The USHL has partnered with ISS Hockey (International Scouting Services) in a historical look back at USHL prospects selected in the NHL Draft. Take a look at what NHL scouts had to say about high profile players such as Kyle Okposo, John Gibson and Johnny Gaudreau entering the NHL Draft, in addition to those prospects that went undrafted including Torey Krug, Danny DeKeyser and Matt Read.
ISS Hockey is the world’s leading independent scouting and information provider on hockey prospects. Founded in 2002, ISS is a division of HockeyTech, a worldwide leader in hockey technology, analytics and information services.
Today, USHL and ISS Hockey take a look back at the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia, PA. Return tomorrow for notes and player profiles from the 2015 NHL Draft.
Dylan Larkin, Team USA
Dylan Larkin was named to the U.S. National U17 Team for the 2012-13 season, a year in which he put up 14 points in 37 games. The next year, with the U18 Team, he had 26 points in 26 USHL games. The following season, after a summer in which he was drafted 15th overall by the Detroit Red Wings, he joined Red Berenson and the University of Michigan, scoring 47 points in 35 games. For his performance Larkin was awarded with the Big Ten Rookie of the Year and was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, Big Ten All-Rookie Team and All-American Second Team. The Waterford Township, MI native also represented his country at the World Junior Championship, a tournament in which Larkin had five goals and seven points. He scored the most goals of any player in the tournament and helped lead Team USA to a bronze medal. At the conclusion of the NCAA season, Larkin signed with Detroit and joined the team’s AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Larkin played in six playoff games, scoring five points in that span. He spent the 2015-16 season full-time in Detroit en route to a successful rookie campaign. He had 23 goals and 22 assists in 80 games, and he was named to the 2016 NHL-All Star Game where he set an all-time speed skating record. Larkin also had nine points in 10 games for Team USA at the 2016 World Championships.
ISS Ranked #15: Larkin is a leader by example to his teammates on the ice. Plays with high pace at both ends of the rink and contributes defensively as well as offensively. His speed, instincts, and hockey sense enable him to do things offensively at a high level and that translate to pro.
Dir. Of Scouting, D. MacInnis: “Intelligent, low maintenance playmaking center that has excellent speed and poise with the puck”.
Nick Schmaltz, Green Bay Gamblers
After several years in the prestigious Chicago Mission program, Madison, WI native Nick Schmaltz joined the Green Bay Gamblers for 11 games at the end of the 2011-12 season, a season in which the Gamblers captured the Clark Cup. He then spent the next two full seasons with Green Bay, amassing 115 points in 119 games. He was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team in 2012-13 after setting the USHL rookie scoring record and was selected to the USHL All-Star Game for the 2013-14 season, the same season in which he won a gold medal with Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge. Schmaltz was selected 20th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL Draft. Schmaltz then joined the University of North Dakota for the 2014-15 season, scoring 26 points in 38 games. He was named to the NCHC All-Rookie Team and would go on to lead the Fighting Hawks to a National Championship the following year, totaling 46 points in 37 games. He was also a member of Team USA at the World Junior Championship, earning a bronze medal in that tournament. Schmaltz recently signed his entry-level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks.
ISS Ranked #23: Schmaltz is one of the most impressive players in this draft with the puck on his stick. His ability to control the game and his skating separate this player from most of the pack.
ISS Scout P. Myre: “He walks to the slot from the half board for an off wing shot better than most. He's a very cerebral player. He sees the game very well, has very good hands and passing skills. Should go early in the draft”.
Thatcher Demko, Team USA
Thatcher Demko started his USHL career with the Omaha Lancers starting 15 games during the 2011-12 season. He spent the following year with Team USA, posting a 2.21 GAA and .902 SV% in the USHL. The San Diego, CA native then went on to Boston College, where he lead the Eagles to a Hockey East regular season title by way of a 2.24 GAA and .919 SV%, numbers good enough to earn him a spot on the Hockey East All-Rookie Team. The following season Demko improved to a 2.19 GAA and .925 SV%. This led to Demko being drafted in the 2nd round, 36th overall by the Vancouver Canucks at the 2014 NHL Draft. His last season on Chestnut Hill – the 2015-16 campaign – was his best performance yet. In 39 appearances for Jerry York’s squad, he posted a stellar 1.88 GAA and a .935 SV%. Demko helped lead the Eagles to the Frozen Four, was given the Mike Richter Award as the top goaltender in college hockey and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. He was also a member of Team USA at the World Championships. Demko announced prior to the 2016-17 season that he signed his entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks.
ISS Ranked #1: Demko is a hybrid/butterfly style goaltender with the size that NHL teams covet these days. When he drops down, he is very good at taking up a lot of net. He relies on his size and understanding of positioning to be effective.
ISS Scout R. MacLean: “His maturity and mental make-up in the net is impressive for a young man. He is big and takes up a lot of net and is not easy to rattle – sounds like a coach’s dream in net”.
Brandon Montour, Waterloo Black Hawks
Brandon Montour came to the USHL from the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League. He was selected by the Waterloo Black Hawks in the 18th round, 267th overall of in the 2013 USHL Phase II Draft prior to playing two seasons in Waterloo. Montour played in all 60 games during the 2013-14 season, amassing 62 points and 48 assists, both of which led all USHL defensemen. He was named to the USHL-All Star Game and was selected as the USHL Player of the Year. That summer, he was selected 55th overall by the Anaheim Ducks at the 2014 NHL Draft. Montour came back to Waterloo for 17 games during the 2014-15 season, after which he joined the University of Massachusetts Amherst for 21 games. His 20 points in those games earned him a spot on Hockey East’s All-Rookie Team. At the conclusion of the NCAA schedule, Montour signed with Anaheim and played 14 games for the Norfolk Admirals (AHL), tallying 10 points in that stretch. The Ducks switched their AHL affiliate to the San Diego Gulls starting with the 2015-16 season, and Montour was a big part of the team’s success. He had 57 points in 68 games, and was named to the AHL All-Rookie Team and the All-AHL First Team. Montour was represented the Gulls at the 2016 AHL All-Star Game.
ISS Ranked #169: He is a very good puck mover. Very good skater, good stride. Makes good outlet passes. Very good hockey IQ. He plays well at both ends but his biggest asset is his offensive capabilities.
Dir. Of Scouting, D. MacInnis: “Sees the ice well and possesses very good play-making abilities. A strong passer that can get the puck out of danger quickly and effectively.”
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.