The Sioux Falls Stampede spent the past two days expanding its roster through the USHL Draft. Monday, the Stampede selected eight players during Phase one of the draft, including Kieffer Bellows, son of former North Stars great Brian Bellows. Phase one features players born in 1998 only. Tuesday, during Phase two, Sioux Falls added another 24 players of various ages to fill its roster.
The Stampede was swept in the opening round of the USHL Clark Cup playoffs. But, success is measured in many ways, as the team looks to the future.
“We had 14 division one scholarships this year on our team, and many of those guys are leaving. We have some good veterans coming back, and we really felt that we added some complementary players,” Stampede head coach Cary Eades said.
The Stampede selected defenseman Dillion Eichstadt (ike-sted) with the 13th overall pick in Phase two of the draft. The Bemidji native spent the past season with Aberdeen in the NAHL.
“We tried to acquire him in the middle of the year when we had some injuries on defense. He wanted to stay put. Finally, we were able to draft him, and we’re looking forward to him playing his 20-year-old year with us,” Eades said.
In round 12, Sioux Falls drafted defenseman Eddie Eades, son of Stampede head coach Cary Eades.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations on whether his dad coaching him is a good thing. He’s got to make the team first and foremost, and we’ll see how he does at camp. We have a lot of holes to fill at defenseman, but we have some real good players that were drafted ahead of him, and we’ll see if he earns his stripes,” Eades said.
Every player drafted still has a number of options, including other junior leagues, but Sioux Falls has a new recruiting tool.
“Denny Sanford Premier Center is going to be a big plus for us in selling our community, and how well we did fan-wise, and how we’ve done in the standings the last couple years. We have a lot of good things to sell,” Eades said.
So, was the next Thomas Vanek among the 32 players selected by the Stampede in this year’s draft?
“Players have different paths, and they’re at different points on those different paths. We feel like we have some potential NHL players that we drafted today, but only time will tell. It’s up to us to first get them here, and then to develop them into that potential, before we send them on to college and then to the NHL,” Eades said.
Every player drafted by Sioux Falls will be invited to the team’s tryout camp June 6th through the 9th, in Minneapolis, where the Stampede will continue to mold next season’s roster.