Three NAHL players selected in 2017 NHL Draft
June 24, 2017
It was an exciting day at the 2017 NHL Draft at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois, as three NAHL players heard their name called during the annual draft. Corpus Christi IceRays goalie Tomas Vomacka, Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman Benton Maass and Shreveport Mudbugs defenseman Croix Evingson were the NAHL players selected.
The NAHL has had 13 players drafted in the last three NHL Drafts.
Day 2 of the NHL Draft on Saturday started out with a flurry of picks from Canadian Major Junior teams, in addition to several players from the USHL.
The NAHL was once again represented in the NHL Draft with the first player to go off the board in the 5th round as Corpus Christi IceRays and NAHL Top Prospects goalie Tomas Vomacka was selected by the Western Conference Champion Nashville Predators at #154 overall.
Tomacka, an18-year-old goalie from the Czech Republic, had a .923 save percentage for the 2016-17 regular season. He also finished with a .951 mark in his NAHL playoff games. Vomacka was named South Division Goaltender of the Year and was also named to the All-South Division Team.
“This was the right way to do this, going from the NAHL to an NCAA commitment to now getting drafted into the USHL,” said Vomacka. “I enjoyed every single minute in Chicago during this weekend’s draft. I am so excited to be drafted by Nashville. Watching the Stanley Cup Final was amazing and I am happy to be part of such a great organization.”
Vomacka continued… “I really enjoyed my time in Corpus Christi and the NAHL. I loved playing in Corpus Christi. I loved the weather, the food, the fans… everything. It was a great experience.”
The next NAHL player selected was Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman Benton Maass, who was taken in the 6th round, #182 overall by the Washington Capitals.
Maass, 18, played just over half the season with Fairbanks in the NAHL. He started the season with the team in September and played until mid-November when he joined his high school team in Elk River, Minnesota. Following the conclusion of the high school season, Maass then again joined Fairbanks in the NAHL for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
In 26 NAHL regular season games, Maass recorded 16 points. He also had four points in seven Robertson Cup playoff games.
The final NAHL player selected was Shreveport Mudbugs defenseman Croix Evingson, who was taken by the Winnipeg Jets in Round 7, #211 overall.
Evingson, 19, posted one of the better seasons by a defenseman in recent NAHL history. The native of Anchorage, Alaska, who was a 7th round draft pick by the Mudbugs in the 2016 NAHL Draft, made an immediate splash this season with the expansion Mudbugs as he was named the NAHL’s Defenseman of the Month in September.
Evingson (6’5/210) recorded 52 points during the 2016-17 season, which not only led all NAHL defensemen, but was the most points for an NAHL defenseman since the 2010-11 season. In the middle of October, Evingson committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at UMass-Lowell. He was also selected to and played in the 2017 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the NAHL Selects team.
In all, it was a great weekend for the NAHL, which not only included the three NHL Draft picks, but also saw the league set a new single-season NCAA commitments record with 260 commitments this season.