Thursday, May 21, 2009

North Stars add trio to mix at NAHL Draft

Last year, the Traverse City North Stars spent all five of their draft picks on defensemen, re-stocking their age-depleted blue line.

On Wednesday, the Stars added proven scoring punch to their front line, tabbing Indiana Jr. Ice winger Taylor Burden with their first-round pick in the North American Hockey League's Entry Draft.

Burden, a 1992 birthdate, led the midget major Ice with 30 goals and 45 assists in 53 contests. The six-foot, 170-pounder also amassed 106 penalty minutes while notching 10 power play tallies and a pair of shorthanded efforts. He was also a draft choice of the USHL's Indiana Ice.

"Taylor's a skilled kid, and he can create offense," said TC head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo. "At times, we struggled to find consistent goal-scoring last year and we think a kid like Taylor could really add some punch."

Palumbo snagged a pair of midget major defensemen in the fourth and fifth rounds - having dealt away his second- and third-round choices in separate transactions - grabbing Pittsburgh Predators blueliner Nilan Nagy and Lansing Capitals rearguard Trevor Campbell. Nagy is a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, while the Mason native Campbell goes 5-foot-10, 190 pounds.

"There's always a chance we could lose a forward or a defenseman or two - veterans, tenders - to the USHL, you just never know. We're going to bring in all the best players we can and see where we end up," added Palumbo.

Palumbo and staff will get their first chance to look at tenders, draft picks, plus recently-acquired defender Rodney LaLonde (Kenai River) at the club's first summer camp, to be held June 6-8 at Centre ICE arena in Traverse City.

"With all that goes on in the off-season - the drafts, all the different camps and prospect events - it's hard to get every one of them together (for a single camp)," Palumbo explained. "It's an ongoing process, a moving target, and we'll see where the chips fall."

Zike selected with first overall pick: The North American Hockey League announced yesterday that its coaches and general managers have selected Chicago Fury U16 forward Derek Zike as the first overall pick in the 2009 NAHL Entry Draft.

Derek was seriously injured during a game at a tournament in Ann Arbor in January. Learn more about Derek at

"Derek has shown tremendous strength and courage over the last few months and we're honored to have him as our first overall selection in the draft," said NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. "As a league, we're committed to his recovery and to the support of his family."

The NAHL Entry Draft also kicked off the online auction of hockey memorabilia and more through eBay in which all proceeds will benefit the Derek Zike Special Needs Trust. The 10-day auction will end on Saturday, May 30.

: D Lucas DuBay, Iowa HS
2006: F Mike Dahlinger, Chatham WJHL
2007: D Tyler Stephens, Blind River NOJHL
2008: D Mitch Kriz, Elliot Lake GMHL
2009: F Taylor Burden, Indiana Jr. Ice U18

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