ice.”
Kolby Klingenmeyer, Defenseman, Colorado Thunderbirds U16, T1EHL U16
The most recent addition to the Knights tender class, Klingenmeyer is a right-handed defenseman born in the year 2000. Still just 16, Klingenmeyer is coming off an impressive season for the Colorado Thunderbirds last season, as the 6-1 blueliner scored three goals and 21 assists in 32 regular season games. He added three more goals and five helpers in five playoff games.
“Kolby is a defenseman that brings a nice offensive element to his game,” said Schreiber. “He doesn’t sacrifice size or physicality with that either, which makes him an exciting guy to bring to our defensive group.”
The Anchorage, Alaska native has the ability and production that can’t be ignored.
With the tender class squared away the Knights will add to the list of potential newcomers in the 2017 NAHL Entry Draft, tomorrow at 2 PM EST. The draft will be broadcast on www.hockeytv.com and a live tracker will be available at www.nahldraft.com. Follow live updates on the Knights picks at www.wbsknights.com as we bring you the profiles of each draft pick complete with input from Knights staff.