Tag Archives: Tucker Chapman

Knights Roster Breakdown II: Forecheck Buzzing with Balance  

A balanced group of forwards look to bolster Knights attack in 2017-18

With each year, a new crop of Knights arrives at the Revolution Ice Centre to make their case for an NAHL roster spot. This year is no exception as large shoes have been left to fill by the team’s most recent departures. Gone are forwards Joe Schuler and Sam Antonitsch, who are headed to Colby College and Europe, respectively, while veteran Paul Maust will be vying for a spot in the USHL.

On the ice, that leaves a significant loss of production to replace. Maust was second on the team in points last year, while Antonitsch was tied for second in goals. Schuler brought top-shelf toughness and steady defensive play with each shift, particularly on the penalty kill. All three were vocal members of the locker room, with years of experience playing junior hockey.

Beyond replacing players moving on, there are other roster spots open to competition. The good news for the Knights-they have many skilled and hard-working applicants.

The International Pool

In the NAHL, teams are allowed four players from outside the US on their roster. Last season, imports Dorian Dawson, Markuss Komuls and Sam Antonitsch were major pieces in the Knights lineup.

Tender Dominik Bogdziul was unable to make it to main camp, but his skill and resume are more than worthy of bringing him to training camp.

The Lithuanian has spent the last two years stateside, playing in the NA3HL. In 85 games, he registered 63 goals and 105 assists.

“Dominik creates a ton of space and offense for his teammates,” said Knights assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “His speed along with his skillset make him a threat all over the ice.”

Alongside his impressive play in the US, the ’98 birth year has represented his home country in four consecutive seasons at the World Junior Classic in both the U18 and U20 age groups.

Tender Tyrone Bronte is a forward from Australia. The ’99 birth year has played in the NAPHL 18U for the past two seasons, scoring 21-35-56 in 48 games. Like Bogdziul, he has represented his country at World Juniors. For Australia’s U18 team, he scored six goals and six assists in five games last season on his way to a D2B gold-medal finish.

“Tyrone brings great offensive instincts and skills to our organization right away,” said Knights head scout Justin Schreiber. “He thinks the game really well, which pushed him to lead the NAPHL in scoring this past year.”

Tomas Koblizek is a big-bodied, 17-year old turning heads wherever he goes. The Czechoslovakian forward is eligible for the 2018 NHL draft and has even achieved top-100 ranking by some NHL draft pundits.

“Tomas is a player that’s already proven himself at an international level,” said Schreiber. “He was a point-per-game player last year at the U17 World Hockey Challenge against the best 2000’s in the world. We are excited to see what he can do with his impressive offensive skillset in North America.”

Koblizek couples a 6-2, 180-pound frame with a knack for generating plays. He picked up five assists in five games in the World Hockey Challenge last season. He’s spent most of his career playing in the Czech U16 and U18 leagues with 139 points in the past four years.

Kiryll Ulanov, son of NHL and KHL veteran Igor Ulanov, is looking to form his own legacy as he moves forward in his hockey career.

The forward’s towering 6-4 frame was hard to miss at camp, and so too was his day-two performance in which he picked up three assists on three consecutive goals. The lefty has prior experience playing junior hockey in Canada.

The Tenders

Expectations were high for Josh Fricks as he entered main camp. In 2016-17, he tallied 23 goals and 35 assists in 40 games played with the Sioux Falls Jr. Stampede U18.

“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.”

Watching his electric speed at main camp left no doubt that the Knights excitement for the ‘98 forward is well-warranted. Veteran Matt Kidney tabbed Fricks as one of the most impressive players he saw at camp, as the pair played three games together, often on the same line.

“He’s opened my eyes pretty wide,” said Kidney. “He’s very fast, a little bit like Curtis Carlson.”

Jack Olmstead isn’t a stranger to the Knights. He played in two NAHL games as an affiliate player last year, scoring his first NAHL goal and flashing impressive hands and speed in his audition. The staff liked what they saw from the 19-year old off the ice as well.

“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.”

The lefty forward continued the trend of impressive showings from tenders at camp by showing off quick hands and a hearty helping of skill. He emerged as a leading scorer, with 2-2-4 in four games, plus two game-winning goals in shootouts.

The Draft Class 

Gabe Temple, the Knights most recent first-round pick, displayed the power element to his game, working alongside veteran Mike Gelatt for portions of camp. It was while playing alongside the latter when Temple took a slick pass and flipped it backhand for a slick goal.

“It’s a little bit faster here,” said Temple on his main camp impressions. “There’s a lot of good guys here with a lot of skill. It’s pretty fun though, I like the competitiveness. I’m a big forward, I can put the puck in the net, I make plays, I have a lot of speed.”

“Gabe projects as an impact player,” said Whiteside. “That blend of talent and want-to is something we value highly on our team.”

As with any member of their draft class, the Knights were eager to see what fifth-round pick Lincoln Hatten would bring to the ice at main camp. At each stage of the scouting process, the Dallas Stars U16 product made an impression on those the Knights sent to scout him.

“He’s a player who got better every time we evaluated him,” said Whiteside. “He’s a skilled, big forward and stood out on one of the better midget rosters in the country.”

Hatten was a consistent force across the ice at camp, showing a finishing ability to accompany his bruising tenacity, registering three goals and two assists in four games played.

Tucker Chapman, the team’s sixth round pick, is a long-time veteran of the USHS playing in his home state of Minnesota. Chapman was a standout there, finishing in the top five in goals, assists, points, and games played in Lourdes Eagles history (per eliteprospects.com).

“Tucker is a skilled forward that uses his elite skating ability to create space for himself on the rush,” said Schreiber.

The Invites

A local product from Shavertown, Pennsylvania, Chris McGrath came to camp with a strong pedigree. His brother Patrick plays for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, the AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins. McGrath, a former member of the Knights 16UA teams from 2012-2014, held his own at Knights main camp, scoring goals on both day one and two before playing in both all-star games on day three.

Another former Knight returning to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area is Alex Rowella. After playing youth hockey within the organization until 2015, he has spent the last two years in his home state of Connecticut playing for the EHL’s Connecticut Oilers. A 6-1, 190-pound ‘97, Rowella is coming off a strong season in which he scored 20 goals and 17 assists in 47 games.

Rounding out the forwards is yet another familiar face in Tyler Uravage. Like Rowella, Uravage played at various levels of Knights youth hockey until 2015. He spent last season with the Binghamton Jr. Senators of the NA3HL, lighting up the score sheet with 33-69-102 in 52 games. At main camp, he skated well alongside NAHL veterans Paul Maust and Reed Robinson, picking up three goals and two assists in five games played.

The USHL

Back in 2016, Knights 2017 second-round pick Justin Engelkes was selected in the 2016 USHL Futures Draft by the Des Moines Buccaneers. As such, he’ll attempt to make their roster in the coming weeks. If he does not, the Knights can add him back to their own. The talented two-way skater offers versatility and physicality, and is already committed to play division one hockey for Miami University (Ohio).

“Justin is another quality two-way forward that plays the NAHL-style game,” said Schreiber. “He plays a very aggressive, physical style of hockey and can put the puck in the net as well.”

With main camp in the rear-view mirror, this young group will soon be competing to make the Knights roster to start the season. The best teams often must make hard decisions come roster cut deadlines, and in that regard, the coaching staff will have a lot to think about. With that said, those are the types of decisions that put together good hockey teams that produce great hockey players.

The Knights report to training camp at the beginning of September and will open their season against the New Jersey Titans at the Revolution Ice Centre at 7:30 pm on Friday, September 15th. Tickets can be pre-ordered by calling (570)-883-1100.

Eight Picks Complete Knights 2017 Draft Class

The Knights crossed two major items off their offseason checklist following Tuesday’s NAHL Entry Draft. With eight new draft picks in the fold, the team is another step closer to completing construction of their 2017-18 roster.

“It was a good week,” said Knights NAHL head coach Tom Kowal. “Between finishing out our tender class and our draft class, we’ve added some impressive talent to bring to camp.”

With the 12th overall selection in the draft, the Knights made Gabe Temple, a right-handed forward from Fowlerville, Michigan, their first pick.

“Gabe is a skilled, gritty forward,” said Knights NAHL assistant coach Andrew Whiteside. “He’s an impressive skater; he plays bigger than his size, and he’s ahead of the curve with his hockey smarts.”

The 2000 birth year, already standing at 6 feet and 183-pounds, made a name for himself playing in the T1EHL U16 for Victory Honda U16 last season. He scored 10 goals and 13 assists in 32 regular season games and built on that with 2-7-9 in four playoff games.

Turning 17 in just two weeks, the Knights top pick is already committed to playing division one hockey for Michigan Tech in the WCHA.

“Gabe  projects as an impact player,” said Whiteside. “That blend talent and want-to is something we value highly on our team.”

The Knights dipped into a talented pool of offensive prospects again by taking Justin Engelkes, a left-handed forward from Verona, Wisconsin in round two. Another 2000-born prospect, Engelkes’ potential has earned him a college commitment to Miami University (Ohio).

“Justin is another quality two-way forward that plays the NAHL-style game,” said Knights scout Justin Schreiber. “He plays a very aggressive, physical style of hockey and can put the puck in the net as well.”

At 5-11, 185 and still room to grow, Engelkes brings with him the valuable experience of playing 37 games for Team Wisconsin U16 last year. That was supplemented by six games in the USHS and five games at the USA-S16 development camp in which he scored three goals and three assists in five games played.

In round three, the Knights spent the first of two picks on Riley Prattson, a ’99 forward from the Selects Hockey Academy 18U. With the selection, the Knights added a third player already-committed to play division one hockey. Set to skate for Providence College in 2018-19, Prattson immediately brings scoring touch to the Knights roster.

“He’s a fast, skilled scorer,” said Whiteside. “He might not be the biggest player, but his speed and ability to get up ice and make plays with the puck are dangerous.”

A right-handed shot, Prattson has been an offensive asset every stop of the way in his young hockey career, most recently scoring four goals and seven assists in five games played in the USPHL 18U.

The California-native has partaken in USA Selects Development Camps in each of the last three years. This past trip saw him pick up four goals and three helpers in five contests.

After Prattson was taken with the 57th pick, the Knights used pick number 58  on goalie Christian Stoever.

“Christian is a super-talented, young goaltender that will be able to jump in and play juniors right away,” said Schreiber. “We are very excited about Christian’s future and his time in the Knights crease.”

Stoever joins Gabe Temple as the second member of Victory Honda U16 to join the Knights roster, where Stoever played in 19 games last season.

With an 8-6-1 record and a 2.74 GAA, the Northville, Michigan-native will have an opportunity to help fill the crease following the departure of Grant Valentine.

The fourth round saw the Knights add Mason Klee as the lone blue-liner in the team’s 2017 draft class. A two-year veteran of the Colorado Thunderbirds, Klee built off a strong U16 season in 2015-16 with an even more productive U18 performance last year.

With four goals and nine assists in 31 games, the righty, ’99 birth year proved his dependability is not limited to his own end of the ice.

“Mason is a versatile defenseman that can make plays at both ends of the ice,” said Schreiber. “We valued his skating ability and his poise to keep things simple and not make mistakes under pressure.”

In round five, the Knights went back to the offense, bolstering their forecheck with the addition of Lincoln Hatten. A 2000-birth year with a 6 foot 2 inch frame, Hatten makes an impact with his physicality up and down the ice.

“He’s a player who got better every time we evaluated him,” said Whiteside. “He’s a skilled, big forward and stood out on one of the better midget rosters in the country.”

Hatten scored nine goals and 12 assists in 21 regular season games for the Dallas Stars U16 team in the T1EHL in 2016-17. He added two more assists in the playoffs, confirming the right-handed shot’s ability to contribute consistently in the offensive zone.

With their sixth round pick, the Knights added another righty forward in Tucker Chapman. Chapman has spent the last five years as a mainstay for the Lourdes Eagles of the USHS, finishing 2nd in school history in games played (128), 3rd in goals (60), 5th in assists (44) and 4th in points (104) per eliteprospects.com.

“Tucker is a skilled forward that uses his elite skating ability to create space for himself on the rush,” said Schreiber. “We expect Tucker to come in and contribute for the Knights right away.”

In the seventh round, the Knights made their final selection with the pick of Shawn Kennedy.

“Shawn is a player that’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas” said Whiteside. “He’s big, he plays a mature game, and he’ll take the puck right to the net.”

Coming off back-to-back years as a CCHL Champion with the Carleton Place Canadians, the Ontario-native has been a consistent producer of points and minutes. In 127 games over the past two seasons, Kennedy has recorded 27 goals and 38 assists between the regular season and playoffs.

“He’s a big, power, two-way forward with a really high upside.”

With the eight draft picks and ten tenders, the Knights have completed their 30-man protected list this week by adding 11 forwards, five defensmen and two goaltenders.

“We feel good about the balance of this group in their ages, talents and past experience,” said Kowal of his new crop of players. “Having a lot of guys with multiple years of junior eligibility left gives our coaches a lot of upside to work with.”

Of the 18 players added from the draft and tender process, there are four players born in 1998, seven in 1999, and seven in 2000.

“We have a good veteran core coming back from last year’s team. Four of our tenders played and practiced with our NAHL team last year and another played in our division. Between our staff and having those veterans to help teach these younger players really gives us confidence in their development and how our roster is shaping up heading into next season.”

With much of the offseason major lifting under way there’s still much work to be done. The Knights will host an Open Camp in St. Paul, Minnesota June 16th to the 18th, open to any 1997-2001 birth year interested in trying out for the Knights.

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The Knights will then hold an invite-only main camp from their home rink of the Revolution Ice Centre from July 20-23rd as they fill out the rest of their roster for the 2017-18 season.