The Maine Nordiques made their first pick as a franchise Tuesday, selecting Casper Soderling as the number one pick in the North American Hockey League draft.

The 18-year-old Swedish defenseman played the 2018-19 season Nacka HK program in Sweden.

In the second round, the Nordiques went back to the Nacka program when they selected forward Filip Lofdahl.

Nordiques assistant coach Matt Pinchevsky saw the pair in Boston a few weeks back, and director of player recruitment and advancement Cam Robichaud believes both players are NCAA Division I-caliber.

“Two very big needs, one forward and one defenseman,” Robichaud said. “It was something we were really excited about and ready to jump on because they filled needs that we have.”

With their first third-round pick, the Nordiques selected forward Matt Minerva. Also picked in the third round was goalie Nicolas Gamarra.


In the fourth round, the Nordiques took defenseman Cale DuBrul, who played at New Hampton School. Their second selection of the fourth round was defenseman Kylar Fenton.

Fenton was selected by the Twin City Thunder in the USPHL draft last month. He skated at the Nordiques pre-draft camp over Memorial Day weekend is scheduled to come to the Nordiques main camp in Lewiston from July 26-28.

The Nordiques also had a pair of picks in the fifth round and selected forwards Cannon Green and Leo Bax. They continued the forward trend in the sixth round, taking Jacob Lanyi.

In the seventh round, Maine picked Jake Crespo, a defenseman out of the Walpole Express program of the Eastern Hockey League.

“He had an excellent (pre-draft) camp and the entire staff agreed we need to show this kid some love, we need to have him come to Lewiston at the end of July,” Robichaud said. “We needed to take a swing at him in the draft.”

In the eighth round, the Nordiques drafted defenseman Mikhail Romanov. The ninth round yielded forward Tristan Thibeault from the Seacoast Spartans 18U team. Simon Ellingson was drafted in the 10th round.


With their final pick of the draft, Maine stayed close to home by selecting Sergei Anisimov, who played for the L/A Nordiques last season, in the 11th round.

“Everyone got an NA3HL draft pick, part of the call-up program, which we didn’t think we were going to be able to be a part of because we weren’t in the league last year,” Robichaud said. “We thought it was for the (teams) that were in the league last year. We were told we were going to be able to select an additional NA3HL player, which was great because Sergei was coming to our (main) camp in July, he had a great camp last week.”


L/A Nordiques forward Valeri Rykov was also taken Tuesday, by the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the eighth round. For the Nordiques last season he scored 27 goals and and tallied 26 assists in 15 games. He added four goals and seven assists in the playoffs.

“With our import situation, we have two Canadian tenders, we have two Swedish draft picks, we drafted Sergei and another Russian (Romanov), who will most likely be playing for our U18 program, we just didn’t have room (for Rykov),” Robichaud said. “We are only allowed to have four on the (active roster), we weren’t in the position to take another import. I was very excited to see him taken. It didn’t surprise me, the kid put up massive numbers last season.”



Two University of Maine recruits were selected on Tuesday.

Defenseman Tim Gould went to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights ninth overall. The 6-foot defenseman spent last year with the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League where he had six goals and 23 assists in 54 games.

In the second round, Kyle Kawamura went to the Corpus Christi IceRays. The forward spent time in the United States Hockey League and British Columbia Hockey League this past season.


Last Friday, the Maine Nordiques announced their final tender, defenseman Luke Antonacci. The 5-foot-9 Antonacci had 19 goals and 34 assists last season with the ISS Kings U18 team.

He was picked last month in the USHL draft by the Green Bay Gamblers, but will be apart of the Maine Nordiques Development Program U18 team next season, and should also see some time in Lewiston.

“He’s a great skater, puck-possession-type of player, very good hockey IQ and thinker of the game,” Robichaud said. “He will be a player that will play up in games with us on the NAHL team next season. He will be going out to the USHL camp (in two weeks). He has a lot of time to grow, he’s already a fantastic player, but he’s only a 2002 birth year.”

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