On Monday, the Dubuque Fighting Saints completed Phase I of the USHL Draft. Phase I is referred to as the Futures Draft and allows teams to select players who will likely not play in the league for three to four years down the road. The draft, which started at 6pm, was comprised of 10 rounds, with the Saints making a selection per round. With the draft now behind us, we decided to take a look back at each pick the Saints made with a more in depth look at the player. Fighting Saints General Manager Kalle Larsson provided commentary and notes on each of the players selected.
Round 1- F Kenny Connors: 6’0’’ 170lbs, Glen Mills, PA
Connors was selected 5th overall by the Fighting Saints in the Phase I draft. The 16-year old forward is a left shooting center. Connors played for the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 16U squad at the AYHL 16U level and the T1EHL level. He had 31 points in 22 games at the AYHL level and 21 points in 19 games during his tenure in his T1EHL campaign. In total, Connors grabbed 22 goals and 30 assists. Connors is committed to UMass (Amherst) for the 2021-22 season.
“When we had the fifth pick, we knew we could get someone incredibly solid. We felt that Connors was the best forward available. He is a two-way player with high skill, and he has the ability to make plays and create all over the ice.”
Round 2- G Hobie Hedquist: 6’1’’ 163lbs, Heron Lake, MN
Hedquist was the first goalie off the board in the Phase I draft. The Colorado College commit- for the 2022-23 season- was a mainstay in net for the Sioux Falls Power U16 team. Hedquist played only nine games but was stellar in net for those nine games. Hedquist had a .908 save percentage and a 1.76 GAA. In three playoff games he had a 2.01 GAA.
“Everyone in our draft room agreed that this was the best goalie in the country at his age group. We are very excited to get him in the second round and felt that he was a first-round talent coming in to the draft.”
Round 3- D Max Burkholder: 5’8’’ 161lbs, Chaska, MN
Burkholder completed a very balanced first three rounds for the Saints, giving them a forward, goalie and defenseman after three picks. Just like their previous selection, Burkholder is a Colorado College commit. The defenseman is currently just 15 years old but put up impressive numbers in his last season for Chaska Bantam AA where he served as captain.
“Right shot defenseman are very hard to come by. Max was very high on our list, so we were thrilled to get him in the third round. He is a very mobile player who can skate up in the rush and also has the ability to get back defensively with ease.”
Round 4- F Nick Roukounakis: 6’0’’ 225lbs, Pembroke, MA
Roukounakis was the four-college commit drafted by the Fighting Saints in the first four rounds. The Boston University commit is a left-shot at the forward position. He has played one year of prep hockey at Thayer Academy. In that season, Roukounakis had 15 points in 19 games for Thayer.
“He is a big, strong kid who has a strong commitment when you talk about Boston University. He has tried out for the NTDP. He is someone we targeted because of his current ability but also because of the huge upside he possesses.”
Round 5- D Riley Rosenthal: 6’2’’ 220lbs, Boca Raton, FL
Much like Roukounakis, Rosenthal is a sizeable player who tried out for the NTDP. The biggest difference between the two is Rosenthal adds size to the blue line instead of up front. The Florida native was the second right-shot defenseman on the Saints draft board. For the South Florida Hockey Academy U16 team, Rosenthal was dynamic, peppering 54 points in 60 games from the blue line. He was the first player in the draft acquired by Dubuque who does not have a college commitment yet.
“Rosenthal is a great grab for us because of how young he is. He is almost an ’04 birth year. He has good size and a great stick and just like Roukounakis he was a player who tried out for the NTDP.”
Round 6- F Max Montes: 5’7’’ 146lbs
Max Montes is another younger player who the Saints felt had tremendous upside. The skilled forward was drafted by the London Junior Knights of the OHL in the 13th round this season. Montes played for the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals U16 team where he produced 41 points in 36 games. His split was nearly even, securing 21 goals and 20 assists.
“Max was another pick we were very excited to get at that point in the draft. He is an extremely quick, fast center who is strong in the faceoff dot. He has room to grow, both literally and figuratively, but he has talent that is evident.”
Round 7- F Myles Hylman: 5’7’’ 159lbs, Blackfalds, AB, CAN
Hylman was the first Canadian player selected in the draft by the Fighting Saints. Hylman was nearly as close to Rosenthal in terms of youth, being one of the younger players selected in the draft by Dubuque. Hylman was dynamic for Northern Alberta Elite 15s, where he notched 58 points in 36 games.
“From everything we heard and saw, this is a kid who plays with a lot of energy and one who always plays hard. He put up as many points as Carter Savoie, one of our affiliates, did in the same league and on the same team in fact.”
Round 8- F Connor Kurth: 5’11’’ 181lbs, Elk River, MN
Anywhere Kurth went in 2018-19, he put up points. The big forward was dynamite for two different teams in his most recent season. With the MNBEL Kings, Kurth had 29 points in 14 games. Not to be outdone by himself, he went on to add 29 points in 13 games at Gentry Academy.
“He loves to shoot the puck and you can see that in his numbers. This is a guy who loves to score and gives himself a good chance to because of how much he shoots. He led the USHL combine in points and has shown great upside.”
Round 9- F Ryan Del Monte: 5’11’’ 161lbs, Mississauga, ONT, CAN
Del Monte was the second Canadian player taken by the Fighting Saints in the Phase I draft. Del Monte is from the Toronto Area and is a Harvard commit. He put up 69 points in just 42 games for the Toronto Nationals Minor Midget AAA team. Before that, during the 2018-19 season, he grabbed 37 points in 25 games in the GTMMHL division.
“When we looked at Ryan, we felt that he was one of the best players coming out of the Toronto area. There isn’t much bad you can pick out of Ryan’s game; he is one of those players that is just overall very solid in a lot of ways.”
Round 10- D Declan Loughnane: 5’11’’ 190lbs, Milton, MA
Loughnane, the final pick of the Saints draft, was also the final defenseman taken by Dubuque. During the 2018-19 season, he played his first season of Prep-Hockey at Boston College High. Loughnane is another late ’03 birthyear, with his birthday at the end of November.
“We wanted to get as many right shot defensemen as possible and Declan added to that for us. He has a lot of upside and is still very young so there is plenty of room to grow. We were thrilled with being able to get him in the last round and felt like he was as good of a 10th round pick as you could have gotten.”