The Fargo Force selected defenseman Matt Kessel in the first round with the eleventh overall pick in Phase 2 of the 2017 USHL Draft conducted on Tuesday, May 2. The coaching staff selected 20 total players, drafting 14 forwards, five defensemen and one goaltender. All players will compete for a 2017-18 roster spot at Fargo’s main tryout camp this June in Fargo.
Matt Kessel, a 16 year old out of Bloomfield Hills, MI, suited up for Detroit Compuware U16 in the HPHL (High Performance Hockey League) during the 2016-17 season. He played in 70 total games scoring 18 goals and adding 28 assists for 46 total points. He ended the season with a plus/minus rating of +69 and had 108 penalty minutes. The defenseman is committed to Miami University (Ohio) following his junior hockey career.
“Today’s Phase 2 of the USHL Draft is extremely important in building the Force for the 17-18 season,” said head coach Cary Eades. “Good defenseman are hard to find, so that was a focal point of our scouting staff – especially early on in the draft. We then filled in other needs with some versatile forwards – some with a high skill level and others with a more physical / aggressive style. We can’t wait to get these guys on the ice at our main tryout camp in June. Look for a bunch of these guys to wear the black and blue next season, while others can be placed on our affiliate list where they can develop elsewhere next season for future Force teams.”
For Phase 2, USHL teams selected players from multiple birth years (1997-2001) looking to fill their protected lists with players who will compete for roster spots for the 2017-18 season. Phase 2 continued until all USHL teams had secured 45 players on their Initial Protected List. That list includes affiliate players from the 2016-17 season, players selected in Phase 1, and players signed to a tender.
Being drafted doesn’t guarantee a spot on the team as all players selected will be invited to the Fargo Force Main tryout camp June 4-7, 2017 in Fargo to compete for a spot on the 23-man roster for the 2017-18 season.
For more information regarding the draft, please visit the official USHL website.
The Fargo Force selected Josh Nodler eleventh overall in the first round in Phase 1 of the 2017 USHL Draft on Monday night. Through ten rounds, the coaching staff drafted a total of nine players: five forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender.
Nodler, a forward out of Oak Park, MI, spent the 2016-17 season with Detroit HoneyBaked in the High Performance Hockey League U16. The center had 58 total points through 66 games played with 14 goals and 44 assists. He finished the season with a plus/minus rating of +43. He’s committed to play at Michigan State University following his junior hockey career.
“We’re excited Nodler was available to us,” said head coach Cary Eades. “We watched him a lot this year and have been impressed with his intensity, 200 foot game and hockey sense. He’s a complete player and we look forward to being a part of his development path prior to him enrolling at Michigan State.”
Each year, the drafts are held in which every USHL team participates in several rounds to select players for the upcoming season and beyond. For Phase 1 of the USHL Draft, only players who were born in 2001 are eligible to be drafted. This single-age portion of the USHL Draft allows teams to choose players who are traditionally not ready to play in the USHL the following season but will continue to develop at lower levels of hockey in preparation for USHL play in future seasons. The Club retains the draftee’s rights for three years and can add the player to its active roster at any point during the season.