FREE READ: USHL’s Lincoln Stars Add Four WHL Players, Trades in OHL and QMJHL With Scout Comments

The Lincoln Stars added a six players today, including four from the Portland Winterhawks (WHL).

The Stars added forwards Cross Hanas, Jack O’BrienJames Stefan and defensemen Clay HanusCharles-Alexis Legault, and Michael Mastrodomenico.

“What these moves do is give us more depth up front and on the backend,” Lincoln coach Chris Michael said. “If you look at the history of this league and the teams that have had success, depth at all positions is the common theme. Yesterday was Day One with the new faces, but credit to the guys that have been here. They elevated their game. When you make moves, that’s what you’re trying to do. Not only to bring in some fresh faces and new energy into your lineup and culture, but you’re trying elevating those that are here.

“I absolutely loved what I saw in practice, not only from our new guys but our guys that have been here since Day One. They were adults about it, they understand what we’re trying to do. They’re excited; they felt that our team got better, as well. They went out and competed and had a great day on the ice yesterday.”

Hanas, O’Brien, Stefan and Hanus all don’t have NCAA eligibility due to playing in the WHL.

Hanas had 22 goals and 27 assists for Portland last season. O’Brien scored 14 goals and added 16 assists while Stefan had five goals and four assists in 49 games. Hanus has totaled 60 points in 183 games over three seasons.

“These guys will go through an adjustment period as they enter a new league and get back into a rhythm of playing games for the first time in nine-plus months,” Michael added. “The WHL is more of a controlled game; the USHL is high-paced and chaotic at times. But they’re elite, elite players, and I think they’ll adjust pretty quickly and fit in nicely. And most importantly, all four kids are big-time people and that is what attracted us the most when we decided to go forward with this process. Getting to know all four of them, we knew we were bringing the right people into our culture.”

Legault played two games for Muskegon last year and was set to play for West Kelowna in the BCHL this season; he’s committed to Boston University. Mastrodomenico is committed to Notre Dame.


In the OHL the Owen Sound Attack aquired Nikita Tiatinkin in a trade with Niagara. The Ottawa native had 48 goals and 35 assists in 45 games last season for CIHA Green U18.

“He’s got a tall, thin frame and touch around the net scoring both his goals in tight on rebounds,” NZ scouts said. “He doesn’t play a flashy game but he’s a smart, subtle passes and then fills lanes to draw defenders or fights to get open to get it back. He showed speed and hustle carrying the puck up the walls and chipping it past defenders and racing after it in the corners. He has a soft set of hands which he uses to gain position on 1v1’s and get shots off and he is fast and aggressive driving the net with his stick on the ice and stopping on the goal. He’s not a graceful skater but he makes up for it with hustle and he is consistently around the puck attacking the net whenever he has a chance. His passing was excellent and he showed good compete in his own end making a key shot block playing the point on the penalty kill. Tiatinkin brings a power dimension to his game which allowed him to defend and get pucks out of his own end and protect the puck down low in the offensive zone and ultimately get to the net front with possession. Well rounded prospect who has the size, the skill, the instincts and passing ability to be a CHL/NCAA prospect.:


In the QMJHL, the Quebec Remparts added ’02 defenseman Alex Falardeau from Drakkar. Falardeau appeared in five games this season for Drakkar and last season he combined for 59 games between Drakkar and Cape Breton, scoring three assists.

“Falardeau kept his game simple and efficient; he moved pucks safely on the breakout, showed a quick first step and decent agility to stay tight on his opponents on the rush,” said NZ scouts. “At times this season he’s tried to play a skill game and it hasn’t worked well for him, but here he was direct, smart and even on the power play didn’t over handle or try to do too much. He isn’t overly physical, but he plays a positional game and defends well with his stick and his instincts.”

The Moncton Wildcats acquired defenseman Sam McKinney from Acadie-Bathurst for a fifth-round pick in 2023. McKinney was in the MJAHL last season with Campbelton where he played 43 games and recorded 32 points.

“McKinney is a savvy puck possession style defenseman who is poised and skilled,” said scouts. “The former third-round pick in the QMJHL is a bit under the radar playing in the MJAHL this past season for Campbelton. He makes subtle moves on the breakout and can make the simple pass or stretch the ice through the neutral zone. His head is always up, he can read the play defensively and get to the right spots to break it up.”

After dealing McKinney, the Titan traded for defenseman Jaxson Bellamy of Sherbrooke, sending a second and fifth-round pick in 2021 and a second-round pick in 2023.