Three local players were selected in the 2018 NAHL Draft, as Butler’s Paul Maust, Irwin’s Austen Swankler and Gibsonia’s Thomas Jarman were all selected in the junior league’s annual draft.
Maust, a 19-year-old left wing, was chosen with the 138th pick in the sixth round by the Austin Bruins. The former Mars and Pittsburgh Penguins Elite winger scored four goals and recorded seven assists in 46 games with the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL last season. He played the previous two seasons in the NAHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.
Maust could still return to the USHL for his final season of junior hockey. He has committed to play at Mercyhurst starting in 2019-20.
Swankler was selected in the seventh round with the No. 158 overall pick by the New Jersey Jr. Titans. The former Pittsburgh Penguins Elite star forward spent last season with the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies under-16 team, where he scored an eye-popping 38 goals and 63 assists in 63 games.
Swankler’s USHL rights are held by the Waterloo Black Hawks. He was also selected by the Ottawa 67’s in the 2017 Ontario Hockey League draft, but he has elected to follow the college hockey path, with a commitment to play at Michigan starting in 2020-21.
Jarman was taken in the 14th round by the Maryland Black Bears, a new NAHL franchise that will be playing in the Baltimore suburb of Odenton, Maryland. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound blueliner has spend the last three seasons in the Omaha AAA Lancers system. With the club’s U16 team in 2017-18, he played in seven games and recorded 18 penalty minutes.
The entry draft is just one method for players to enter the NAHL. Other players sign tenders straight out of midget major hockey, as was the case for six members of the Esmark Stars and three members of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U18 teams this season.