DANBURY, CT – The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks completed the NAHL Draft on Wednesday afternoon, selecting four players in preparation for the 2022-23 season.
Danbury held the first overall selection on Wednesday and selected Jacob Lavallée, a center out of the QJHL in Québec.
Lavallée is a 19-year-old with a big frame, standing at 6’4” and 207 pounds. Lavallée recorded 52 points on 17 goals and 35 assists in 40 games for Côte-du-Sud Everest last season. Lavallée earned a spot in two games for Val-d’Or Foreurs in the QMJHL as well.
Head Coach Billy McCreary is excited about the way Lavallée could fit in with the Jr. Hat Tricks returning players.
“We think he fills a void for us,” McCreary said. “He’s a big guy, he skates really well and he plays in the middle of the ice. It was an important pick for us.”
After Lavallée, Danbury had three more selections, but none until the fourth round when it selected forward Wyatt Stefan 88th overall.
Stefan is the youngest player of the Hat Tricks’ four selections with a 2005 birth-year. The 17-year-old is 6’1” 179 pounds and recorded 64 points on 30 goals and 34 assists in 68 games for the New Jersey Rockets (16U AAA). Stefan’s father, Patrik, had over 400 games of NHL experience during a seven-year career.
“Wyatt shoots the puck like a pro, handles and protects the puck well, plays a physical game and he’s another big kid,” McCreary said. “So we’re excited to bring him in and help him mature his game and take it to another level.”
In the fifth round, the Jr. Hat Tricks kept with the trend of selecting big bodies. With the 117th pick, Danbury took 6’5” 203 pound-defenseman Denis Radchenko out of Belarus.
In the Belarusian junior league, Radchenko recorded 27 points and a +36 rating in 53 games last season.
“He plays a physical game and is a good skater,” McCreary said. “He adds not only size, but mobility for us on the back end and I think he’s going to be a big piece to what we’re doing on our back end next year.”
With their final pick, the Jr. Hat Tricks selected forward/defenseman Reese Tamburo from the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks (NA3HL). Tamburo recorded 16 points in 31 games for the NA3 Jr. Hat Tricks, spending most of the season as a defenseman.
“The main thing for Reese is his character,” McCreary said. “He’s a great teammate and he’s the hardest worker on and off the ice. He skates well and plays a physical style of game, so he certainly fits our mold.”
“We’re looking for the right pieces to our puzzle,” McCreary said on the 2022 Jr. Hat Tricks draft class. “And we’re confident [these] guys will help put us in a position so when playoffs come, we can make a push toward it.”