Sunday, August 01, 2010

Metro drafts impact players for '10-11

The Metro Jets drafted a total of 23 prospective players in the CSHL Draft back on May 29 and then selected another in the dispersal draft of former Dubuque Thunderbirds players.

Of the 23 taken in the league draft, seven already have junior hockey experience, including one in the Eastern Junior Hockey League in 20-year-old forward Ryan Baratono.

Baratono comes as a high-profile pick as the Windsor Spitfires also selected him in the 2006 Ontario Hockey League draft. If he plays for the Jets this season, Baratono will be the third OHL draft pick to lace up the skates in Waterford in three seasons as goaltender Colin Greeley (Saginaw Spirit) and forward Chad Rutkowski (Plymouth Whalers) played for Metro back in the 2008-2009 season.

Jets GM Butch Wolfe is optimistic that this year’s draft will be a turning point in producing more wins on the ice next fall.

“We like our picks and we feel if we can get as many of these kids signed, we can get to work and start getting ready for next season,” Wolfe said. “I think our scouts, in particular our head scout Tim Ross, did a fine job identifying players they feel can make an impact with our organization and help us climb the league standings.”

All of the drafted players are from Michigan and 12 of them played high school hockey last season with a handful earning All-State honors.

Forwards Adam Frank (Clarkston) and Chris Pontello (St. Clair Shores) were both named Second Team All-State among Division 1 forwards this past season. A teammate of Pontello’s, forward Cory Shafer, was All-State Honorable Mention. Walled Lake Northern forward Chris Hellebuyck earned Division 2 First Team laurels. At the Division 3 level, Dexter forward Matt Strling made the First Team.

Forward Kevin Filthaut played Junior A in Canada last season with the Elliot Lake Bobcats of the Greater Metro Hockey League, while four others played Junior B hockey in the Great Lakes Junior Hockey League.

Forward Andrew Theisen saw action in 40 games a year ago with the CSHL’s Motor City Chiefs (now Michigan Mountain Cats), as did defenseman Robert Speer, who played eight games with the Chiefs’ Junior A club.

“I think we drafted a lot of experience, which is something maybe we haven’t done in recent years,” added Wolfe. “It remains to be seen whether or not that junior experience will translate into success for us, but I think if our coaching staff gets these kids to buy into our system here, we should be able to surprise a few teams next season.”

In the Dubuque dispersal draft, the Jets nabbed the rights to Adam Newkirk, an 18-year-old defenseman from Crystal Lake, Ill., who played in 19 games last year for the Thunderbirds.

(Name, position, hometown, ’09-10 team)

Ryan Baratono, F, Livonia, Bay State Breakers Jr. A (EJHL)
Joshua Beleski, Southgate, Victory Honda Midget AAA
Thomas Emery, Leonard, Motor City Chiefs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Kevin Filthaut, F, Royal Oak, Elliot Lake Bobcats Jr. A (GMHL)
Adam Frank, F, Clarkston, Clarkston High School
Anthony Galloway, Washington, Oakland Grizzlies Midget AAA
Scott Hamill, Livonia, Livonia Churchill High School
Chris Hellebuyck, F, Commerce Township, Walled Lake Northern High School
Corey Hrischuk, Oxford, Oxford High School
Daniel Hudson, Chelsea, Chelsea High School
Jaymes Kastley, Northville, Michigan Ice Dogs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Thomas Killgore, Pinckney, Pinckney High School
James LaFontaine, Plymouth, Canton High School
Kevin Lander, Brighton, Wisconsin Mustangs Jr. A (MnJHL)
Tyler Myers, Brighton, Howell High School
Mike Orosey, Oakland Township, Stoney Creek High School
Chris Pontello, F, Warren, St. Clair Shores Unified High School
Corey Shafer, F, St. Clair Shores, St. Clair Shores Unified High School
William Shier, Sterling Heights, Summit Plastics Midget AA
Robert Speer, D, Southgate, Motor City Chiefs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Matt Stirling, Dexter, Dexter High School
Andrew Theisen, F, Dearborn, Motor City Chiefs Jr. B (GLJHL)
Ryan Walter, Casco Township, Oakland Grizzlies Midget AAA

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