USHL teams have been traveling to USHL showcase events and exhibition matches over the past four weeks to finalize their rosters, evaluate future talent and get back into the day-to-day work of junior hockey. The Sioux Falls Stampede will watch their championship banner rise to the rafters on September 26th, while Anderson Cup Champions Youngstown Phantoms look to finish the job they started last year. 24 NHL Draft picks are expected to play this season in the USHL, and even more future draft selections will look to impress scouts for the upcoming 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo. Over 270 NCAA Division I commits are on opening day rosters, as the USHL returns from a record season that featured over 375 college commits.
The usahockeymagazine.com Power Rankings return with an eye for the possibilities in the 2015-16 USHL season. 10 media members rank the teams from 1st to 17th, and the votes are compiled into an overall ranking. Power Rankings are decided on a monthly basis and will run until Clark Cup Playoffs. Listed below are the teams, their 2014-15 record and number of first place votes in parenthesis. Click HERE for rankings.
6. Bloomington Thunder
2014-15 Record: 29-24-7
After barely missing the Clark Cup Playoffs in their inaugural season, second year coach Dennis Williams will be excited to see many familiar faces in the Bloomington Thunder locker room. In total, 18 players are expected to return, including both Hayden Lavigne and Logan Halladay in net. Second year forward Steven Merl led the team in scoring during preseason play with four goals in as many games. 2016 NHL Draft eligible forward Mitchell Mattson also found the back of the net, as he looks to carry momentum into the regular season.
7. Chicago Steel
2014-15 Record: 30-27-3
The Steel look to be the latest team to benefit from the “Russia Effect” as they play fresh off their bronze medal victory. Every team that has competed in the Junior Club World Cup has gone on to advance to the Clark Cup Playoffs since the USHL began sending teams in the 2012-13 season. Boston Bruins prospect Daniel Vladar has been solid in net early this season, boasting a .973 SV% during group play at the JCWC, and earning his first win in a Bruins uniform during the NHL preseason. Returning forward Tanner Laczynski looks to build upon his 46-point season, as he was already awarded “Best Forward” at the JCWC in Russia. Minnesota forwards Jake Jaremko and Max Zimmer also looked good early in Russia and should be major contributors on the score sheet this season.
Categories: Hockey Headlines