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Eyes on USHL Players for 2014 Draft

Monday September 23, 2013

Nick Schmaltz, Sonny Milano, Austin Poganski, and Ryan Mantha are among 48 players named on the NHL Central Scouting "Players to Watch" list for the 2014 NHL Draft. (photos by Rick Schaffer, Tom Sorensen, Tri-City Storm, Rob Franck/Sporting Images)

48 USHL players on "watch list" of top NHL Draft prospects

NHL Central Scouting has released their “Players to Watch” list, a preliminary list of players that the scouting service believes has the best opportunity to be selected during the 2014 NHL Draft.  Among the list of North American prospects is a large group of players spending the 2013-14 season in the USHL.

A total of 48 players competing in the USHL this season are on the list, the most players ever to make the preseason NHL Central Scouting list.  Thirteen of the 16 USHL Member Clubs had at least one player named to the list.

Green Bay Gamblers forward Nick Schmaltz and Team USA forwards Sonny Milano and Dylan Larkin each received an “A” ranking, meaning they are candidates to be a first-round selection in the NHL Draft.  At least one USHL players has been selected in the first round of the NHL Draft for nine consecutive years.

Dubuque Fighting Saints teammates Shane Eiserman and Seamus Malone are ranked as “B” skaters, likely second or third round candidates.  The duo will compete in the CCM/USA Hockey Top Prospects Game later this week.  They join Tri-City Storm teammates Austin Poganski and Chris Wilkie who also received “B” rankings along with defenseman Ryan Hitchcock and a number of his Team USA teammates.

The 2014 NHL Draft takes place on June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, home of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers.  During the 2013 NHL Draft, a record 32 USHL players were selected by NHL teams.

USHL Players to Watch

“A” Skaters

Dylan Larkin (F), Team USA

Sonny Milano (F), Team USA

Nick Schmaltz (F), Green Bay Gamblers


“B” Skaters

Anders Bjork (F), Team USA

Ryan Collins (D), Team USA

Lawton Courtnall (F), Waterloo Black Hawks

Jack Dougherty (D), Team USA

Shane Eiserman (F), Dubuque Fighting Saints

Jack Glover (D), Team USA

Ryan Hitchcock (F), Team USA

Josh Jacobs (D), Indiana Ice

Jonathan MacLeod (F), Team USA

Seamus Malone (F), Dubuque Fighting Saints

Ryan Mantha (D), Sioux City Musketeers

Cody Milan (F), Sioux Falls Stampede

Austin Poganski (F), Tri-City Storm

Alex Tuch (F), Team USA

Chris Wilkie (F), Tri-City Storm


“C” Skaters

Anthony Angello (F), Omaha Lancers

Louis Belpedio (D), Team USA

Nathan Billitier (D), Team USA

Michael Eyssimont (F), Fargo Force

Jared Fiegl (F), Team USA

Mark Friedman (D), Waterloo Black Hawks

Shane Gersich (F), Team USA

Blake Hillman (D), Dubuque Fighting Saints

Dakota Joshua (F), Sioux Falls Stampede

Karson Kuhlman (F), Dubuque Fighting Saints

Maxim Letunov (F), Youngstown Phantoms

Connor McDonald (D), Chicago Steel

Drew Melanson (F), Omaha Lancers

Janik Moeser (D), Muskegon Lumberjacks

Mason Morelli (F), Fargo Force

Dylan Pavelek (F), Team USA

Neal Pionk (D), Sioux City Musketeers

Jacob Pritchard (F), Indiana Ice

Kiefer Sherwood (F), Youngstown Phantoms

Nolan Stevens (F), Team USA

Luke Stork (F), Youngstown Phantoms

Ryan Tait (F), Omaha Lancers

Peter Tischke (D), Chicago Steel

Hunter Warner (D), Waterloo Black Hawks

Joe Wegwerth (F), Team USA


“B” Goaltenders

Hayden Lavigne, Tri-City Storm

Edwin Minney, Team USA

Blake Weyrick, Team USA


“C” Goaltenders

Cam Hackett, Green Bay Gamblers

Jason Pawloski, Indiana Ice


Additionally, six alumni of the USHL playing in the NCAA this season were also listed as Players to Watch.

“A” Goaltenders

Thatcher Demko, Team USA/Omaha Lancers


“C” Skaters

Evan Allen (F), Team USA

Brendan Harms (F), Fargo Force

Alex Kile (F), Green Bay Gamblers

Clint Lewis (D), Team USA

Parker Reno (D), Lincoln Stars


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 12th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2013-14.  A record 32 players were chosen in the 2013 NHL Draft and more than 300 players on team rosters last season have committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL 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.

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