With the first games of the North American Hockey League’s 2021-22 hockey season exactly two months away, the Aberdeen Wings were busy Wednesday afternoon filling up the remaining spots on their roster.
Each team is allowed 30 players. First, they take a look at their returning list of players, and then add their list of tenders. From there, that’s how many draft picks each team receives.
For Aberdeen, Wednesday’s draft added seven new faces to their list.
Since the Wings finished the 2020-21 season with the best overall record, they were last of the 29 teams to make a pick.
Their first selection was Anthony Messuri, chosen in the first round and 29th overall. The 5’9″ 165 lb. forward from Arlington, MA started his 2020-21 season with the NAHL’s Northeast Generals before moving to the NCDC. Most recently, the ’01 Northeastern University commit played with the Northern Cyclones.
“He’s an exciting player,” Steven Jennings, director of player personnel said. “Fans will quickly see the similarities to Thomas Manty. He plays with an edge, but also has the ability to make plays.”
The Wing’s second pick came in the second round with Barron Woodring, chosen 58th overall. The 6’2″ 172 lb. forward from Chicago, IL most recently played in the NCDC with the New Jersey Rockets, where he scored eight goals and added 15 assists in 38 games.
“He’s a 2002 forward with good size and a year of junior hockey behind him,” Jennings said. “A Chicago native who spent last season in the NCDC, he had a strong playoff run as well.”
The Wings had two picks in the third round — first, chosen 80th overall, was William Gilson, a 6’0″ 170 lb. defenseman from Stamford, CT. Gilson played his 2020-21 season in the NCDC, appearing in 22 games for the Boston Jr. Blues and, most recently, 17 games with the New Jersey Rockets, scoring one goal and adding 12 assists over the course of the year.
“Will was a draft pick last season, but Covid concerns kept him on the east coast.” Jennings said. “Will is a smart defenseman with a good stick who will help our power play.”
Maksis Brimanis was also chosen in the third round and 87th overall. At 6’2″ and 198 lb., the forward from Anchorage, AK, who has dual U.S. and Lativan citizenship, is a graduate of the Culver Military Academy most recently played with the NCDC’s Philadelphia Hockey Club.
“Maksis plays an honest 200-ft. game and will bring a veteran presence to the room,” Jennings said. “He played in the NCDC last season when the BCHL was unable to play.”
The Wings’ fifth pick came in Round 4, 116th overall, where they chose Mitchell LaFay from Stratford, ON, Canada. The 6’4″ 190 lb. forward played his 2020-21 season with the USPHL’s Elmira Junior Enforcers, where he recorded seven goals and 15 assists in 26 games.
“He’s a big-bodied forward who brings a strong power forward game to the mix,” Jennings said,. “We look for him to bring more power and grit to the Odde this year.”
Chosen in the fifth round and 145th overall was forward David Grosek, a 2003 birth year skater who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Slovakia. The 6’1″ 180 lb. skater from Doylestown, PA will come to Aberdeen from the Selects Academy 18U AAA team, where he recorded five goals and nine assists in 38 games in his 2020-21 season.
“His dad played for the Winnipeg Jets,” Jennings noted. “As a young forward, he is someone we look to contribute to the Wings over time.”
The team’s final pick came in Round 6, 174th overall. The Wings chose 6’1″ 185 lb. defenseman Kaden Peterson from Fergus Falls, MN. He played in 28 games in the 2021-22 season with the NA3HL’s Alexandria Blizzard, where he notched two goals and five assists.
“As we rebuild our d-corps, we expect his play to be a big help,” Jennings said. “He is good in all aspects of the game.”
The Wings’ 2021-22 season officially kicks off on Sept. 15-18 at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, MN. The first home games of the season are Friday and Saturday, Oct. 1 and 2 when we host the St. Cloud Norsemen. Season tickets are available by calling Aaron Smith at 605-380-5852. Tickets will be also available online at tickets.AberdeenWings.com.