Four current Lincoln Stars were named to the NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Watch List for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
Christian Kocsis, Michael Mastrodomenico, Kaidan Mbereko and Cameron Whitehead were all given “C” ratings, indicating a fourth, fifth or sixth-round candidate.
Kocsis scored the first two goals of his young USHL career last Friday, helping Lincoln defeat the Fargo Force 4-2. The Middletown, NJ native broke out in 2019-20 playing AAA hockey with Honeybaked, scoring 49 goals and adding 51 assists in 55 games. He was selected by the Stars with the 23rd overall pick in the 2020 USHL Futures Draft.
Mastrodomenico has four points in seven games this season for Lincoln following his appearance in 37 games in 2020-21. The University of Notre Dame commit tallied two points on Saturday night in Fargo. Before joining the Stars, the 2004-born defenseman played in the QMAAA, suiting up for 42 games with Laval-Montreal Rousseau Royal.
Mbereko has compiled a 3-2 record so far this season in Lincoln, with a goals-against average of 2.99 and a save percentage of .897. The 18-year-old ranks third in the USHL in minutes played (281) and saves (122). He was selected with the 6th overall selection in the 2021 USHL Entry Draft. For the previous two seasons, Mbereko played with Team USA, facing the Stars once on January 17th, 2020.
Whitehead currently leads the USHL in goals-against average (0.86) and save percentage (.971). The Orleans, ON native has appeared in three games so far this season, amassing a 1-0-1 record. Whitehead last played with the Utica Jr. Comets in the NCDC before being drafted in the tenth round (146th overall) in this past summer’s USHL Draft.
“It’s just step one," Stars head coach Rocky Russo said. "Obviously, there’s a midterm list and then there’s a list right before the draft. I told the whole team today that it’s a great honor to be named on the initial list, but it really doesn’t mean a whole lot."
"You’ve got to prove yourself throughout the course of the season and you want your name on the list when it comes draft time. For the guys that aren’t on the list, because I think we have some guys in our room that deserve to be on it, they need to work hard to find their way there. And for the guys that did, they have to work hard to stay there. It’s a good step, but it’s certainly not the end of the line."