GENEVA, ILLINOIS — The Chicago Steel announced Monday the signing of top prospect forward Robert Mastrosimone of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Sabres (U16) to a USHL tender agreement for the 2017-2018 season. Mastrosimone, 16, is committed to Boston University (Hockey East).
The Steel’s signing of Mastrosimone marks the first time the team has tendered a player since the process began in the USHL in 2012. The USHL tender process allows teams to sign a player prior to the USHL Phase I Draft in exchange for a first or second round pick.
“We are very excited to have tendered a high-quality kid like Robert Mastrosimone,” said Steel General Manager Ryan Bennett. “He brings a high-end work ethic and an elite skill set to our organization. Robert’s a very smart player that can either play center or on the wing, which will allow us flexibility in our lineup every night.”
“We are thrilled that Robert has signed a tender and will be joining our organization,” said Steel Head Coach Dan Muse. “We feel strongly that he will be a great fit both on and off the ice. He is going to be a big part of our future. We are looking forward to working with him and having him as a part of our organization and community.”
The East Islip, NY, native is currently a sophomore at Shattuck-St. Mary’s prep school in Faribault, Minn., with whom he recorded 23 goals and 21 assists in 31 games this season en route to the Sabres’ runner-up finish last week at the USA Hockey National Championships in Pittsburgh.
“I’m very excited to join the Steel organization,” said Mastrosimone. “I cannot wait to get the Chicago Steel jersey on.”
Chicago has never tendered a player before, though three members of the current roster were previously tendered by other teams: Derek Daschke (Cedar Rapids, 2014), Graham Lillibridge (Muskegon, 2015), and Brannon McManus (Omaha, 2015). Former USHL tenders currently in the NHL include Ivan Provorov (Cedar Rapids, 2013) of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Kyle Connor (Youngstown, 2012) of the Winnipeg Jets.
Now in its sixth year, the USHL tender process allows teams to sign up to two 2001 birth year players prior to the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft, which takes place next month. Mastrosimone’s signing will take the place of Chicago’s first-round pick in the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft. If the Steel tender a second player, that signing would take the place of a second-round selection in the USHL Phase I Draft. The final day for USHL teams to sign a tender is Sunday, April 30, 2017. Each tendered player will be on their respective team’s roster the next season and play at least 55% of the team’s regular season games.
Mastrosimone is the second player to tender with a USHL team in 2017. Forward Trevor Kuntar signed earlier this month with the Youngstown Phantoms.
The Steel are playing in the Clark Cup Playoffs for the first time since the 2007-2008 season, leading an Eastern Conference Semifinals series against the Phantoms, 2-0. This week, the best-of-five series shifts to Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio, for Game 3, and if necessary, Game 4, on April 21-22 at 7:05 p.m. EDT/6:05 p.m. CDT. If a Game 5 is needed, the series will move back to Fox Valley Ice Arena on Tuesday, April 25 at 7:05 p.m. CDT. The winner of the series will advance to face either the Dubuque Fighting Saints or Muskegon Lumberjacks in the Eastern Conference Final. All Steel games are broadcasted live on HockeyTV (video) and mixlr.com/chicago-steel (free audio). For tickets or more information, call 855-51-STEEL, stop by the Box Office at Fox Valley Ice Arena or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.