MIDDLETOWN, New Jersey – The New Jersey Titans completed its second ever NAHL Draft this past Tuesday and selected 15 players over the course of 17 rounds.
Lead by new Head Coach and General Manager, Craig Doremus, the Titans enjoyed two first-round picks in this year’s draft by obtaining the no. 9 overall pick in addition to already having the no. 16 pick.
“What a special, exciting day to be a New Jersey Titan. The NAHL draft is a thrilling experience for players and club personnel alike. I couldn’t be more proud of our Director of Scouting Ryan Cruthers and his staff on the job they did. Ryan along with Assistant General Manager and Assistant Coach, Bobby DiRico worked tirelessly on preparing for the draft and the game plan they put together was top of the line, said Doremus.
“We were able to make a few moves to help our team and feel really good about our draft class. We were able to add some great talent at all positions and we believe main camp will be a true battle to make our 2016-2017 roster. We eagerly anticipate the start of main camp in July.”
With their first pick at no.9, the Titans drafted defenseman Rune Kirby from Culver Military Academy Prep. Kirby, ’97, spent the past two seasons with Culver and registered eight goals and 13 assists for 21 career points. The five-foot-nine Ludington, MI native enjoyed a career high in goals last season with five while collecting eight points in 32 games played.
With another pick in round one at no.16, the Titans then selected defenseman Spencer Stanley from Detroit Little Caesars 18U. Stanley, ’98, skated in 23 games last season for Little Caesars and grabbed five goals and seven assists for 12 points. The six-foot South Lyon, MI product finished second in points among defensemen.
In the fourth round, the Titans selected forward Matt Novo (74th overall) from the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 18U. Novo, ’98, played in 32 games last season and tallied 20 goals and 13 assists for 33 points. The five-foot-seven Tonawanda, NY product also collected four power-play goals.
Forward Dan DeBlouw was chosen nine picks later in round four going 83rd overall. The six-foot Chesterfield, MI native tallied three goals and four assists for Detroit Little Caesars 18U last season.
With their final pick in round four, the Titans selected forward Mason Vukonich, ’98, 88th overall. The six-foot-three Chandler, AZ native netted eight goals and 25 assists for 33 points while skating in 32 games for the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes.
In the fifth round, 112th overall, the Titans went after forward Dan Eruzione from the Walpole Express. The five-foot-ten Winthrop, MA product skated in 40 games for the Express and collected 19 goals and 22 assists for 41 points.
“The NAHL draft process was fun and exciting to be a part of. The entire staff worked really word in preparation for this day,” said DiRico. “I would like to congratulate all the players that we have selected, and looking forward to main camp in July.”
Heading into round seven, New Jersey went back to the blueline and selected Ryan Wheeler 160th overall. The five-foot-ten Lancaster, NY native skated for the Jr. Sabres and grabbed five goals and 22 assists in 51 games.
Round eight saw another defenseman fly off the board, 184th overall, as the Titans picked Little Caesars’ Stephan MacDonald. The six-foot Grosse Pointe, MI native nabbed seven points (3g, 4a) in 22 games.
With one pick in round nine, New Jersey went with forward Jordan Kaplan (208th overall). The five-foot-nine Kaplan, ’97, a Bridgewater, NJ product, skated for Salisbury Prep last year and totaled 14 goals and 17 assists for 31 points in 26 games.
Forward Mitchell Hall, ’98, went in the 10th round as well, 221st overall, to the Titans. The six-foot-three Milford, MI native skated in 14 games for Little Caesars 18U and registered five points.
The Titans went with two goalies with their next two picks in rounds 10 and 11. First, the Titans selected Brandon Bussi, ’98, 232nd overall, from the Long Island Gulls 18U. The six-foot-two Sound Beach, NY product registered a 93.0 saves percentage and 3.00 goals against average last year.
“We feel we were able to get a lot of the guys that we had highlighted on our draft board. Craig put a plan in place from day one and I feel we executed that plan. I want to thank the entire scouting staff, Bobby and Craig for all the effort they put in to make our first draft day as a staff a successful one,” said Cruthers. “I am looking forward to seeing all of our guys at main camp in July."
Thomas Walker went next to New Jersey in round 11 (256th overall). The six-foot Spotswood, NJ native nabbed 12 wins for the Titans 16U AAA team last season along with a 92.9 saves percentage and 1.13 goals against average.
With their final three picks, the Titans went with three forwards in Nick Boyagain (Round 12, 280th overall) from the Albany Academy Cadets, Shane Haviland (Round 13, 304th overall) and Evan Wisocky (Round 14, 328th overall).
Boyagain (East Greenbush, NY), ’97, a Scared Heart University (Atlantic Hockey, D1) commit, scored 35 goals and 25 assists for 51 points while at Albany Academy.
Haviland (Sea Grit, NJ), ’99, collected nine goals and 25 assists for 34 points with the Titans 16U.
Wisocky (Paramus, NJ), ‘98, a UCONN (Hockey East, D1) skated in 30 games for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL and totaled two goals and three assists.
The entire Titans organization would like to congratulate all their draft picks as well as all of the Titans youth players who were drafted into the NAHL. The 2016-17 season is right around the corner so don’t miss any of the action by getting your season tickets today. Log onto njtitansnahl.com or call 888-997-GOAL!