Seven players with NAHL ties selected in 2023 NHL Draft | North American Hockey League | NAHL
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Seven players with NAHL ties selected in 2023 NHL Draft

June 29, 2023

Chippewa Steel goalie Adam Gajan (above) was the first goalie selected in the 2023 NHL Draft. Former Austin Bruins forward and NAPHL alum Sutter Muzzatti (below) was selected in the 5th round by the hometown Nashville Predators.

It was a banner day for North American Hockey League (NAHL) players, past and present, at the 2023 NHL Draft, which was held on June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, and hosted by the Nashville Predators.

In total, seven players with NAHL ties were selected in the annual Draft. Over the course the last seven years, a total of 42 players with NAHL ties have been selected in the NHL Draft.

NAHL players selected in the 2023 NHL Draft

Adam Gajan, G, Chippewa Steel (2022-23) Round 2, #35 overall to the Chicago Blackhawks

Chris Pelosi, F, Janesville Jets (2022-23) Round 3, #92 overall to the Boston Bruins

Eric Pohlkamp, D, Minnesota Magicians (2020-21) Round 5, #132 overall to the San Jose Sharks

Jack Phelan, D, North Iowa Bulls (2021-22) Round 5, #137 overall to the Detroit Red Wings

Sutter Muzzatti, F, Austin Bruins (2020-22) Round 5, #143 overall to the Nashville Predators

Aaron Pionk, D, Minnesota Wilderness (2020-22) Round 5, #149 overall to the Minnesota Wild

Chase Cheslock, D, St. Cloud Norsemen (2022-23) Round 5, #154 overall to the New Jersey Devils

With the 35th overall pick in the 2nd round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Chicago Blackhawks selected NAHL and Chippewa Steel goaltender Adam Gajan. He was the first goalie selected in the 2023 NHL Draft. Gajan, 18, had a very impressive first season in the NAHL. He appeared in 34 regular season games and recorded a 19-12-3 record with a 2.57 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. On December 5th, he committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Gajan was named the NAHL’s Goalie of the Month for March 2023. The 6’3/176 lbs. native of Poprad, Slovakia, appeared in eight games during the month of March and posted a 6-0-2 record and did not lose a game in regulation. Gajan, who represented his home country of Slovakia at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship, faced 261 shots during the month and made 244 saves, which was good for a 2.06 goals against average and a .930 save percentage. Gajan was one of the biggest stars at the 2023 World Junior Chamionship, where he stunned the United States with a 33-save performance to help the Slovakian team win 6-3 and nearly upset the Canadians, allowing just three goals and pushing the game into overtime before Connor Bedard finally beat him on Canada’s 57th shot. Although Slovakia didn’t medal, his efforts earned him the Best Goaltender of the tournament.

With the 92nd overall pick in the 3rd round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Boston Bruins selected Janesville Jets forward Chris Pelosi. Pelosi, 18, began the 2022-23 season with the Jets and appeared in 24 regular season games and recorded 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists). The Quinnipiac commit played the first half of the season with the Jets and then was traded to Sioux Falls where he finished the regular season, appearing in 43 games and recording 19 points.

With the 132nd overall pick in the 5th round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the San Jose Sharks selected former Minnesota Magicians defenseman Eric Pohlkamp. Pohlkamp, 19, played in the NAHL during the 2020-21 season for the Minnesota Magicians. In nine regular season games, he recorded an assist. The 5’11/205 lbs. native of Brainerd, Minnesota, played the next two seasons in the USHL. He is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Bemidji State.

With the 137th overall pick in the 5th round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Detroit Red Wings selected former North Iowa Bulls defenseman Jack Phelan. Phelan, 19, played for the Bulls in the NAHL during the 2021-22 season. The 6’2/185 lbs. native of Hinsdale, IL, recorded two assists in 12 games played. He spent the 2022-23 season playing in the NAHL and is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Wisconsin.

With the 143rd overall pick in the 5th round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Nashville Predators selected former Austin Bruins forward Sutter Muzzatti. Muzzatti, 20, who just completed his freshman season playing NCAA Division I hockey for RPI, played two seasons in the NAHL for the Bruins. He led the team in scoring during the 2021-22 season with 46 points (12 goals, 34 assists) in 50 games played. Overall in 80 career NAHL games, Muzzatti recorded 59 points. Prior to playing in the NAHL, Muzzatti spent three seasons playing in the NAPHL for Meijer AAA.

With the 149th overall pick in the 5th round of the 2023 NHL Draft, the Minnesota Wild selected former Minnesota Wilderness defenseman Aaron Pionk. Pionk, 20, played in the NAHL during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons for the Wilderness. The 6’1/172 lbs. native of Hermantown, MN, appeared in 61 career regular season games for the Wilderness and recorded 31 points. He is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

The final NAHL player selected with the 154th overall pick in the 5th round of the 2023 NHL Draft was St. Cloud Norsemen defenseman Chase Cheslock. Cheslock, 18, began the 2022-23 playing in the NAHL for the St. Cloud Norsemen. The 6’3/207 lbs. native of Rogers, MN, appeared in 18 games and recorded three points. On October 6th while playing in the NAHL, Cheslock committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of St. Thomas.

 
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