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.
Despite a move towards more size and youth, 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.
There were also a couple of familiar faces from Texas for Coach Cook with the drafting of a pair of talented AAA-caliber forwards.
One of the first tender signings for the Bruins in 2019, Xavier is a skilled forward from Huron, SD who collected an impressive 110 points in 60 career games for the Huron All-Stars H.S. program, including 81 goals. With two seasons of junior eligibility left, Xavier’s future is bright at the Tier III junior and collegiate level.
Don’t let Jake’s size fool you. He’s a competitor and one of the smartest players the Bruins sought out this off-season. He’s versatile, having played both forward and defense in his young career and finished his 2018-2019 Vancouver Jr Rangers season with 29 points in 32 games. As potentially on of the youngest players on the Bruins roster for 2019-2020, there is still the chance Jake plays one more season with his youth team, but the Bruins coaching staff are more than confident that the 2003 birth year can be successful at the junior level.
With size and youth a theme for the Bruins in 2019-2020, Arizona’s Chase Wilhelm fits the bill nicely. At 6-4 and just under 200 lbs., Chase is a power forward who has the skill to be a playmaker and goal scorer. He finished his 2018-2019 Junior Sundevils season with 25 points in 33 games, including 10 games as a defenseman. Versatility is such a benefit at the junior hockey level and Chase is expected to be a big (in many ways) contributor to the Bruins in 2019-2020.
Carter Flor was arguably one of the primary targets for the Bruins staff even before the 2018-2019 season ended. As a high school teammate of Bruins defenseman Michael Pazdernik, the Bruins were able to keep a close eye on the talented forward from Minnesota. He’s a big body, like many of the 2019-2020 Bruins, but Carter is also a highly skilled player, who finished the 2018-2019 season with 27 points in 27 games and along with Pazdernik helped lead Princeton H.S. to a Minnesota High School Hockey Playoff berth.
Along with Carter Flor, Brady Miller was at the top of the list for the Bruins this off-season following a breakout senior season at Prairie Centre High School in Minnesota in which he finished with 55 points in 25 games, including 33 goals. Brady is a multi-sport athlete who is currently deciding between starting his college career or heading to Zootown to join a few fellow Minnesotans with the Bruins in 2019-2020.
A high school teammate and close friend of fellow Bruins draft pick Denim Young, Duke Cherpeski is a highly skilled and talented forward who helped lead the Billings Bulls to a MAHA State High School Runner-Up finish in 2018-2019. He finished the regular season ranked fourth in the state with 48 points in 22 games, including a state second-best 30 goals. The Bruins hope Duke heads to Zootown to be an impact player in 2019-2020.
Henry McDougall is not just a familiar name for Missoulians for his fantastic high school career in which he collected 114 points in 85 career regular season games, but he began the 2018-2019 season with the Jr Bruins, picking up the Bruins second goal of the season and first shorthanded goal in just his second junior game. In seven games with the Bruins, Henry collected five points before returning to his H.S. team.
Brandon Browne is a fast and highly talented forward from Texas who played for Bruins Head Coach Cliff Cook back in 2017-2018 with the Dallas Blackhawks Elite NAPHL AAA program. Tall and lean, Brandon has elite speed and shooting ability while still learning to put things together to be an equally elite goal-scorer. He is a former teammate of 2018-2019 Bruins goaltender Evan Williams with the 2017 USA Hockey Tier II 16U National Champion Dallas Penguins.
LB Cole was originally recruited by Coach Cook back in 2017 trying to get LB to play alongside Brandon Browne with the Dallas Blackhawks Elite program. The two were teammates, alongside Even Williams, with the Dallas Penguins 2017 USA Hockey Tier II 16U National Championship Team. Instead, LB joined the successful Dallas Stars Elite for the past two seasons where his reputation as the hardest working player on the ice created success with 20 points in two seasons in the Tier I Elite League. A natural leader, he’s either been a captain or assistant captain on nearly every team he’s played for.