The Bismarck Bobcats know they will have a different-looking roster this fall.
With 13 players coming off the roster due to college commitments and age restrictions, Layne Sedevie was looking to bolster his roster during the NAHL draft on Tuesday.
“It seems kind of like every other year, either you have quite a few returners, or you don’t,” The Bobcats head coach and general manager said. “We had a veteran team last year, we lost a lot of guys we need to place.
“We feel like things played out very well for us today.”
The Bobcats selected eight forwards, three defensemen and a goalie with their 12 selections in the 2016 NAHL draft.
The Bobcats, who were active in the trade market in the week heading up to the draft, were wheeling and dealing again early in the draft.
After taking Pavel Mikhasenok with the No. 21 overall pick in the first round, Bismarck dealt him to the Minnesota Wilderness in exchange for a second-round pick (No. 34 overall) and a 2017 tender.
The Bobcats added a pair of veterans to their roster in separate trades with the Austin Bruins and Kenai River Brown Bears last week, picking up 6-foot-2 forward Austin Junger and third-year forward Zach Kennedy. Bismarck dealt a fifth-round pick to Kenai River and a tender to the Bruins in the deals.
The draft-day deal with the Wilderness gave the Bobcats two second-round picks – which they used to grab Horka Sekesi and Aaron Grounds.
“We knew we were losing a lot,” Sedevie said. “We wanted to get some veteran guys to mix in with the guys coming back. We made a trade today, moved back 13 positions. … at the end of the day, I think it worked out well for both parties.”
Sekesi, who scored 13 goals and added 18 assists in 43 games last season for ED Bad Tolz U19 in Germany, is the younger brother of Bobcat alum Huba Sekesi (2013-14). The 6-foot-0, 174-pound forward was taken with the Wilderness’ second-round pick.
Nine picks later, the Bobcats used their own second-rounder to nab Grounds, a 6-2, 170-pound forward from Team Wisconsin U16. Grounds, a native of White Bear Lake, Minn., scored 18 goals and 13 assists in 37 games last season.
Size was a theme for the day for the Bobcats, who selected 11 players six feet or taller.
“We didn’t really think about it,” Sedevie said. “We just tried to get players we wanted. It’s different every year. You try to get players you like and if they’re a big guy, they’re a big guy. If they’re a small guy, they’re a small guy. We had a big draft this year.”
In the third round, the Bobcats went with 6-2, 214-pound defenseman Brendan Bushy from Thief River Falls (Minn.) High School with the No. 52 overall selection. Bushy recorded six goals and 25 assists in 25 games for the Prowlers last season. Bushy is the cousin of Bobcats alum Aaron Herdt.
Bismarck had two fourth-round selections. At No. 93 overall, they grabbed 6-2, 220-pound defenseman Noah Bormann from the Green Bay Jr. Gamblers U18 team. Bormann notched six goals and 24 assists in 59 games last year.
Four picks later, Nick Ness went to the Bobcats at No. 93. The 6-2, 194-pound Broomfield, Colo., native had 13 goals and five assists in 25 games with the Rocky Mountain Roughriders 18U squad.
The Bobcats didn’t have a fifth-round pick after the trade with Kenai River, but in the sixth round grabbed Kevin Ness, the brother of fourth-round selection Nick Ness, at No. 141 overall. The 6-2, 176-pounder had eight goals and seven assists for the Rocky Mountain Roughriders 16U team.
Martin Liljekvist, a 6-6, 216-pound defenseman, went with the No. 165 overall pick in round 7. He had three goals and four assists in 36 games for MODO Hockey J20 in Sweden.
With the selections of Sekesi and Liljekvist and returning veteran Tobias Fladeby (Norway), the Bobcats still have one import slot open heading into the season.
The Bobcats grabbed another Minnesota high school player in the eighth round, taking 6-1, 161-pound forward Ashton Altmann of Duluth East High School with the No. 189 overall pick. Altmann 18 goals and 24 assists for 42 points in 25 games last season.
In the ninth round, Bismarck took 6-3, 207-pound forward Cooper Haar at No. 213. A Huntington Beach, Calif., product, Haar had six goals and 12 assists in 20 games for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 16U team.
Connor Linton, a 6-1, 172-pound forward, went No. 237 overall in the 10th round. A Frisco, Texas, product, Linton had 12 goals and 12 assists in 32 games for the Dallas Stars U16 squad.
The Bobcats took 5-7, 165-pound forward Luke Millen in the 11th round (No. 261). The Anchorage, Alaska, native notched 12 goals and 12 assists in 32 games for Colorado Rampage U18.
In the 12th round, the Bobcats selected 6-0, 183-pound goaltender Robbie Beydoun. The Plymouth, Mich., native posted an 8-4-1 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage in 21 games with the Fargo Force of the USHL.
The 12 draft selections were the most by the Bobcats since 2010, the first for Sedevie.
The Bobcats will hold their main camp July 22-24 at the VFW Sports Center.