Phase One Draft Show airs at 6:00 PM on May 4th
The United States Hockey League is in the midst of the playoffs to determine a champion, but teams are already preparing for the future, and the next step to build rosters for next season and beyond is the USHL Draft on May 4th and 5th.
The USHL Draft takes place in two stages, beginning with Phase One on Monday, May 4th at 6:00 PM (CDT). Phase One will consist of ten (10) rounds as USHL teams select players from the 1999 birth year.
For the fourth consecutive year, picks will be announced on the live USHL Draft Show which can be viewed at www.USHL.com. Hosting the 2015 USHL Draft Show are a pair of USHL broadcasters, Jared Shafran of the Tri-City Storm and Brian Tosti of the Bloomington Thunder. In addition to the official announcement of Phase One selections, the USHL Draft Show will have exclusive interviews with draft selections, USHL coaches, and much more.
Phase One selections traditionally are not ready to play in the USHL the following season and will continue to develop in lower levels of hockey in preparation to join the League in future seasons. A number of those players however, may see game action in the coming season. Multiple players selected in Phase One last year suited up during the 2014-15 season, including Kieffer Bellows, a first-round pick by the Sioux Falls Stampede, who went on to score 33 goals in the regular season. Defenseman Jake Ryczek played 55 games after the Sioux City Musketeers chose him in the first round, and forward Dante Palecco appeared in 32 games for the Muskegon Lumberjacks after they made him a first-round selection.
Now in its fourth year, the USHL tender process allows teams to sign up to two 1999 birth year players prior to the 2015 USHL Draft. The first “tender” for a team would take the place of a first-round pick in Phase One, and if a team tenders a second player, that would take the place of a second-round selection in Phase One. Each tendered player will be on their respective team’s roster for the 2015-16 season and play at least 55% of the team’s regular season games.
Six different teams thus far have elected to use tenders prior to the 2015 USHL Draft, including the Dubuque Fighting Saints who utilized both of their available tenders – forward Baron Thompson and defenseman Joey Keane. The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (Liam Walsh), Muskegon Lumberjacks (Graham Lillibridge), Omaha Lancers (Brannon McManus), Sioux City Musketeers (Eeli Tolvanen), and Waterloo Black Hawks (Mikey Anderson) have each tendered one player.
Phase Two of the USHL Draft begins on Tuesday, May 5th at 8:00 AM (CDT). All picks in Phase Two will be announced in real-time via a draft board on www.USHL.com. This phase is a multi-age group draft as teams can select players anywhere between the 1995 and 1999 birth years and look to fill their protected lists with players who will compete for roster spots for the 2015-16 season. The number of rounds in Phase Two is not pre-determined. It continues until all drafting USHL teams have secured 45 players on their Initial Protected List. That list includes affiliate players from the 2014-15 season, players selected in Phase One, and players signed to a tender.
The selection order for the USHL Draft is based on the reverse order of the 2014-15 regular season final standings, meaning the Lincoln Stars will pick first in each round, followed by the Green Bay Gamblers and Des Moines Buccaneers. The Anderson Cup champion Youngstown Phantoms will select last in each round.
Trades made by teams prior to the USHL Draft will affect selections in specific rounds, but the draft order will be maintained throughout each round of Phase One and continue through Phase Two.
Sixteen of the USHL’s 17 Member Clubs participate in the USHL Draft. Team USA does not participate as they hold a separate player-selection process that is completed in cooperation with the other USHL Member Clubs. Team USA has already secured 20 player commitments from the 1999 birth year who will be part of the Under-17 team that will compete in the USHL during the 2015-16 season.
While the USHL Draft is key step in the player procurement process, it is not the only avenue for players to earn spots on team rosters and protected lists. USHL teams conduct team tryouts in the offseason before hosting training camp in the weeks prior to the 2015-16 regular season. A list of team tryouts can be found at www.USHL.com.
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 this season are committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.
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