Joshua, Gushchin, Gaffney & Lynch | Lumberjacks Preseason StandoutsSeptember 23, 2018
Preseason wrapped up tonight for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Mike Hamilton, serving his first season as head coach, is challenged faced with the challenge of cutting five skaters from the current roster. Facing Team USA and the famed Jack Hughes, the Lumberjacks were under immense pressure. There was blood, guts and a whole lot of scoring. It was deja vu, as they fell to USA 6-3. In spite of the loss, Muskegon still had a few stand out players that are reminiscent of last season’s star-studded team.
jagger Joshua – enforcer & leader
The Lumberjacks will be boosted this season by the veteran presence of Jagger Joshua. Acquired during the 2017-18 season from the Youngstown Phantoms, Joshua has quickly become a core leader for the Lumberjacks. Though only tallying five points in 28 games while with the Lumberjacks last season, his persistent forecheck will put him at the front of the pack this season. Acting as a leader, with or without the letter on his jersey, and an enforcer of sorts to his teammates, Joshua is going to be a necessity for the Lumberjacks.
daniil gushchin – the next Andrei svechnikov?
New faces to the Lumberjacks are forcing a double-take, however. Newly added Daniil Gushchin, a Russian import playing his first full season in the United States, will be an undeniable force. On the smaller side of the scale, coming in at only 5’9,” Gushchin has unbelievable puck handling ability. Only 16 years old, he has immense promise – much like Andrei Svechnikov – also a product of the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Gushchin split the Team USA defense single-handedly more than once. One of those moments resulted in a goal for the new guy. He’s a 2002 birth year, so he’s not quite draft eligible, but if he continues as he is now, he will be a very high pick.
alex gaffney – pint size pistol
Alex Gaffney is another 2002 skater with time on his side. Having just turned 16, Gaffney has significant promise. He’s very fast and smart board sense. He is another small one, measuring just 5’7”, he’s an easy target. Much like former Lumberjack, Emilio Pettersen, he’s got skilled handling that can get him out of tough spots. He has to get bigger, there’s no question there, but he’s got an incredible shot, which makes up for the size for now. Entering in his first USHL season, he’ll be against a much larger group than what he’s accustomed to, but as long as he can play smart, he’ll be a major point producer in no time.
bobby lynch – top level talent
Bobby Lynch demanded attention in Saturday’s game. He is big, experienced and plays a top-level game. Being 20 and only in his first year in the USHL, he doesn’t have much time for further development. Lynch spent the last two seasons in the QMJHL with the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Putting up 67 points last season, Lynch is already looking like a solid winger. Given the current roster, prior to cuts, that is one thing Muskegon may struggle with – size. Lynch would provide some bulk as well as speed on drives to the net. He will be a player to be keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.