The United States Hockey League and NHL Central Scouting announced the players selected to compete in the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that will take place on January 12th in Omaha, NE at Ralston Arena, home of the USHL’s Omaha Lancers.
The selection process for players competing in the game was completed in cooperation with NHL general managers and scouts, NHL Central Scouting and USHL general managers. All 40 players chosen are eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, including 27 players that are in their first year of eligibility for the NHL Draft.
“After a record-breaking NHL Draft in 2015 in which no junior league in the world had more draft picks than the USHL this should be a momentous year for the league and the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game,” said Bob Fallen, USHL President and Commissioner. “By being selected for the event, these players have already captured the attention of NHL scouts, and the game provides them another opportunity to be evaluated among the best talent in their age group.”
Among the players selected to compete are Michael Boyle (Sioux City Musketeers), William Knierim (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Andrew Peeke (Green Bay Gamblers), Sam Rossini (Waterloo Black Hawks) and Max Zimmer (Chicago Steel), all of whom are ranked as “B” ranked skaters on the “Players to Watch List” by NHL Central Scouting, meaning they are likely to be candidates to be selected in the second or third round of the 2016 NHL Draft. In total, 24 of the 40 players selected for the game are on the “Players to Watch List” released by NHL Central Scouting in late November.
“The USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game provides a unique opportunity for the management and scouts of the 30 NHL teams to view the top USHL talent available for the 2016 NHL Draft. The prospects are encouraged to showcase their skills and abilities amongst their peers in this competitive and entertaining environment that brings out their best,” said Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting.
The 40 players will be split into two 20-man teams – Team East and Team West – for the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, and the teams mostly will represent a split of players currently competing in the USHL’s Eastern Conference and Western Conference. The final rosters, along with coaches and support staff will be announced at a later date.
2016 marks the fourth time the USHL will be hosting the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, and it follows a record-setting 2015 NHL Draft that saw 37 players from the 2014-15 season selected by NHL teams. The 2016 NHL Draft will be held June 24-25 in Buffalo, NY at the First Niagara Center, home of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Fans can purchase tickets to the game HERE, and any media credential requests should be sent to HERE.
|Pos.||Name||USHL Team||College Commitment||Youth Team|
|F||ADAMS, JOHN (JACK)||FARGO||PRINCETON UNIVERSITY||MALDEN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL|
|F||ALLISON, WADE||TRI-CITY||WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY||OMAHA AAA|
|F||COLTON, ROSS||CEDAR RAPIDS||UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT||NEW JERSEY ROCKETS|
|F||DODERO, CHRISTOPHER (CJ)||SIOUX CITY||COLORADO THUNDERBIRDS|
|F||FALLSTROM, WILLIAM||OMAHA||UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA||DJURGARDEN|
|F||FILIPE, MATT||CEDAR RAPIDS||NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY||MALDEN CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL|
|F||GOSIEWSKI, MATT||CEDAR RAPIDS||HARVARD UNIVERSITY||MILLBROOK ACADEMY|
|F||HOFF, LUDVIG||LINCOLN||UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA||VALERENGA|
|F||JAREMKO, JACOB||CHICAGO||MINNESOTA STATE UNIVERSITY, MANKATO||ELK RIVER HIGH SCHOOL|
|F||JOZEFEK, GRANT||LINCOLN||NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY||NORTH JERSEY AVALANCHE|
|F||KEANE, JACKSON||SIOUX CITY||UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA||WINNIPEG BLUES|
|F||KNIERIM, WILLIAM (WILLIE)||DUBUQUE||MIAMI UNIVERSITY||CHICAGO MISSION|
|F||LACZYNSKI, TANNER||CHICAGO||OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY||CHICAGO MISSION|
|F||LEONARD, JOHN||GREEN BAY||UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS||SPRINGFIELD HIGH SCHOOL|
|F||MEYER, CARSON||TRI-CITY||MIAMI UNIVERSITY||OHIO AAA BLUE JACKETS|
|F||MORRISON, CAMERON (CAM)||YOUNGSTOWN||UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME||YORK SIMCOE|
|F||O'LEARY, MICHAEL||DUBUQUE||CORNELL UNIVERSITY||SALISBURY SCHOOL|
|F||PETERS, COLLIN||SIOUX FALLS||NORTHERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY||SHEBOYGAN HIGH SCHOOL|
|F||PITLICK, REM||MUSKEGON||UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA||SHATTUCK ST. MARY'S|
|F||STEEVES, MATT||SIOUX CITY||UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME||NEW HAMPSHIRE JR. MONARCHS|
|F||STERNSCHEIN, SAM||CEDAR RAPIDS||CORNELL UNIVERSITY||NORTH JERSEY AVALANCHE|
|F||WAIT, GARRETT||WATERLOO||UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA||EDINA HIGH SCHOOL|
|F||WOJCIECHOWSKI, JOHN||OMAHA||NEW JERSEY ROCKETS|
|F||ZIMMER, MAX||CHICAGO||UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN||WAYZATA HIGH SCHOOL|
|D||BERZOLLA, ZACHARY||MUSKEGON||COLORADO COLLEGE||NEW JERSEY TITANS|
|D||BOYLE, MICHAEL||SIOUX CITY||UNIVERSITY OF DENVER||PHOENIX JR. COYOTES|
|D||DASCHKE, DEREK||MUSKEGON||WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY||OAKLAND JR. GRIZZLIES|
|D||ELIOT, MITCHELL (MITCH)||MUSKEGON||MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY||HONEYBAKED|
|D||EVERS, CHRISTIAN||LINCOLN||UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA||OMAHA AAA|
|D||HANSON, BO||MUSKEGON||COLORADO RAMPAGE|
|D||KIERSTED, MATTHEW||CHICAGO||UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA||ELK RIVER HIGH SCHOOL|
|D||MCINNIS, LUKE||YOUNGSTOWN||BOSTON COLLEGE||DEXTER ACADEMY|
|D||PEEKE, ANDREW||GREEN BAY||UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME||SELECTS HOCKEY ACADEMY|
|D||ROSSINI, SAM||WATERLOO||UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA||BURNSVILLE HIGH SCHOOL|
|D||RYCZEK, JAKE||SIOUX CITY||PROVIDENCE COLLEGE||SELECTS HOCKEY ACADEMY|
|D||WELLS, JUSTIN||SIOUX FALLS||BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY||CLEVELAND BARONS|
|G||EDQUIST, RYAN||MADISON||UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA||LAKEVILLE NORTH HIGH SCHOOL|
|G||JONES, PEYTON||LINCOLN||PENN STATE UNIVERSITY||PHILADELPHIA JR. FLYERS|
|G||MORRIS, CALE||WATERLOO||UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME||COLORADO THUNDERBIRDS|
NHL DRAFT HISTORY: In the three-year history of the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, 46 players named to the roster have gone on to be later selected in the NHL Draft… Three first round draft picks have previously played in the game: Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets), Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks) and Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis Blues). Connor is the highest-ever drafted that played in the game, as he was selected 17th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft… 24 different NHL teams have selected players from the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in three NHL Drafts, including 12 teams with multiple players: Chicago Blackhawks (4), Florida Panthers (4), New York Islanders (4), Detroit Red Wings (3), Pittsburgh Penguins (3), Anaheim Ducks (2), Calgary Flames (2), Ottawa Senators (2), San Jose Sharks (2), Tampa Bay Lightning (2), Vancouver Canucks (2), Washington Capitals (2) and Winnipeg Jets (2)… Four USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game MVPs have later gone on to be NHL Draft picks: Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (Boston Bruins), John Hayden (Chicago Blackhawks), Eamon McAdam (New York Islanders), Robert Baillargeon (Ottawa Senators). All four went on to play college hockey.
USHL TEAMS: 14 USHL teams had at least one player selected from their roster… Teams with multiple players selected include Muskegon Lumberjacks (5), Sioux City Musketeers (5), Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (4), Chicago Steel (4), Lincoln Stars (4), Omaha Lancers (3), Waterloo Black Hawks (3), Dubuque Fighting Saints (2), Green Bay Gamblers (2), Sioux Falls Stampede (2), Tri-City Storm (2) and Youngstown Phantoms (2).
COMMITTED TO COLLEGE: 36 players have already received college commitments… 11 players are committed to NCHC schools, 10 to Hockey East, nine to Big Ten, four to ECAC and two to WCHA… Schools with multiple commits include University of University of Minnesota (5), North Dakota (4), University of Notre Dame (4), Miami University (2), Northeastern University (2), Western Michigan University (2) and Cornell University (2).
LADDER OF DEVELOPMENT: 14 players played U.S. High School spanning from Minnesota and Wisconsin to Massachusetts, nine played for T1EHL programs, three played HPHL, three played AYHL, three played NAPHL and two played USPHL… Programs with two or more players include Chicago Mission, Colorado Thunderbirds, Elk River High School, Malden Catholic High School, New Jersey Rockets, North Jersey Avalanche, Omaha AAA and Selects Hockey Academy.
BOUND FOR THE HALL OF FAME: Beginning this year, the first goal scored in every USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will be forever enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ontario. The jersey, gloves, stick and puck will be packaged following the game and delivered to the Hall of Fame… Previous first-goal scorers in past years include Kevin Conley (Youngstown Phantoms) in 2015, Conor McGlynn (Sioux City Musketeers) in 2013 and A.J. Michaelson (Waterloo Black Hawks) in 2012.
ROOKIE SENSATION: Youngstown Phantoms forward Cameron Morrison will be 17 years, four months and 16 days old on January 12, 2016, the youngest player in the Top Prospects Game. Morrison leads all rookies and the USHL with 29 points in 24 games this season.
SCORING DEPTH: Six players named to the roster have a 1.00 P/GP or better as of December 15, 2015: Rem Pitlick (1.47), Ross Colton (1.24), Morrison (1.21), Tanner Laczynski (1.10), Ludvig Hoff (1.09) and Grant Jozefek (1.00).
STATELY ROSTER: 16 different states are represented in the Top Prospects Game including eight states with multiple players: Minnesota (7), Massachusetts (5), New Jersey (3), Colorado (2), Illinois (2), Michigan (2), New York (2) and Ohio (2)… Manitoba is the only Canadian province with two or more players represented.
INTERNATIONAL TALENT: Seven players are considered imports, with four natives from Canada. Other countries include Norway and Sweden… Canadians Wade Allison (Tri-City Storm) and Michael O’Leary (Dubuque Fighting Saints) both played in American youth programs prior to the USHL.
HOMECOMING: Lincoln Stars defenseman Christian Evers (Lincoln Stars) and Allison both played in Omaha, NE with the Omaha AAA program. Neither player has scored in Omaha during their USHL careers since their time in the NAPHL program.
FAMILIAR FACE: Chicago Steel forward Laczynski is the only player select to have played in the 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Dubuque, IA. Laczynski was one of three players credited with two assists in the game… Laczynski won 2014-15 USHL All-Rookie Second Team honors last season after scoring 46 points in 57 games including 18 goals. This season the Ohio State University commit has 23 points in 21 games, including six goals.
SELECT AMERICANS: Nine different players named to the roster are currently competing in the World Junior A Challenge with the U.S. Select Team: Andrew Peeke (Green Bay Gamblers), Colton (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Jozefek (Lincoln Stars), William Knierim (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Carson Meyer (Tri-City Storm), Collin Peters (Sioux Falls Stampede), Pitlick, Max Zimmer (Chicago Steel) and Laczynski.
EAST VERSUS WEST: Team East has an all-time 2-1-0 lead over Team West… Team East has a +4 all-time goal differential… The 2015 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game was a record high for both East and West for goals scored. Team East won 7-4… Team West has scored the game’s first goal twice… Team East scored a record six consecutive goals in 2015. Team East would also score a record five goals in one period… Team East has outshot Team West 99-86 all-time.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 14th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2015-16. A record 37 players were chosen in the 2015 NHL Draft and more than 375 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.