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Feature Friday: A-Rated USHL Skaters Ready to Impress Ahead of 2021 NHL Draft

12/11/2020, 5:00pm CST
By Brent Meske

Five Active Skaters Named First Round Prospects by NHL Central Scouting in Preliminary List

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling / Hickling Images & Rena Laverty

Coming off three-straight NHL Drafts with 50-or-more selections coming from the United States Hockey League (USHL), the league boasts five players who were named A-rated skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Preliminary List: Chaz Lucius, Luke Hughes, Sasha Pastujov, Roman Schmidt and Mackie Samoskevich


Lucius enters his Under-18 season after finishing his Under-17 USHL campaign by finishing fourth among NTDP skaters with 22 points (8-14-22) in 32 games. The University of Minnesota commit has yet to appear in a game this season after averaging a point per game through 52 contests last season with the NTDP shield on his chest. Lucius, a native of Grant, Min., registered a pair of power play goals and game-winning goals last season in his USHL games and registered a pair of USHL career-high three-point games in back-to-back appearances on January 11 (at Youngstown, 1-2-3) and January 17 (vs. Lincoln, 0-3-3). The Gentry Academy product also had a season-high six-game point streak (4-4-8) from October 25 to November 30, 2019. Lucius was named to the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge All-Star Team after leading the tournament with seven goals and 10 points as the United States took home the silver medal. The forward had three three-point games in the tournament, including a hat trick (3-0-3) in an 8-4 win over Finland on November 7, 2019. 


Hughes should have a very familiar name to fans of the NHL, NTDP and USHL as he is trying to become the third Hughes brother to be selected in the First Round of the NHL Draft. Luke is the youngest of the Hughes brothers, following behind Quinn (2018, Round 1, #7) and Jack (2019, Round 1, #1) who are now playing in the NHL for the Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils, respectively, after spending a pair of seasons each with the NTDP. Luke, a University of Michigan commit, registered 13 points (4-9-13) in 28 games last season in the USHL and started the 2020-21 season with a goal in his first game. Luke, Quinn and Jack would be the 11th trio of brothers to be drafted but just the third to have three siblings taken in the First Round joining the Sutters and Staals. 

Trio of Brothers Selected in NHL Draft

Name NHL Team Details
Brian Sutter St. Louis Blues 1976, Round 2, #20
Darryl Sutter Chicago Black Hawks 1978, Round 11, #179
Duane Sutter New York Islanders 1979, Round 1, #17
Brent Sutter New York Islanders 1980, Round 1, #17
Ron Sutter Philadelphia Flyers 1982, Round 1, #4
Rich Sutter Pittsburgh Penguins 1982, Round 1, #10
Eric Staal Carolina Hurricanes 2003, Round 1, #2
Marc Staal New York Rangers 2005, Round 1, #12
Jordan Staal Pittsburgh Penguins 2006, Round 1, #2
Jared Staal Phoenix Coyotes 2008, Round 2, #49
Neal Broten Minnesota North Stars 1979, Round 3, #42
Aaron Broten Colorado Rockies 1980, Round 6, #106
Paul Broten New York Rangers 1984, Round 4, #77
Paul Comrie Tampa Bay Lightning 1997, Round 9, #224
Mike Comrie Edmonton Oilers 1999, Round 3, #91
Eric Comrie Winnipeg Jets 2013, Round 2, #59
Peter Dineen Philadelphia Flyers 1980, Round 9, #189
Gord Dineen New York Islanders 1981, Round 2, #42
Kevin Dineen Hartford Whalers 1982, Round 3, #56
Dave Hunter Montreal Canadiens 1978, Round 1, #17
Dale Hunter Quebec Nordiques 1979, Round 2, #41
Mark Hunter Montreal Canadiens 1981, Round 1, #7
Jamie McGinn San Jose Sharks 2006, Round 2, #36
Tye McGinn Philadelphia Flyers 2010, Round 4, #119
Brock McGinn Carolina Hurricanes 2012, Round 2, #47
Kelly Miller New York Rangers 1982, Round 9, #183
Kevin Miller New York Rangers 1984, Round 10, #202
Kip Miller Quebec Nordiques 1987, Round 4, #72
Max Reinhart Calgary Flames 2010, Round 3, #64
Griffin Reinhart New York Islanders 2012, Round 1, #4
Sam Reinhart Buffalo Sabres 2014, Round 1, #2
Mike Stuart Nashville Predators 2000, Round 5, #137
Colin Stuart Atlanta Thrashers 2001, Round 5, #135
Mark Stuart Boston Bruins 2003, Round 1, #21


Pastujov, like Lucius, has yet to appear in a USHL game this season but had an impressive Under-17 season as he registered 26 points (9-17-26) in 29 games, which tied for the NTDP high among all skaters on each roster during USHL play. The University of Notre Dame commit’s 17 assists (second) and nine goals (third) were both among NTDP leaders for USHL play while the forward was more than a point-per-game scorer with 50 points (14-36-50) through 49 total NTDP appearances in the 2019-20 season. Pastujov had seven multi-point games in the USHL last season, including a pair of three-point nights, one of which came in his USHL debut on October 4, 2019 as he assisted on a trio of NTDP goals. Pastujov, a native of Bradenton, Fla., led the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with seven assists, including at least one in each game he played for the United States. Sasha is the youngest of three hockey brothers as Nick (22) is in his first season in the New York Islanders system after being drafted by the team in 2016 (Round 7, #193) while Michael (21) is currently a senior forward at University of Michigan, where Nick also spent four seasons. 


Schmidt enters his Under-18 season with the NTDP coming off 17 points (7-10-17) in 48 games with the program last season. The Boston University commit chipped in 11 of those points (4-7-11) in 29 USHL games last season. Schmidt’s 11 USHL points ranked third among NTDP defensemen behind current teammate Sean Behrens and 2020 First Round (Ottawa Senators, #5) selection Jake Sanderson. Schmidt, a Midland, Mich. native, was also on the United States roster that took home Silver at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. 


Samoskevich enters his third season with the Chicago Steel and has made an immediate impact for the Steel this season with 15 points (4-11-15) in nine games. The University of Michigan commit had a five-point night (0-5-5) in his debut this season and has more multi-point games (5) this season than games without a point (3). Samoskevich is already nearly halfway to his career-high 34 points (13-21-34) he set last season with the Steel. 

USHL Alumni: A-Rated

University of Michigan, where Hughes, Pastujov and Samoskevich are already committed, has two of the three USHL alumni named A-rated skaters: Owen Power and Matthew Beniers.

Power, who was named the #1 prospect for the 2021 NHL Draft by Sports Illustrated, is a freshman defenseman at Michigan after playing for the Chicago Steel the past two seasons. Beniers is a freshman forward who played for the NTDP for the prior two seasons and was named the #8 prospect by Sports Illustrated.

Zachary Bolduc, who was named #15 among prospects by Sports Illustrated, is the third A-rated alumnus of the USHL. The Canadian forward appeared in two games with the Sioux City Musketeers last season. 

Full List of USHL Ties on NHL Central Scouting Preliminary List

Name Rank USHL Team
Matthew Beniers * A USA Hockey NTDP
Zachary Bolduc * A Sioux City Musketeers
Luke Hughes A USA Hockey NTDP
Chaz Lucius A USA Hockey NTDP
Sasha Pastujov A USA Hockey NTDP
Owen Power * A Chicago Steel
Mackie Samoskevich A USA Hockey NTDP
Roman Schmidt A USA Hockey NTDP
Sean Behrens B USA Hockey NTDP
Tyler Boucher B USA Hockey NTDP
Tristan Broz B Fargo Force
Matthew Coronato B Chicago Steel
Dylan Duke B USA Hockey NTDP
Justin Janicke B USA Hockey NTDP
Matthew Knies B Tri-City Storm
Luke Levandowski B Chicago Steel
Luke Mittelstadt B Lincoln Stars
Scott Morrow * B Youngstown Phantoms
Evan Nause * B Sioux Falls Stampede
Guillaume Richard B Tri-City Storm
Hunter Strand B Tri-City Storm
John Waldron B Waterloo Black Hawks
Yusaku Ando C Youngstown Phantoms
Matthew Argentina C Waterloo Black Hawks
Jackson Blake C Chicago Steel
Caden Brown C USA Hockey NTDP
Shai Buium C Sioux City Musketeers
Damien Carfagna C Green Bay Gamblers
Kenny Connors C Dubuque Fighting Saints
Paul Davey C Des Moines Buccaneers
Luca Fantilli C Chicago Steel
Ty Gallagher C USA Hockey NTDP
Andre Gasseau C USA Hockey NTDP
Liam Gilmartin C USA Hockey NTDP
Noah Grannan C Sioux Falls Stampede
Dylan Gratton C Youngstown Phantoms
Lukas Gustafsson C Chicago Steel
Aidan Hreschuk C USA Hockey NTDP
Jacob Jeannette C Waterloo Black Hawks
Kyle Kukkonen * C Madison Capitols
Charles-Alexis Legault * C Muskegon Lumberjacks
Sam Lipkin C Chicago Steel
Griffin Ludtke C Sioux City Musketeers
Cameron MacDonald * C Sioux Falls Stampede
Jacob Martin C USA Hockey NTDP
Austen May C Youngstown Phantoms
Kaidan Mbereko C USA Hockey NTDP
Owen McLaughlin * C Sioux City Musketeers
Ty Murchison C USA Hockey NTDP
Landon Parker * C Sioux City Musketeers
Jack Peart C Fargo Force
Jake Ratzlaff * C Green Bay Gamblers
Grant Riley * C Madison Capitols
Colby Saganiuk * C USA Hockey NTDP
Redmond Savage C USA Hockey NTDP
Bennett Schimek C Sioux City Musketeers
Arseni Sergeyev * C Sioux Falls Stampede
Thomas Sinclair C Muskegon Lumberjacks
Ryan St. Louis C USA Hockey NTDP
Ethan Straky C USA Hockey NTDP
Scout Truman C Des Moines Buccaneers
John (JP) Turner C Sioux Falls Stampede
Ryan Ufko C Chicago Steel
Gleb Veremyev C Lincoln Staars
Jeremy Wilmer C USA Hockey NTDP

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the 2020-21 season will be the USHL's 19th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league. The USHL had 51 players selected at the 2020 NHL Draft, marking the third-straight season with 50-or-more USHL players selected in the Draft. More than 800 league alumni are currently on NCAA Division I rosters, further establishing the USHL as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.

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