Esmark 18U forward Rutkowski signs NAHL tender
The Esmark Stars AAA Hockey Club of the T1ER North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) are pleased to announce that 18U forward Maxwell Rutkowski has signed a North American Hockey League (NAHL) tender agreement with the Oklahoma Warriors of the NAHL’s South Division.
The 2023-24 season is Rutkowski’s third season with Esmark's AAA program and second season with the Star's U18 Midget Major squad.
The (5'10" / 180 lbs.) 18-year-old from Export, PA, has registered 9 points (2 goals, 7 assists), in eight North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) appearances so far this season, including one game winning goal for Esmark's U18 AAA Midget Major squad.
Overall, this season to date, Rutkowski has tallied 28 points (9 goals, 19 assists), including two power play goals, in 27 games played for Esmark (through Nov. 9).
During the 2022-23 season, Rutkowski registered 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists), in 12 North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) appearances (eight regular season and four Dixon Cup NAPHL Playoff games) for Esmark's U18 AAA squad.
Overall during the 2021-22 season, Rutkowski tallied 50 points (21 goals, 29 assists), including one power-play and one short-handed goal, in 47 games played for the 18U Esmark squad in a season in which he missed 23 games due to injury.
Rutkowski skated for Esmark's U16 team during the 2020-21 season and registered 15 points (8 goals, seven assists) in 24 NAPHL league games played and 43 points (25 goals, 18 assists), including two power play goals and one shorthanded goal in 67 overall games played.
"Max is going to be a good fit in Oklahoma,” said Esmark 18U head coach Dave Kosick. "He is a tough kid who can play in all situations … penalty kill, shut-down line, forechecker … who will thrive in a heavy, big body game.”
“He is the type of player who checks off a lot of boxes for a coaching staff and one who works each day to succeed on the ice,” Kosick added.
Rutkowski is the first member of the 2023-2024 Esmark 18U AAA team to sign a tender with a Junior A club.
A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders, which include two (2) tenders exclusively used on players from the T1ER - plus or minus any trades - which became active on November 1st. Tendered players are not eligible for the 2024 NAHL Draft.