The United States Hockey League (USHL) enters the 2022 NHL Draft looking to continue its success at the NHL's yearly event beginning with Round One at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, July 7 at Bell Centre in Montreal.
The 2022 NHL Draft could mark a fifth-straight Draft with 50-or-more USHL players selected as the League has seen 50, 51, 54 and 57 players selected at the 2021, 2020, 2019 and 2018 Drafts, respectively. Over the past eight Drafts, the League has had an average of 50.5 players selected with its highest total, 57, coming during the 2018 Draft.
In January, the League, in partnership with USA Hockey, hosted the 2022 BioSteel All-American Game, featuring the top Draft-eligible players from the USHL. The 2022 event was the third year of the joint event with a total of 53 players, 27 in 2021 and 26 in 2020, from the previous events selected at the NHL Draft. The BioSteel All-American game alumnus pool features 63 players from the last three events who are available for selection at the NHL Draft. Each of the previous events has produced a top-five pick with the Seattle Kraken selecting Matthew Beniers second overall in the 2021 Draft and Jake Sanderson being selected with the fifth pick of the 2020 Draft by the Ottawa Senators. Beniers and Sanderson are joined by Cole Sillinger (2021, Columbus Blue Jackets, #12 Overall), Matthew Coronato (2021, Calgary Flames, #13 Overall), Chaz Lucius (2021, Winnipeg Jets, #18 Overall), Mackie Samoskevich (2021, Florida Panthers, #24 Overall) and Brendan Brisson (2020, Vegas Golden Knights, #29 Overall) as First Round picks to appear previously at the BioSteel All-American Game.
On May 21, the Sioux City Musketeers hoisted the Clark Cup after a hard-fought series with the Madison Capitols. Musketeers forward Dylan James leads his team into the NHL Draft as the 37th-Ranked North American Skater according to NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings. If he, or any other Musketeers player from the Clark Cup roster, is selected, it will mark the 16th Clark Cup-winning team in the past 17 seasons the Cup was awarded to produce at least one Draft pick in that summer's NHL Draft. The last two Clark Cup Champions, Chicago Steel (2021 - 7) and Sioux Falls Stampede (2019 - 5), have combined for 12 Champions selected at the Draft during their Championship summer. Dating back to 1982, two of the three Sioux City Clark Cup Championship rosters have produced a Draft pick as John Zeller (Arizona Coyotes, 132nd Overall) was selected in 2002 and both Brian Williams (Montreal Canadiens, 187th Overall) and Mark Vichorek (Philadelphia Flyers, 245th Overall) were taken in 1982.
Last month, the Colorado Avalanche hoisted the Stanley Cup, denying the Tampa Bay Lightning of their search for a dynasty, and six league alumni were along for the ride as JT Compher, Logan O'Connor, Nico Sturm, Hunter Miska, Jayson Megna and Jacob MacDonald hoisted Lord Stanley. The Avalanche could make it three-straight Drafts, and 15 of the last 17, with the Stanley Cup Champion selecting a USHL player at that summer's Draft. In the past two Drafts, the Tampa Bay Lightning have selected a combined seven USHL players. The most selected in a single Draft was the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks who picked five USHL players at the 2013 NHL Draft.
With Montreal hosting the 2022 NHL Draft, a USHL player selected by the Canadiens would mark 13 of the past 16 Drafts that have seen a USHL player picked by the Draft's host. Previously, Montreal has selected two USHL players in 2009, and one in both 1992 and 1982 when hosting the Draft. While Montreal did not select a USHL player at last year's Draft, they selected a quartet of players in 2020, picked up standout Cole Caufield in the First Round of the 2019 Draft and selected USHL players in both the 2017 and 2018 Drafts. Montreal has selected 29 USHL players all-time at the NHL Draft. The most USHL picks by a host city was when the Florida Panthers picked a trio of USHL players at the 2015 NHL Draft.
Two NHL teams have become synonymous as of late with picking USHL players in the NHL Draft: the Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators. The Sabres have picked a USHL player in six of the last 11 First Rounds and lead all NHL teams with 10 total First Round USHL selections. The Senators, while ranked third among NHL teams with seven all-time First Round USHL selections, have had a USHL First Round pick in five of the last eight NHL Drafts. Ottawa has picked a USHL player in each of the last two First Rounds with the selection of Tyler Boucher (10th Overall) in 2021 and Sanderson (5th Overall) in 2020.
- The Ottawa Senators, with a First Round pick, could mark just the second time in Draft history that an NHL franchise (Buffalo, 2017-19) picks a USHL player in three-straight First Rounds.
- Seven NHL teams have multiple first round picks on Thursday including the Arizona Coyotes (3rd, 27th, 32nd) and Buffalo Sabres (9th, 16th, 28th) with three each as well as the Anaheim Ducks (10th, 22nd), Columbus Blue Jackets (6th, 12th), Minnesota Wild (19th, 24th), Montreal Canadiens (1st, 26th) and Winnipeg Jets (14th, 30th) with two picks each. Should any of the teams pick a pair of USHL players, it would mark the fourth such time, joining the 2018 Philadelphia Flyers, 2016 Boston Bruins and 2015 WInnipeg Jets as NHL teams to pick a pair of USHL players in the same First Round.
- Only one current NHL team has yet to select a USHL player in the First Round, the Colorado Avalanche.
- Of the 225 scheduled picks in the 2022 NHL Draft, only five slots have never had a USHL player selected. The Arizona Coyotes (3rd Overall), Vegas Golden Knights (48th Overall), New York Islanders (65th Overall), St. Louis Blues (152nd Overall) and Detroit Red Wings (212nd Overall) currently sit in those slots and could make USHL history at this season's Draft.
- The Chicago Blackhawks currently lead all NHL franchises with 47 all-time USHL picks at the Draft, eight more than the second-place Anaheim Ducks (39). As such, with a trio of picks this week, the Blackhawks could become the first NHL team to hit the 50 mark for USHL selections.
- The Blackhawks and Ducks could make it 14-straight Drafts each with a USHL selection. Both have picked at least one USHL player in each NHL Draft dating back to 2009.
- The USA Hockey National Team Development Program (NTDP) was well represented on the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings and currently lead USHL Member Clubs with 283 all-time Draft selections (during USHL years). With 17 picks at the 2022 Draft, the NTDP would become the first USHL Club to hit the 300 mark. The NTDP has had 17-or-more players selected in eight of the last nine NHL Drafts dating back to 2013.
- The most USHL selections from a single NHL franchise in an NHL Draft was six by the New York Rangers in the 2002 Draft.
Chicago Blackhawks - 47
Anaheim Ducks - 39
New Jersey Devils - 38
San Jose Sharks - 37
Buffalo Sabres - 36
Los Angeles Kings - 36
St. Louis Blues - 35
Pittsburgh Penguins - 34
Arizona Coyotes - 32
Calgary Flames - 32
Colorado Avalanche - 32
Florida Panthers - 32
Nashville Predators - 32
New York Islanders - 32
Washington Capitals - 32
Detroit Red Wings - 30
New York Rangers - 30
Ottawa Senators - 30
Philadelphia Flyers - 30
Tampa Bay Lightning - 30
Montreal Canadiens - 29
Boston Bruins - 27
Carolina Hurricanes - 27
Edmonton Oilers - 26
Toronto Maple Leafs - 25
Minnesota Wild - 21
Vancouver Canucks - 21
Winnipeg Jets - 21
Columbus Blue Jackets - 19
Dallas Stars - 13
Vegas Golden Knights - 8
Seattle Kraken - 2
USA Hockey NTDP - 283
Omaha Lancers - 74
Sioux City Musketeers - 59
Lincoln Stars - 56
Green Bay Gamblers - 52
Sioux Falls Stampede - 52
Chicago Steel - 51
Des Moines Buccaneers - 50
Waterloo Black Hawks - 50
Tri-City Storm - 40
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders - 35
Dubuque Fighting Saints - 35
Muskegon Lumberjacks - 34
Fargo Force - 29
Youngstown Phantoms - 22
Madison Capitols - 13
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders: Ivan Provorov (Philadelphia Flyers - 2015, 7th Overall)
Chicago Steel: Owen Power (Buffalo Sabres - 2021, 1st Overall)
Des Moines Buccaneers: Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders - 2006, 7th Overall)
Dubuque Fighting Saints: Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres - 2012, 14th Overall)
Fargo Force: RIley Tufte (Dallas Stars - 2016, 25th Overall)
Green Bay Gamblers: Casey Mittelstadt (Buffalo Sabres - 2017, 8th Overall)
Lincoln Stars: Brian Lee (Ottawa Senators - 2005, 9th Overall)
Madison Capitols: Ryan O'Reilly (Detroit Red Wings - 2018, 98th Overall)
Muskegon Lumberjacks: Andrei Svechnikov (Carolina Hurricanes - 2018, 2nd Overall)
Omaha Lancers: Keith Ballard (Buffalo Sabres - 2002, 11th Overall)
Sioux City Musketeers: Rostislav Klesla (Columbus Blue Jackets - 2000, 4th Overall)
Sioux Falls Stampede: Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres - 2003, 5th Overall)
Tri-City Storm: Jaden Schwartz (St. Louis Blues - 2010, 14th Overall)
Waterloo Black Hawks: Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks - 2015, 23rd Overall)
Youngstown Phantoms: Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets - 2015, 17th Overall)
USA Hockey NTDP: Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils - 2019, 1st Overall)
Auston Matthews (Toronto Maple Leafs - 2016, 1st Overall)
Rick DiPietro (New York Islanders - 2000, 1st Overall)
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders - Zaccharya Wisdom
Chicago Steel - Nicholas Moldenhauer
Des Moines Buccaneers - Jackson Dorrington
Dubuque Fighting Saints - Matthew Savoie
Fargo Force - Cole Knuble
Green Bay Gamblers - Cameron Lund
Lincoln Stars - Cameron Whitehead
Madison Capitols - Quinn Finley
Muskegon Lumberjacks - Jacob Guevin
Omaha Lancers - Alex Bump
Sioux City Musketeers - Dylan James
Sioux Falls Stampede - Ryan Healey
Tri-City Storm - Cameron O'Neill
Waterloo Black Hawks - Sam Rinzel
Youngstown Phantoms - Adam Ingram
USA Hockey NTDP - Logan Cooley
The USHL has had 50-or-more players Drafted in each of the last four NHL Drafts, dating back to a league-best 57 players at the 2018 Draft. The League has seen 933 of its players selected in total, with at least one player taken in each Draft but one dating back to 1981.
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