ROCHESTER, Minn. – Just over a week after competing in the Fraser Cup Final, the Rochester Grizzlies focused on their upcoming season and began assembling the future. On Wednesday, the Grizzlies selected five players in the North American 3 Hockey League’s Entry Draft.
After a trade up in the first round, the Grizzlies selected eighth overall and took East Grand Forks High School forward Brody Schultz. The 5-foot-8 Minnesota native registered 27 points this past season for East Grand Forks, 10 goals, and 17 assists. Schultz is the second forward selected by the Grizzlies/Bruins organization in the past two seasons, following Austin Bruins forward Mason Poolman who was taken in last year’s NAHL Draft.
In the second round, the Grizzlies made their second pick and this time focused on the blue line, going with defenseman JD Metz. The 2002-born defender played the last three seasons with Mahtomedi High and captained the Zephyrs during the 2020-21 season. Metz saw an increase in offensive production year-over-year, going from 13 points in 2018-19 to 26 total points in 2019-20 and most recently registering 27 points in 2020-21. Metz turned out to be the first of two Zephyr’s selected by the Grizzlies during the 2021 NA3HL Draft.
With two picks in the third round, Rochester went back on the offensive. First off the board was Keaton Kranz with the 74th overall pick. Kranz, 19, most recently played for the Sioux Falls Power 18U AAA team where he logged 12 points in eight games played during the 2020-21 season. The Lakeville, MN, native also played for Lakeville North High School and the MN Grey Ducks 18U AAA team over the past few seasons. In addition to Kranz, the Grizzlies took forward Adam Johnson in the third round with the 101st overall pick. Johnson, 17, turned out to be the youngest selection for the black-and-gold on Wednesday but has the most junior experience having competed in three games with the NAHL’s Minnesota Magicians during the 2020-21 season. Johnson, team captain of his high school team this past season, was the second player off the board for the Grizzlies from Mahtomedi High.
With their final selection of the day, in the fourth round, the Grizzlies took Grand Rapids High School forward Braeden Holcomb. At 5-foot-11, 161-pounds, Holcomb ranked fourth on the Grand Rapids scoring sheet with 21 points in 17 games played in 2020-21.
With the five picks, the Grizzlies kept things in-state, taking all Minnesota natives. Head Coach Chris Ratzloff and Assistant Coach Austin Balko will use these most recently drafted players, along with tenders and currently rostered Grizzlies, to flesh out the 2021-22 team.