It was a busy second day of the NHL Draft as six players with Youngstown Phantoms ties were selected.
While not the first Phantom-affiliated player to be picked, forward Adam Ingram highlights class, selected 82nd overall by the Nashville Predators.
Ingram had 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) in 54 games with the Phantoms.
The Manitoba native was in Montreal for the draft and had the full draft experience.
“A bit at a loss for words right now,” Ingram said at a post-election press conference. “It’s special to have my family here with me too.”
During the press conference, Ingram joked that the Predators were a division rival of his childhood team, the nearby Winnipeg Jets, and that he was not a fan of success. Preds when he was younger, but things have changed now.
“I was always a Jets fan growing up, I knew (Nashville) beat us in the playoffs a few times, as a fan I didn’t really like it, but now I could enjoy it,” Ingram said.
So what is Music City going to get Ingram? A big forward who can slot into center or wing, with great vision of the ice and a great shot. Ingram’s reconnaissance reports rank him as having an advantage in the middle of the six.
“He’s a great forward who can skate, elite skills, high IQ, find those breakaways and what he wears the most is already an NHL shot,” said Phantoms co-GM Ryan Kosecki. “He can beat goalkeepers flawlessly, which is rare these days.”
Prior to the draft, Kosecki was comparable to Mike Hoffman, who played for Montreal last season, as well as Yegor Afanasyev, whom Kosecki helped coach at Muskegon. Ironically, Afanasyev is also a Nashville draft pick, taken in the second round in 2019.
Before Nashville however, Ingram will go to St. Cloud State University. After being drafted by the Western Hockey League, one of three major junior leagues in Canada, Ingram chose to explore other options. One of them was the college road.
“I was a late grower, so I felt like it was good for me,” Ingram spoke about his decision to go the college route. “I didn’t get drafted into the Western (Hockey) League, so it gave me the opportunity to look for other options, especially with the pandemic, it gave me more opportunities, so I moved to Youngstown this year and I think it went really well for me.
Swedish defenseman Filip Nordberg was the first to leave the roster, selected 64th overall by the Ottawa Senators with the team’s first draft pick.
Nordberg was a third-round pick (44 overall) by the Phantoms in the USHL draft earlier this year. According to eliteprospects.com, he is expected to spend this season with Södertälje Sportklubb J20 in the Swedish junior league. If he chooses to make the jump to North America, the Phantoms own his USHL rights.
A selection of projects, Nordberg is going to need a lot of development before they’re ready to make an impact in the professional game. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 207 pounds, his biggest weakness is listed as his skating, but he has good offensive ability to pair with his size.
Ranked 76th overall, the San Jose Sharks selected defenseman Michael Fisher, who spent the past four seasons at St. Mark’s School, a high school in Massachusetts. Scheduled to attend Northeastern this year, he’s unlikely to play a game in Youngstown, but like Nordberg, the Phantoms own his USHL rights if he leaves college.
Fisher had 50 points (13 goals, 37 assists) at the high school level this season and was ranked 42nd by eliteprospects.com.
After Ingram’s selection at 82, things quieted down on the Youngstown front for a while, but picked up again in the seventh round, with three final selections with phantom ties.
The first of the seventh-round trio was James Fisher – no relationship listed with Michael – who was selected by the Columbus Blue Jackets.
James, a 6-foot-2 right-handed hitter from Wilmington, Massachusetts, had 28 points (17 goals, 11 assists) in 27 games with Belmont Hill School last season.
He’s set to attend Northeastern University in the 2023-24 season, so a move to Youngstown is likely, where he’ll refine his game and prepare for the college game.
The Senators took another Phantoms-affiliated player in the seventh round, selecting forward Tyson Dyck, who scored 75 points (34 goals, 41 assists) in 54 games with the Cranbook Bucks of the Columbia Hockey League. British.
Dyck is also expected to play at Youngstown this season before going to UMass the following year.
San Jose native Reese Laubach was the ninth California-born player selected by a California team, selected by his hometown Sharks 217th overall. It’s a special moment as Laubach came through the San Jose Jr. Sharks system, playing from peewee to 16U AAA.
He played two games for the Phantoms last season and Youngstown is also an option for the striker this coming season. He is set to start college at Minnesota State Mankato in the 2023-24 season.
Professional teams talk about the merits of copywriting and development. Now that stage one is complete, it’s on to stage two, where the Ghosts step in.
When Kosecki and his co-general manager Jason Deskins stepped into the dual role of managing the Phantoms, they took steps to make Youngstown a true destination for hockey development.
“I think the most important thing for us is our day-to-day operations in terms of what we can offer them from an on-ice resource perspective and then what we can offer them from an off-ice resource perspective. ice”, said Deskins. “We are making a lot of changes to the organization. (Kosecki) did an amazing job with the day-to-day operational perspective and made sure the details are where they need to be for our players.
“Ryan Ward, our new head coach, is very structured. Thus, our children entering this program will be structured on a day-to-day basis. They’re going to have individual skill pods, they’re going to have team workouts, they’re going to have individual workouts where we’ve actually hired a strength and conditioning coach who’s going to be onsite with us every day, and the video components we have put in place for gamers will be second to none.
The Phantoms’ summer camp begins July 11 and ends July 17 at Printscape Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.