Four first-rounders all credit USHL as key development stage
The upward trend of NHL Draft picks from the United States Hockey League continued to a record-breaking level in 2015, with 37 players selected in addition to 10 alumni.
The mark of 37 players tied the USHL for most players selected in the 2015 NHL Draft, including four players selected in the first round. The record-breaking number further cemented the USHL’s status as the premier player development league in the world.
NHL Draft Breakdown:
United States Hockey League (USHL): 37
Western Hockey League (WHL): 37
Ontario Hockey League (OHL): 33
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL): 31
Additionally, the 10 USHL alumni included four first round selections, bringing the league’s total to eight first-round picks. Jack Eichel, the fifth consecutive USHL alum to win the Hobey Baker award, was the first to go at 2nd overall to the Buffalo Sabres.
Click here for the full list.
“The USHL development path continues to not only be attractive to players who want to pursue an education while playing hockey, but is seen as an attractive option for NHL clubs,” said Bob Fallen, Commissioner and President of the USHL. "We are very proud of not only the NHL Draft picks from our league, but our alumni and the undrafted players who will continue to pursue their NHL dreams through college hockey."
The current snapshot of USHL alumni includes 209 players under contract in the NHL. In addition, there are over 100 USHL alumni currently playing in the NCAA who have been drafted with the NHL team owning their contract rights. During the 2014-15 USHL season 379 players committed to play college hockey.
The Players Agree
Hear from the 2014-15 USHL-developed first-round picks.
Kyle Connor (17th Overall, Winnipeg Jets, Youngstown Phantoms):
Connor played three years for the Youngstown Phantoms and will play for the University of Michigan next season.
On the USHL: “It’s just such a competitive league. Every night, any team can win. It’s really deep and they really strive to develop the players on and off the ice. It’s been great. I really enjoyed my time [in Youngstown] and looking forward to visiting for sure.”
On the NHL Draft: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. Walking up to that stage and putting the jersey on, it’s something you dream about and I’m real excited about it.”
Colin White (21st Overall, Ottawa Senators, NTDP):
White scored the gold-medal-winning goal for Team USA at the Under-18 World Championship. He is committed to play at Boston College next season.
On the USHL: “The league is really moving up,” White told the Ottawa Citizen. “Players are getting better. The off-ice training has really stepped up from what it used to be. Being in that league, playing against older guys, helped me prepare for playing in college.”
On the NTDP: “It was a great experience. A lot of people say you become a man when you get there. I think that’s a true statement. All of the people there take care of you and you grow up fast there.”
Brock Boeser (23rd Overall, Vancouver Canucks, Waterloo Black Hawks):
Boeser’s draft stock rose quickly during his time at Waterloo, starting the season as a NHL Central Scouting B-rated skater and was able to cement his status as a first round prospect by leading the USHL with 35 goals. He will play for the University of North Dakota next season.
On the USHL: “Just playing against the bigger, stronger and faster guys. Just living away from home. I think it’s really matured me a ton. It definitely got me to that next step. It got me ready for college next year.”
On Waterloo: “Love the organization. Love the coaches. Love the players. I had a fantastic year and it was super fun.”
Jack Roslovic (25th Overall, Winnipeg Jets, NTDP):
The Jets doubled down on USHL players in the first round, taking the NTDP’s Jack Roslovic at 25th overall after selecting Connor at 17. Roslovic is committed to play at Miami University.
On the Jets: “With Kyle [Connor] and the USHL – they have a lot of belief in our league. It’s pretty cool to be a part of the Winnipeg Jets.”
On the USHL: “They taught us a lot. The USHL plays at a high pace and they play a lot of games. It was a great, great league and I loved it.”