NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE: Jackalopes satisfied with this year’s draft

Going into this year’s North American Hockey League Draft, Odessa Jackalopes head coach Scott Deur said the main concern was slightly on the team’s defending.

After Wednesday’s draft, he was mostly impressed with what the Jackalopes were able to acquire.

“The draft is kind of hit or miss,” Deur said. “After yesterday’s draft, I thought it went pretty well for us.”

The Jackalopes drafted seven players this week.

Two of their picks came in the first round with center Andrew Clarke of the Des Moines Buccaneers in the United States Hockey League who was taken 12th overall and center Jackson Rudh who was taken 16th .

“Our first pick is Andrew Clarke who is starting in the USHL so we’ll see if he drops down,” Deur said. “The second pick is Jackson Rudh, a young kid out of Minnesota and that’s if he wants to come. Then, our other four picks were guys that we already knew from camps and there’s a good chance those guys will be coming and we’ll see if they can make the final roster.”

Odessa also drafted two players during the third round as the Jackalopes took forward Gus Rabe from the Milwaukee Jr. Admirals 18U with the 96th selection.

Defenseman Henry Thornton was also taken in the third round with the 98th pick.

“The Thornton kid played with some of our incoming players,” Thornton said. “I have a lot of good things to say about him.”

The team also drafted some international player with Swedish goalie William Svard Karphed in the fourth round who for Djurgardens IF J20 in.

In the sixth round, Odessa added right wing Aaron Andrade from the Georgetown Raiders in the OJHL before finishing the draft with selecting defenseman Tristen May-Robinson from the Wisconsin Woodsmen in the NA3HL.

“The May-Robinson kid that we took last is good,” Deur said. “We saw a good showing from him at camp a couple of weeks ago. He wants to be a Jackalope so we wanted to take him.”

Deur was glad his team was able to polish its defense a little bit.

“Defensively, I like the guys we have coming in and the ones we were able to return but you always want to clean up the defense and so we emphasized that a little bit,” Deur said.

Next for the Jackalopes will be the team’s main cam in Chicago next month.

That camp will last from July 18-22 at the Nicholas Sportsplex where the team will trim its roster down.

The Jackalopes are coming off a seventh place finish in the NAHL South Divisioin standings.

The team went 23-29-5-3 and finished with 54 points.

Odessa will be hoping to end its playoff drought this upcoming season as the Jackalopes haven’t made the postseason since 2018.