March 14, 2013

Pros in the Making?

It's a fact that some of the players we are watching right now playing in the NAHL will go on and play professional hockey. Some will only play single A, but there is a chance some will make it the whole way to the NHL.

Since this is the first year for the Johnstown Tomahawks, we're going to focus most of our attention on the previous teams  that would later become the franchise we know as the Tomahawks. At the end though, will take a look at who we think may possibly find themselves in the pro game one day.

First, let's get to know the teams before the Tomahawks. In total, there has been four other teams, that moved from city to city before they found a home in Johnstown, starting the whole way back in 1991.

Michigan/Dearborn Heights Nationals

All Time Record: 208 total games- 43-133-21-11

St. Louis Sting
(1996- 2001)

All Time Record: 270 total games- 98-157-15

Springfield Spirit:

All Time Record: 224 total games- 71-133-20

Wasilla Spirit:
Okay, no this wasn't their logo. It was the same as Springfield's but when I hear Wasilla I think of Palin.

All Time Record: 58 total games- 23-33-2

Alaska Avalanche

All Time Record: 354 total games- 154-167-33

Johnstown Tomahawks

All Time Record: (as of 3/15/2013) 56 total games- 24-20-12


Interesting Note: Johnstown only in their first season has more OTL's then Wasilla, are only three away from St Louis, and eight away from Springfield, and this is our first season.


We won't look at the roster of the Michigan/Dearborn team since those rosters and stats are not available online. So let's jump ahead a little bit.

The St. Louis Sting played a total of five season is Springfield. During that time the team had 142 players play at least one game for the Sting. Out of those players, a total of 39 players have played pro hockey. (about 27 percent)

Below are the names of the players that have, or still play pro, the last pro team or current pro team they play for, and in what league. Note that of the 39 players, 2 currently play in the NHL, and 1 spent some time in the NHL.

St. Louis Sting:

NameTeamLeagueYearNotesDrafted in NHL
Cam JanssenNew Jersey DevilsNHL2013currently in AHLYes
David MossPhoenix CoyotesNHL2013Yes
Yan StastnySt Louis BluesNHL2009currently in DELYes
Jim AbbottIdaho SteelheadsECHL2005Yes
Mark AdamekUtah GrizzliesECHL2012no
Mike AdamekUtah Grizzlies*ECHL2013no longer on rosterno
Josh AkrightKnoxville Ice BearsSPHL2006no
Logan BittleDayton BombersECHL2009Went to Robert Morrisno
Gary BowmanElmira JackalsUHL2005only 6 gamesno
David BritoSan Diego GullsWCHL2001only 1 gameno
Stacey BublitzPort Huron Border CatsUHL2002no
George CantrallJacksonville BarracudasSPHL2006no
John ChainMacon TraxACHL2003echl too (7 games)no
Bernie ChmielRio Grande Vally CHL2008Wheeling Nailers in 07no
Brandon DavisEvansville IceMenAAHA2009no
Connor DunlopTrenton TitansECHL2005no
Per FernhallBoras HCSwe-12011no
Marcus ForsbergHuddinge IKSwe-12008no
Andy FranckRio Grande Vally CHL2010Nailers 05-07no
Tony GiacaloneChicago BlazeAAHL2010no
Ethan GrahamRitten RenonItaly2012no
Michael HeindlBayreuth ESVGerObL2006no
Tom KaimanBaton Rouge KingfishECHL2003no
Brandon KalenieckiPort Huron IcehawksIHL2010no
Richard KazdaBrantford BlastOHASr2007no
Marcel KurisBraunlage EHC2.Gbun2000no
Rae MetzStockton ThunderECHL2006no
Matt MillerBorder City BanditsCHL2001no
Yuri MoscevskyElmira JackalsECHL2008no
Matt PetercakPeoria RivermenECHL199913 pro games totalno
Denny ReaganFayetteville FireAntzSPHL20073 pro gamesno
Dan RohannaHudson Valley BearsEPHL2009no
Aaron SmithWheeling NailersECHL2005no
Brian SteinerBayreuth ESVGerObL2002no
Derek StephensMissouri River OttersUHL20063 pro gamesno
Andy WalbertFlint GeneralsUHL200713 pro games totalno
Nick YoungMissouri River OttersUHL20045 pro gamesno
Tony ZancanaroTrentton DevilsECHL2011no

Springfield played a total of four season in the NAHL. During that time they had 129 players suit up for them, playing at least one game. Out of 129 of those players, 37 players went on to play in the pros. (about 28 percent)

Make sure you look at the chart closely as there is two players on the list with Johnstown Chiefs connections. Also the first four players on the list also played for the St Louis Sting.

Springfield Spirit:

NameTeamLeagueYearNotesDrafted in NHL
Matt MoulsonNew York IslandersNHL2013played only 1 game in NAHLyes
Mark Adamekcheck ST Louis chart
Mike Adamekcheck ST Louis chart
Logan Bittlecheck ST Louis chart
Tony Zancanarocheck ST Louis chart
Justin BodineHudson Valley BearsEPHL20091 pro gameno
Daivd DesanderMichigan MooseAAHL2011no
Jeff DimmenAdirondack PhantomsAHL2013no
Steve DohertyKalamazoo WingsUHL20056 pro gamesno
Sean EricksonTulsa OilersCHL2013no
Shane FosterWichita ThunderCHL2010no
Jordan FoxNottingham PanterhsEIHL2013Wheeling Nailers 2010no
Mitch GanzakHerning Blue FoxDenmark2012Wheeling Nailers 08-10no
Taylor GuayWichita ThunderCHL2010no
Jeff GumaerTulsa OilersCHL2010no
Jay HolladayToledo WalleyeECHL2011no
Bryan JurynecCoventry BlazeEIHL2013no
Gary KalpkowskiDayton BombersECHL2008no
Kyle KraemerOntario ReignECHL2013no
Adam KrugEvensville IceMenECHL2013no longer on rosterno
Patrick MainoMichigan MooseAAHL20111 pro gameno
Eddie NevilleBrooklyn AcesEPHL2009no
Derek NovaTroy BruinsAAHL201114 pro gamesno
Josh PetersonFlint GeneralsIHL20082 pro games (playoffs)no
Matt PiegzaFayetteville FireAntzSPHL201117 pro gamesno
Pete RouleauPort Huron IceHawksIHL2010no
Bill RuggieroDetroit HitmenAAHL2010Johnstown Chiefs 2002no
Eric SlaisKnoxville Ice BearsSPHL2012no
Greg SnitowskyFlint GeneralsUHL2007no
Matt SzypuraDayton GemsCHL2011no
Alex ThymarasRio Grande ValleyCHL20058 pro gamesno
Sam TikkaUtah GrizzliesECHL20122 pro games (playoffs)no
Joe Van CulinDayton GemsECHL2010no
Rolle ViljanenTupelo T-RexAWHL2003no
Merit WaldropAlaska AcesECHL2013no longer on rosterno
Brock WilsonMissouri MavericksCHL2013tried out for Chiefs in 2008no

Wasilla Spirit only played one season before relocating. In their only season, they had 38 players wear a Spirit uniform. Out of those 38 players, 2 players went on to play in the pros. (about 5 percent)

Wasilla Spirit:

NameTeamLeagueYearNotesDrafted in NHL
Jeff Dimmencheck Springfield chart
Jerry KuhnLjubljana Olimpija HKAustria2013no

The most recent team before moving to Johnstown was the Alaska Avalanche. They played a total of six seaons in Palmer AK. A toal of 172 players suited up with the Avalanche, and 6 have gone on to play in the pros. Since the Avalanche played from 2006 to 2012, a lot of their players are still playing at the college level. This will have to be a post that we'll  update later as the years go by, for now though, here are those six players.

Alaska Avalanche:

NameTeamLeagueYearNotesDrafted in NHL
Jeff Dimmencheck Springfield chart
Cory Belisle1000 Islands PrivateersFHL2013no
Jason CohenOrlando Solar BearsECHL2013no
Berkley ScottUtah GrizzliesECHL2013no
Dustin SkinnerDanville DashersFHL2013no
J.J. WaldropBakersfield CondorsECHL20111 pro gameno

Johnstown Tomahawks:

Well as of 3/14/2013, the Tomahawks have three players continuing their careers at Division 1 schools. They are:

Casey NelsonMinnesota State-MankatoWCHA
Chris TruehlAir Force AcademyHockey East
Ian SpencerUniversity of VermontAtlantic Hockey

Out of those three guys I'd say all three have a great chance on playing in the pros, if that's what they choose to do.

Nelson is such a smooth skater, with a great shot from the blue line, and you've got to think four years of college will only improve upon the skills he has. I think he could easily break an ECHL team's line up.

It's hard to judge Truehl (or any goalie) because there are so many different factors you've got to take into account. Not only how he plays, but also concider what leagues he's played in, and for what teams. Johnstown has been a decent team this year but our defense has been shaky. We currently are first in our division with most goals against. (172)

Truehl does have a winning record though and a save percentage above .900. Basicly a save percentage is a very good indicator on how good of a goalie a goalie is. A goalie could have a record of 5-10-2, but a safe percentage of .914. What does that say? The team he plays for probably isn't that good, but he gets the job done.

Could Truehl play pro? I think he needs to get a little bigger in net, but he has good movement, a good glove, and is the type of goalie that can steal you a game. It'll be interesting to see how he does in college.

Spencer isn't the fastest player and for a D-man he's on the smaller size, but in the game of hockey size isn't everything. If he can improve his speed and use his body more in college he might devleop into a minor league pro player. Only time will tell.

Other players currently on the Tomahawks that may have a chance of playing in the pros, Cody Gylling, and Mitch Kontny are obvious for their scoring prowess.

Cody Boyd has good size, uses the body well, and for being a big forward, he's a great skater. I personally think if he can improve his puck handeling and his shot, he'd be another guy that could make a living in the pros.

A player that I hope returns to the Tomahawks next season, is Jaycob McCombs. I think there's potential in his game to turn into a Gylling type of scorer, with a little more physical upside. Hopefully he can get healthy soon, because Johnstown could really use him.

Remember these are only my opinions , I am not a scout, even though if the Tomahawks offered it to me, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

Who do you think has the best shot to go pro on the Johnstown Tomahawks 2012-2013 roster. Tell us below in the comment section.

Go 'Hawks.

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