Illinois Natives Floodstrand, Laczynski, Malone and Dello Named for 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game



Top Prospects


40 NHL Draft eligible USHL players to be showcased on January 13th


The United States Hockey League and NHL Central Scouting today announced the players selected to compete in the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that takes place on January 13th in Dubuque, Iowa at the Mystique Community Ice Center, home of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints.

The selection process for players competing in the game was completed in cooperation with USHL general managers, NHL scouts and team personnel, and NHL Central Scouting.  All 40 players chosen are eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft, including 30 players that are in their first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft.

“We congratulate these young players on being selected for this prestigious event as they represent an exceptional talent pool that is being developed by USHL clubs,” said Bob Fallen, USHL President and Commissioner.  “By being selected for the event, they have already captured the attention of NHL scouts, and this game provides them another opportunity to be evaluated very closely by decision makers from every NHL team.  Their performances in Dubuque could certainly impact when and if their names are called in June at the 2015 NHL Draft.”

Fifteen of the 17 USHL Member Clubs have at least one player selected to compete in the game, led by the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders which have six players chosen, the Chicago Steel and Youngstown Phantoms both with four players, and three each for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, Green Bay Gamblers, Muskegon Lumberjacks, Tri-City Storm, and Waterloo Black Hawks.

Among the players selected to compete are Kyle Connor of the Youngstown Phantoms, and teammates Brock Boeser andTom Novak of the Waterloo Black Hawks, all of whom are ranked as “A” skaters on the “Players to Watch List” by NHL Central Scouting, meaning they are candidates to be selected in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft.  A player from the USHL has been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft for ten consecutive years.

Several “B” skaters ranked by NHL Central Scouting, meaning they are candidates for the second and third round of the 2015 NHL Draft, were selected to compete in the game.  Joe Cecconi of the Muskegon Lumberjacks is the highest-rated USHL defenseman, along with forwards Erik Foley (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (Omaha Lancers),Brent Gates, Jr. (Green Bay Gamblers), Cooper Marody (Sioux Falls Stampede), and Nikita Pavlychev (Des Moines Buccaneers).

In total, 29 of the 40 players selected for the game were on the “Players to Watch List” released by NHL Central Scouting in late November.

“The USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides a unique opportunity for the management and scouts of the 30 NHL teams to view the top USHL talent available for the 2015 NHL Draft.  The prospects are encouraged to showcase their skills and abilities amongst their peers in this competitive and entertaining environment that brings out their best,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting.

Players selected represent 15 different states and five other countries.  Eleven of the players competed in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September.  Of the 40 players selected, 34 are committed to play college hockey at NCAA Division 1 programs.

The 40 players will be split into two 20-man teams – Team East and Team West – for the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, and the teams mostly represent a split of players currently competing in the USHL’s Eastern Conference and Western Conference.


2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Lineups

Team West                                                                          Team East


Forwards                                                                             Forwards

Brock Boeser, Waterloo Black Hawks                           Mason Bergh, Chicago Steel

Robert Carpenter, Sioux City Musketeers                    Kyle Connor, Youngstown Phantoms

Mikey Eyssimont, Fargo Force                                       Erik Foley, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Michael Floodstrand, Team USA                                   Jiri Fronk, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Omaha Lancers             Dylan Gambrell, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Matthew Freytag, Tri-City Storm                                    Brent Gates, Jr., Green Bay Gamblers

Jake Henderson, Omaha Lancers                                 Adam Gaudette, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Cooper Marody, Sioux Falls Stampede                         Robby Jackson, Chicago Steel

Tom Novak, Waterloo Black Hawks                               Tanner Laczynski, Chicago Steel

Nikita Pavlychev, Des Moines Buccaneers                 Seamus Malone, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Denis Smirnov, Fargo Force                                         Sam Miletic, Green Bay Gamblers

Chris Wilkie, Tri-City Storm                                           Chase Pearson, Youngstown Phantoms


Defensemen                                                                       Defensemen


Tory Dello, Tri-City Storm                                               Joe Cecconi, Muskegon Lumberjacks

Bryce Hatten, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders                Dennis Gilbert, Chicago Steel

Wyatt Kalynuk, Lincoln Stars                                         Blake Hillman, Dubuque Fighting Saints

Joe Masonius, Team USA                                             Kris Myllari, Youngstown Phantoms

Ethan Spaxman, Waterloo Black Hawks                     Vili Saarijarvi, Green Bay Gamblers

Ryan Zuhlsdorf, Sioux City Musketeers                      Christian Wolanin, Muskegon Lumberjacks


Goaltenders                                                                        Goaltenders

Chris Birdsall, Youngstown Phantoms                          Ryan Larkin, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders

Ben Blacker, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders                    Eric Schierhorn, Muskegon Lumberjacks


It is the third time in which the USHL is conducting the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, and it follows a record-setting 2014 NHL Draft that saw 35 players from the 2013-14 season selected by NHL clubs.  The 2015 NHL Draft will be held June 26-27, 2015 in Sunrise, Florida at the BB&T Center, home of the NHL’s Florida Panthers.

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 13th season as the nation’s only Tier I junior hockey league in 2014-15.  A record 35 players were chosen in the 2014 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

Categories: Alumni in the News, Hockey Headlines

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