Q&A with Coach Leivermann on Eve of Inaugural NAHL Supplemental Draft

May 11, 2020

By Mason Lyttle (@MasonLyttle) | May 11, 2020 | 2:24pm

JANESVILLE, WI – The North American Hockey League (NAHL) announced last month two major changes to the 2020 Draft process. The regular NAHL Entry Draft was moved to Tuesday, July 21st, and a new Supplemental Draft was instituted and scheduled for Tuesday, May 12th.

Tomorrow’s inaugural NAHL Supplemental Draft will be held at 1:00pm CT, with live coverage available on HockeyTV.

Each NAHL team has three selections in the Supplemental Draft. The first pick belongs to the expansion Wichita Falls Warriors, and the order from there was determined by the 2019-20 regular season standings.

The Jets will select 11th, 63rd, and 66th in the 81-pick draft.

Click here for a list of frequently asked questions about the NAHL Supplemental Draft.

For more about the Supplemental Draft and how the Jets’ hockey operations personnel are approaching it, janesvillejets.com caught up with head coach Corey Leivermann Monday afternoon.

janesvillejets.com: Basic information is out there about the Supplemental Draft, but can you give fans a bit of insight on the role it will play for the Jets?

Corey Leivermann: The way the Supplemental Draft has been presented to me as a coach is that it’s another opportunity for Janesville to go out and find additional hockey players who will be able to help the Jets in the future. We’ll be able to protect a couple more kids here this offseason, which will help us secure the top-end talent for the 2020-21 season.

jj: Like every team, the Jets have three selections to make tomorrow. Based on our tendered list, our returners, and last week’s USHL Draft, how does the current idea of next year’s roster influence how the Jets will draft tomorrow?

CL: To be honest, we didn’t see as many players drafted into the USHL as we thought we would. I thought we might see anywhere from five to seven picked. But we did lose three important players to the USHL, so we’ll be looking to rebuild and likely with some younger kids again. We’ll also be looking for players who could potentially step right into big roles, who can play top power play and big, important minutes for us.

jj: Another recent edition to the procurement rules was the creation of an extra tender for each team to use, available starting May 13th. Can you talk a bit about the importance of that tender for NAHL clubs, especially in the context of this unusual offseason?

CL: That tender is big. It’s a way for us to lock up another asset but it’s also something we could potentially trade with teams who need more than we do. We didn’t lose as much as we thought we might, so we feel pretty comfortable going into this draft with the players we’re returning and the tenders we’ve signed as of today.

jj: After tomorrow’s draft,  how much does the attention focus to the camps in late June and July? What sorts of players have the Jets’ hockey operations team been scouting for those?

CL: We’re always looking for the best available kid, whether it’s for a Pre-Draft Camp, a Futures Camp, or our Main Camp. At the end of the day, there’s plenty of talent out there for us to identify. Our scouting staff is excellent, but it’s also a little limited comparted to some other organizations, so our best way to view a kid is to invite him to a camp. Pre-Drafts are the best way for us to get eyes on players when we build our list for the July Entry Draft. There’s guys who probably shouldn’t have slipped through some cracks — a guy like Grant Hindman — who don’t sign tenders, who aren’t drafted, but show up to a team’s Main Camp, make the team right out of camp, and commit Division I. So we’re always looking for players like him.

jj: In the entire hockey world, the curtailed seasons affected everyone’s scouting efforts. With canceled games in high school, AAA, and other junior leagues, can you talk about the importance of video to make up that scouting gap?

CL: For myself, and to speak for Lennie, too, a lot of our time has been video. We’ve been watching old games from this year and staying up to speed with the people who Joe, Lennie, and I really respect as advisors and other scouts and coaches. We’ll talk about our Supplemental Draft list later this afternoon, and a bit about the direction we want to take, and video and phone conversations are a big part of that. There’s lots of working with Division I schools and building more and more on that network of people who you trust and respect. It all helps you to find the best hockey players wherever they are, and that’s what matters most to my role with this organization. It’s all about finding the talent, bringing them here, and advancing them on.


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