USHL Makes History at NHL Draft
Friday June 22, 2012
Matt Gajtka of the Muskegon Lumberjacks and Bart Logan of the Youngstown Phantoms recap the historic first round of the 2012 NHL Draft as six players who spent the 2011-12 season in the USHL were selected by NHL teams, surpassing the previous record of four.
Video - 2012 NHL Draft first round recap
It was a historic night for the USHL at the 2012 NHL Draft as six players who spent the 2011-12 season in the USHL were chosen in the first round, surpassing the previous record of four first-rounders from the League in one draft year.
The big night began when Team USA defenseman Jacob Trouba was selected ninth overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Just five picks later, the Buffalo Sabres would make a trade to acquire the 14th overall selection, and with that pick they chose Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Zemgus Girgensons.
It was another Dubuque Fighting Saints player selected 23rd overall when the Florida Panthers took defenseman Mike Matheson. It would only be two picks later that another USHL defenseman heard his name called when the St. Louis Blues drafted Jordan Schmaltz of the Green Bay Gamblers 25th overall.
A pair of Team USA members rounded out the night for the USHL when defenseman Brady Skjei and forward Stefan Matteau were selected with consecutive picks, Skjei going 28th overall to the New York Rangers and Matteau following at 29th to the New Jersey Devils.
The Dubuque Fighting Saints got another piece of good news when their top choice in the recent USHL Entry Draft heard his name called on Friday night at the NHL Draft. Forward Mark Jankowski was selected 21st overall to the Calgary Flames after the Saints took him 11th overall exactly a month ago in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft.
One USHL alum was also selected in the first round on Friday night as Henrik Samuelsson was picked 27th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes. The forward spent the 2010-11 season in the USHL with Team USA.
The 2012 NHL Draft continues on Saturday with rounds 2-7. Full coverage of USHL players at the draft can be found throughout the weekend on www.USHL.com
- It was the second time in three drafts that the St. Louis Blues took a USHL player 14th overall when they chose Girgensons. Two years ago, they selected Tri-City Storm forward Jaden Schwartz 14th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft.
- When the Florida Panthers selected Matheson, it marked the sixth consecutive year that the organization has drafted at least one USHL player.
- Schmaltz is the first player to be selected in the first round after winning the Clark Cup in the same season since Kyle Okposo (7th overall) and Trevor Lewis (17th overall) did so during the 2006 NHL Draft after leading the Des Moines Buccaneers to the Clark Cup.
- Jankowski will become the first player selected in the first round of the NHL Draft that will then continue his career in the USHL since Blake Wheeler did so for the Green Bay Gamblers after being selected fifth overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2004 NHL Draft.
- Samuelsson’s brother Philip Samuelsson was selected in the 2009 NHL Draft after playing in the USHL that season with the Chicago Steel.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrated its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 13 NHL draftees on its rosters this season, and 280 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s multiple social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action online all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.