With last week’s news that the Danbury Titans of the Federal Hockey League had folded, that meant there were going to be players available for the remaining six FHL teams, and those players found their new homes Wednesday afternoon thank to the FHL Dispersal Draft.
There was plenty of talent available off the Titans, who finished 3rd last season with 93 points, one point off of second place.
There were 17 players available, leaving five teams with three selections, and one team to only make two.
Here are the results of that draft, as well as a little bit of analysis on each pick.
1. Carolina Thunderbirds – F Dalton Jay
Jay was Danbury’s leading scorer last year, racking up 70 points in 56 games, good for 6th in the league in score. He netted 31 goals last year, including six game winners for a Titans team that was third in the FHL last season. Clearly the best player available, and the Thunderbirds have their star player for their inaugural season.
2. North Shore Knights – D Ludlow Harris
Harris played in 44 games across two leagues and three teams in the 2016-17 season, doing most of his work with Danbury. In 42 FHL games he racked up 32 points and was a +8. A veteran defenseman who has four years of FHL experience, and 30 games of SPHL experience. Great pick for a North Shore team that gave up the most goals in the FHL last season.
3. Cornwall Nationals – F Taylor Bourne
Bourne was 12th in the FHL in scoring last year, netting 64 points in 53 games, including 35 goals, tied for 2nd in the league, an outstanding first season in the FHL after playing 12 games with Huntsville of the SPHL after his college career wrapped up in 2015-16. Bourne adds offensive punch to a team that was fourth in goals scored last season.
4. Port Huron Prowlers – F Matt Graham
Graham returned to pro hockey after two-year absense and put up 42 points in 49 games, including 23 goals and a +21 rating. Graham has previous FHL experience, suiting up for the Watertown Privateers in 2013-14, netting 17 points in 17 games. Adds more firepower to a Port Huron team that was 3rd in the FHL with 224 goals last season.
5. Watertown Wolves – G Matt Kaludis
Kaludis suited up for three teams across two leagues last year, seeing FHL time with Danville, Evansville of the SPHL, and two stints with now-defunct Berlin. Kaludis led the FHL in wins with 20 last season, posting a 3.33 GAA and a .902 SV% in 33 games played. Kaludis joins a Wolves team that gave up the third-fewest goals against last season.
6. Danville Dashers – D Taylor Love
Love suited up in 46 games for Danbury last season, notching 17 points from his defense spot to go with 74 penalty minutes. Love has played in 56 games over two FHL seasons, and had a four-game stint with Elmira of the ECHL in 2015-16. At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, he’ll bring good size to a Danville team that gave up the fewest goals in the FHL last season.
7. Carolina Thunderbirds – F John Scully
Scully has three seasons of FHL play under his belt, and in 43 games between Danbury and Port Huron, he netted 32 points, including 17 goals. He is one season removed from scoring 58 points in 55 games with Brewster of the FHL. Another good forward addition for a Carolina team that is starting from scratch.
8. North Shore Knights – F Matthew Coleman
Coleman suited up in 53 games last season for Danbury, recording 35 points, 24 of those coming on assists in his first full FHL season. He brings good passing ability to a North Shore team that was last in the league in scoring last season, the only team to not top 3 goals per game.
9. Cornwall Nationals – F John Schiavo
Schiavo suited up for two FHL teams last season, Danbury and Watertown, collecting 25 points in 32 games, including 10 goals. Schiavo also has ECHL and SPHL experience, playing 33 games between the two leagues and scoring 14 points in that span. Schiavo will also be a candidate for whatever the FHL’s version of the Lady Byng Trophy is, amassing just six penalty minutes in 46 games across the FHL and SPHL last year.
You may also remember Schiavo for this goal he scored at an Islanders prospect camp:
10. Port Huron Prowlers – F Alex Johnson
Johnson just wrapped up his second season in the FHL, netting 14 p oints in 24 games game with Danbury. Johnson has 51 points in 80 FHL games, including 29 goals. He should provide more scoring depth for Port Huron, who had the league’s three leading scorers last year and little else.
11. Watertown Wolves – D Vadim Subottnikov
It took three searches across two different sites to find anything on Subottnikov, who played in 52 games last year and record eight assists and no goals. Probably a depth add/camp competition addition for the Wolves.
12. Danville Dashers – F Craig Skudalski
Skudalski spent last season with both Danbury of the FHL and Roanoke of the SPHL. In 18 FHL games he had 8 points, including six assists. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, he bring a HUGE presence to the Danville lineup.
13. Carolina Thunderbirds – G Nikita Ivandikov
The Thunderbirds nab what is probably their starting goalie with their final pick in the dispersal draft, taking Ivandikov, who was fourth in the league with 16 wins last year, registering a 3.05 GAA (3rd in the FHL) and .906 SV% (6th). Ivandikov had an even better 2015-16 season with Danbury over nine games, posting 7 wins and a 2.80 GAA and .913 SV%. At 5-foot-7, 161 pounds, he doesn’t take up a whole bunch of the net.
14. North Shore Knights – F Frankie Hart
Hart suited up in 18 games for Danbury last year, totaling 5 points, including four assists in his rookie campaign. Didn’t really have much of an offensive career in college either. Could be a camp body, or depth center for the Knights.
15. Cornwall Nationals – D Stephen Inman
Inman made his pro debute last year with Danbury, getting in 11 games and netting three points and seven PIMs. Will bring good size to the Nationals blueline at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.
16. Port Huron Prowlers – F Dean Yakura
Yakura played in 37 games last year, netting 41 points, including 31 assists. To get that kind of value at the next-to-last pick is a great get for the Prowlers. Yakura has four seasons of FHL experience, and had 81 points in 56 games in 2015-16. Yakura also was called up to the ECHL for 11 games last season, notching a goal and an assist. Since starting his pro career in 2010-11, he has played in 92 games at the ECHL and SPHL level.
17. Watertown Wolves – G Bobby Bowden
No, not the former Florida State coach, but that would be awesome to see him play goalie in hockey. Bowden suited up for Danbury and Danville in 2016-17, cornering the market on teams starting with Dan-, and appeared in 11 games. He had a .908 SV% and was 5-5 across those 11 appearance, including one shutout. Will be playing for backup minutes after Watertown snagged a starter with their first pick earlier.
If there is a winner to be had from this draft, it is far and away Carolina. The get one of the top scorers in the league, a good depth scorer, and a starting-caliber goalie with their final pick. That’s a nice haul for an expansion team. I also feel like Port Huron and North Shore did well to make their teams better after both missed the playoffs last season.