The Next Ones: 2014 NHL Draft Prospects
Wednesday July 10, 2013
Nick Schmaltz, Seamus Malone, and Sonny Milano are among returning USHL players that NHL scouts will be watching for the 2014 NHL Draft during the 2013-14 season. (photos by Rick Schaffer, Serena Dalhamer, Tom Sorensen)
Returning and incoming USHL players on the NHL radar in 2013-14
The 2013 NHL Draft was completed just days ago, but already the focus is on the next wave of talent that NHL teams will be keeping an eye on for the 2014 NHL Draft. Among those elite players are several that are hitting the ice in the USHL for the 2013-14 season.
NHL Central Scouting released its “Futures List” for the upcoming season, which highlights players considered as potential selections in the top three rounds of the 2014 NHL Draft.
Green Bay Gamblers forward Nick Schmaltz is high on the list of many NHL scouts. He is coming off a stellar 2012-13 season in which he tallied 52 points (18g, 34a) while playing in all 64 regular season games. Five of his goals were game-winners and he earned a spot on the USHL All-Rookie Team. Nick watched his older brother, Jordan Schmaltz, go through the draft process in 2012 when he was selected in the first round (25th overall) by the St. Louis Blues following his USHL season with the Green Bay Gamblers.
Coming off a championship season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints, forward Seamus Malone will have plenty sets of eyes on him during his second USHL season. As a 16-year-old, he collected 27 points (6g, 21a) and posted a plus-12 rating in 50 regular season games. He also added three points (2g, 1a) in nine playoff games during the Saints run for the Clark Cup title.
Joining Malone in Dubuque this season is another player on the Futures List who has USHL experience. Shane Eiserman spent last season playing for Team USA and scored seven points (4g, 3a), plus racked up 29 penalty minutes in 22 USHL contests in 2012-13.
Team USA has a number of players gaining attention, including high-scoring forwards Sonny Milano and Anders Bjork who combined for 37 points (18g, 19a) in 38 USHL contests last season. Top defensemen Jack Glover and Ryan Collins are also on the Futures List from NHL Central Scouting.
The USHL Western Conference also has a number of players to watch in 2013-14, including Chris Wilkie. The Tri-City Storm will make history this season with the addition of the forward as he is the first Nebraska native to play for the team. He scored 14 points (7g, 7a) in 38 games for Team USA this past season.
As several returning USHL players are highly-touted for the 2014 NHL Draft, a number of incoming players are on the Futures List and will see greater exposure to NHL scouts while playing in the USHL this coming season.
After having five players selected in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Waterloo Black Hawks look to have no shortage of prospects for the 2014 Draft. Tyler Sheehy and Hunter Warner both played a handful of games in the USHL last season and are competing for full-time roles in 2013-14. They join newcomer Tanner MacMaster as players that NHL Central Scouting has included on its Futures List.
In addition to newcomer Chris Wilkie, the Tri-City Storm have a pair of forwards on the NHL radar in Austin Poganski and Tyler Bird. Late season, Poganski made his USHL debut with the Storm and appeared in two games, the second of which he scored his first USHL goal.
USHL Players on NHL Central Scouting Futures List
Anders Bjork (F), Team USA
Ryan Collins (D), Team USA
Shane Eiserman (F), Dubuque Fighting Saints
Jared Fiegl (F), Team USA
Jack Glover (D), Team USA
Dylan Larkin (F), Team USA
Jonathan Macleod (D), Team USA
Seamus Malone (F), Dubuque Fighting Saints
Sonny Milano (F), Team USA
Nick Schmaltz (F), Green Bay Gamblers
Alex Tuch (F), Team USA
Blake Weyrick (G), Team USA
Chris Wilkie (F), Tri-City Storm
Tyler Bird (F), Tri-City Storm**
Jack Dougherty (D), Sioux Falls Stampede**
Joey Dudek (F), Dubuque Fighting Saints**
Miguel Fidler (F), Lincoln Stars**
Shane Gersich (F), Omaha Lancers**
Cam Hackett (G), Green Bay Gamblers**
Tanner MacMaster (F), Waterloo Black Hawks**
Connor McDonald (D), Dubuque Fighting Saints**
Chase Perry (G), Sioux Falls Stampede**
Austin Poganski (F), Tri-City Storm**
Jack Ramsey (F), Waterloo Black Hawks**
Tyler Sheehy (F), Waterloo Black Hawks**
Steven Spinner (F), Muskegon Lumberjacks**
Jared Walsh (D), Chicago Steel**
Hunter Warner (D), Waterloo Black Hawks**
**protected list players
Four other players who caught the attention of NHL scouts this past season in the USHL were also included on the Futures List - Thatcher Demko (G), Kevin Labanc (F), and Ryan MacInnis (F) of Team USA and Omaha Lancers forward Connor Chatham, all of whom have moved on from the USHL for the 2013-14 season.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL now prepares for its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14. With 19 NHL Draft picks on team rosters and over 300 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 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 all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.