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
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
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
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.