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Nine USHL Players Selected in 2021 NHL Draft

07/24/2021, 12:00am CDT

First Time in USHL History League Has Four Top 10 Picks

Chicago, IL - The United States Hockey League (USHL) had nine players selected in the First Round of the 2021 NHL Draft Friday night. 

Owen Power * - Buffalo Sabres (1st Overall)
Matthew Beniers * - Seattle Kraken (2nd Overall)
Luke Hughes - New Jersey Devils (4th Overall)
Tyler Boucher - Ottawa Senators (10th Overall)
Cole Sillinger - Columbus Blue Jackets (12th Overall)
Matthew Coronato - Calgary Flames (13th Overall)
Zachary Bolduc * - St. Louis Blues (17th Overall)
Chaz Lucius - Winnipeg Jets (18th Overall)
Mackie Samoskevich - Florida Panthers (24th Overall)

The league’s nine picks is tied for the second-most selections (2019) in the First Round of an NHL Draft, trailing only the league's record of 10 in 2016. 

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling / Hickling Images

Power became just the fourth USHL player to be taken first overall in the NHL Draft and the first non-USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) player to do so. The former Chicago Steel defenseman joins Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils, 2019), Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs, 2016) and Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders, 2000) as first overall selections from the USHL and is the lone defenseman among the group. 

Power was named USHL Defenseman of the Year in his second season with the Steel (2019-20) as he led all league defensemen with 40 points (12-28-40). During Power’s first season in the league, the then 15- and 16-year-old entered the league with 25 points (11-14-25) and earned a spot on the All-USHL Second Team.

Last season was Power’s first at University of Michigan where the freshman blue liner tallied 16 points (3-13-16), earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Rookie Team as well as the All-Big Ten Second Team. Internationally, Power was part of Team Canada’s Gold Medal winning team at the 2020 World Championships. 

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

Beniers became the second USHL player to be an expansion team’s first ever NHL Draft pick as the former NTDP forward was taken second overall by the NHL’s 32nd franchise, the Seattle Kraken. 

Beniers played two seasons with the NTDP in the USHL, picking up 47 points (18-29-47) in 49 league games. The Hingham, Mass. native then moved on to the University of Michigan where Beniers just finished his freshman season, scoring 24 points (10-14-24) in 24 games and earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Rookie roster as well as being named an Honorable Mention for the All-Big Ten Team. 

Beniers earned a Gold Medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships last season as well as a Bronze Medal at the World Championships. 

Beniers joins Sioux City Musketeers alumnus alumnus Rostislav Klesla as the only two USHL players to be selected with an expansion team's first NHL Draft pick. Klesla was taken fourth overall in the 2000 NHL Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Beniers is the ninth USHL player selected in the NHL Draft by an expansion team. 

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

The fourth pick in the NHL Draft, NTDP alumnus Luke Hughes, made league history as the Hughes brothers are the first trio of brothers to ever be selected in the top 10 picks of the NHL Draft. Luke joins his brother, and fellow USA Hockey NTDP alumnus, Jack Hughes with the Devils and is the second defenseman of the trio to be drafted after Quinn Hughes was selected by the Vancouver Canucks. 

Jack Hughes (2019, New Jersey Devils, 1st Overall)
Luke Hughes (2021, New Jersey Devils, 4th Overall)
Quinn Hughes (2018, Vancouver Canucks, 7th Overall)

Luke is a University of Michigan commit and recently finished his second season in the USHL, collecting 15 points (4-11-15) in 18 games this season, giving him a total of 28 points (8-20-28) in 46 league games. 

The youngest Hughes was part of the Team USA squad that won the Under-17 World Hockey Championship Silver Medal during the 2019-20 season. 

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

Boucher, a Boston University commit, was the fourth USHL pick in the first 10 picks of the 2021 NHL Draft, marking the first time in league history the USHL has had four of the NHL's top-10 picks in a single NHL Draft. The former NTDP forward finished his USHL career with 16 points (7-9-16) in 29 games and was on the Silver Medal winning team with Hughes and Team USA. 

Photo Credit: Jasen Robbennolt

The reigning USHL Rookie of the Year was taken 12th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team his father Mike Sillinger was playing for when Cole was born. Sillinger finished his first USHL season with 46 points (24-22-46) in 31 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede en route to winning the Rookie of the Year award. Sillinger is the seventh USHL Rookie of the Year to be selected in the First Round of the NHL Draft and the third-highest selection. 

Andrei Svechnikov (2018, Carolina Hurricanes, 2nd Overall)
Kyle Okposo (2006, New York Islanders, 7th Overall)
Cole Sillinger (2021, Columbus Blue Jackets, 12th Overall)
Louis Leblanc (2009, Montreal Canadiens, 18th Overall)
Kiefer Bellows (2016, New York Islanders, 19th Overall)
Max Pacioretty (2007, Montreal Canadiens, 22nd Overall) 
Brendan Brisson (2020, Vegas Golden Knights, 29th Overall)

Photo Credit: MJoy Photography

Coming off a USHL Forward of the Year award and Clark Cup Championship, Coronato was selected 13th overall by the Calgary Flames. After scoring 48 goals and 85 points (48-37-85) last season in 51 games, Coronato was named USHL Forward of the Year, finishing his two seasons with the Steel with 125 points (66-59-125) in 96 league games. 

Coronato is committed to Harvard University and was a member of the All-USHL First Team last season and is the highest-drafted USHL Forward of the Year and the fifth all-time to be taken in the First Round of the NHL Draft. 

Matt Coronato (2021, Calgary Flames, 13th Overall)
Jaden Schwartz (2010, St. Louis Blues, 14th Overall)
Kyle Connor (2015, Winnipeg Jets, 17th Overall)
Trevor Lewis (2006, Los Angeles Kings, 17th Overall)
Peter Ferraro (1992, New York Rangers, 24th Overall)

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling / Hickling Images

Bolduc was the Blues’ First Round selection after appearing in a pair of games for the Sioux City Musketeers during the 2019-20 season. The forward spent the last two seasons in the QMJHL. 

Photo Credit: Rena Laverty

After spending the last two seasons with the NTDP, Lucius was selected 18th overall by the Winnipeg Jets after picking up 40 points (21-19-40) in 44 league games. The Grant, Min. native picked up 18 points (13-5-18) in 12 USHL games last season, potting more than a goal per game. The forward was electric during the 2019-20 World Hockey Championships, leading the tournament in both goals (7) and assists (10) as Team USA took home the Silver Medal. 

Photo Credit: MJoy Photography

Samoskevich became the second 2021 Clark Cup Champion selected in the First Round, joining Coronato. The University of Michigan commit was an Alternate Captain for the Chicago Steel last season, his third with the team, and had 37 points (13-24-37) in 36 games. The Newtown, Conn. native picked up 73 points (26-47-73) in 85 career games. 

The 2021 NHL Draft resumes Saturday at 10 a.m. CT for Rounds 2-7. The USHL has had more than 50 players selected in each of the last three Drafts. To date, the USHL has had 894 players selected in the NHL Draft, including 108 First Round selections. 

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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