With his first full season of recruiting since taking the Bruins job, Head Coach and G.M. Cliff Cook, along with Assistant Coach Mike Anderson was well prepared for the 2019 tender signing season and the NA3HL Draft.
While there may not have been as clear-cut a theme as there was last season with all the Texans and Alaskans that were either tendered or drafted in 2018, there was a sense of familiarity, especially with Coach Anderson taking the reins on much of the recruiting. Minnesota guys were a prime target for the Bruins this season. No surprise with the St. Paul, MN-native Anderson working along with his father and Bruins Minnesota scout Steve Anderson connecting with several players from the Minnesota High School Hockey ranks.
One name tendered will be very familiar to Bruins fans as Michael Pazdernik signed to re-join the Bruins after playing just six games with Zootown at the end of last season, coming up just short of the 10 games required for the Bruins to automatically retain his rights.
Donovan Burdette – Drafted
(2002 – Dallas, TX – Colorado Rampage 16U T1EL)
Donovan is a highly talented young defenseman originally from Dallas, TX now living in Monument, CO and excelling with the elite Colorado Rampage 16U AAA program. Yet another of the young, elite defensemen the Bruins are hopeful will join the Bruins in 2019-2020 or in the future as a building block for their junior and college hockey careers. Donovan, a more defensive-minded player in a time of offensive-minded defensemen finished the 2018-2019 season with eight points in 39 games.
**Trivia time** Donovan’s dad Greg coached Bruins Head Coach Cliff Cook back when he was a PeeWee in Dallas.
Nolan played for Coach Cook back in 2015-2016 with the Pikes Peak Miners 16U NAPHL program and at the time was a solid developing forward. In the past two seasons with the Colorado Rampage, Nolan made the conversion to defense and has excelled, garnering the attention of NAHL teams and quality Canadian junior teams.
Michael returns to the Bruins after finishing the final six games of the season in 2018-2019 in Missoula, including the Bruins opening round playoff series. Prior to coming to Missoula, Paz was a standout defenseman for Princeton H.S. in Princeton, MN, finishing his senior season with 26 points in 20 games and helping lead the Tigers to a Minnesota High School Hockey Playoff berth.
Another of the young talented defensemen the Bruins are excited about, Justin finished his career at North Branch H.S. in Minnesota with 59 points in 75 career games. A high Hockey IQ player with great skating ability and puck-handling skills. As a team captain, Justin helped lead the Vikings to their first Minnesota High School Hockey State Playoff berth in school history.
Sam is an elite-level talent with high-end skating ability and a great Hockey IQ. As a 2003 birth year, Sam will likely be one of the most sought-after prospects in the NA3HL with a bright future ahead in the NAHL and beyond. While developing talent from all over the country and the world is the goal, it’s undeniable having local Missoula talent moving up the ranks is even more exciting.
Jordan originally tendered with the Bruins in 2018 but chose a different route in Wisconsin where he had a standout year in the USPHL finishing with 40 points in 49 games, including five assists in five playoff games. An elite talent that should be on multiple NAHL team’s radars for the 2019-2020 season, the Bruins are hopeful to get to help continue Jordan’s development.
Denim is another young, talented Montana defenseman that, along with Sam Skillestad, could provide an exciting young core of elite blueliners for the Bruins for 2019-2020 with a goal of higher levels in the future. Denim finished the 2018-2019 season with 17 points in 25 regular season games and helped lead the Bulls to a MAHA State Runner-Up finish.
Stay tuned next week for a rundown of the Bruins 2019 Tendered and Drafted forwards.