The United States Hockey League holds a Futures Draft each year to help teams in the league build for the future. There is also an annual Entry Draft, in which teams draft both for the present and the future.
The Fargo Force used its final two picks in the 2012 Futures Draft to really focus on the future in River Rymsha and Steven Quagliata.
Rymsha is a 15-year-old defenseman who plays both hockey and baseball for St. Mary’s Prep in Michigan. There are a lot of connections between Rymsha and the Force, but the kid can also play. The defenseman is already almost six feet tall, 170 pounds and certainly still has some growing to do.
He tallied one goal and one assist in 26 games last season. He finished the season plus-2 and recorded 10 penalty minutes. The numbers would make it appear that Rymsha is a defense-first guy who is still hoping to develop on the offensive end of the rink.
“We feel River is going to be a pretty good player for us when he’s ready,” chief scout Jesse Davis said. “He’s going to finish up his school and play at St. Mary’s, which is a pretty good program in our opinion.
“He’s pretty smart and pretty active with the puck. He’s going to be a piece of the puzzle in two years for us, a big piece.”
Davis has known Rymsha for a long time, as they are both from the Detroit area. St. Mary’s Prep is also a former stop in Davis’s coaching career. He was once an assistant coach there.
Rymsha’s dad, Andy Rymsha, played in the NHL with Quebec after attending Western Michigan. He even played against Davis at one time in his career. Andy is from Ontario, so Rymsha has a little Canadian blood in him.
Rymsha’s uncle also played for current Fargo Force John Marks during his minor league hockey career.
Force use final pick on a relative unknown
Rules are rules. In Chicago, if you miss AAA tryouts, you can’t make the team. There are no exceptions.
Steven Quagliata had a broken arm and missed the AAA tryouts last season. It was an unfortunate break that sent him to the AA Chicago Bruins. Had he not been injured, he probably would have been playing for a AAA club. Instead, he flew under the radar allowing the Fargo Force to draft him late in the USHL Futures Draft.
He played in the Young Guns tournament in Philadelphia and performed well. Davis said that Quagliata was overlooked based on where he played, but he did well in the combine and that was enough to hook the Force.
He is a solid stay at home defenseman that you usually don’t notice on the ice because he doesn’t make many mistakes. In cases like that, it isn’t a bad thing for people not to know your name.
“He wins battles, has good feet, is consistent, and doesn’t turn puck over,” Davis said. “He will play AAA hockey this year for Chicago Fury. I think he can be on our club in two years.”
If you’re looking for a diamond in the rough, Quagliata may be it. Davis believes that he will be a good player in the USHL and beyond. The first step, though, is for him to prove himself at the AAA level.
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