Photo by Hickling Images
The Youngstown Phantoms have signed forward Trevor Kuntar to a tender for the 2017-18 season. The Williamsville, NY native is committed to Harvard University and is Youngstown’s first tender signing prior to the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft. Kuntar is the first player to sign a tender with a USHL team this season. 10 players signed tenders last season.
A tender allows USHL clubs to sign a player directly to their team for next season in exchange for their first or second round pick in the USHL Phase I Draft.
“I am looking forward to continue to develop my skills with the Phantoms,” said Kuntar. “The coaching staff, and team are the right fit for me to become the best player I can be.”
Kuntar is currently a high school sophomore and spent this past season with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U AAA program (T1EHL). In 32 games , Kuntar had 27 points (12G, 15A) and 46 penalty minutes.
“Given Trevor's location in Buffalo, our staff has been able to watch Trevor play numerous times starting this past July through the season and we felt that he was an elite level player in this birth class and someone we wanted in our organization moving forward from a player standpoint," said Youngstown general manager Jason Koehler. "In the fall, we had the chance to meet Trevor and his family during a visit with us and that solidified the fact that not only we could bring to Youngstown a top notch hockey player, but also a great student athlete, person, and parents into our program as well - which means so much to us."
"We’re ecstatic to replace our first round pick in the Phase I Draft on May 1 in trade for knowing that we will be getting Trevor’s talent moving forward. Our club knows we are getting a player that will develop into a successful top six caliber forward who plays the right way all over the ice, has a high hockey IQ, will make players around him better, and comes in with an edge and desire to win.”
Kuntar is just the seventh player to sign a USHL tender in Phantoms team history. 2015 first round NHL draft pick Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets) became Youngstown’s first tender back in 2012, along with JJ Piccinich, who was also a fourth round NHL Draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2014. Youngstown has tendered one player in each of the past three seasons. Current Phantoms forwards Curtis Hall and Max Ellis were tendered in 2016.
Now in its sixth year, the USHL tender process allows teams to sign up to two 2001 birth year players prior to the 2017 USHL Phase I Draft. The first tender for a team would take the place of a first-round pick in Phase I of the USHL Draft, and if the team tenders a second player, that would take the place of a second-round selection in the USHL Phase I Draft. The final day for USHL teams to sign a tender is Sunday, April 30, 2017.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 15th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2016-17. 30 or more players from the USHL have been selected in four consecutive NHL Drafts, and more than 400 players on team rosters last season committed to NCAA Division I schools, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.