Team: Sioux City Musketeers
2015-16 Record: 20-39-1
Top Forward: Mitchell Fossier (40 points, 11 goals)
Top Defenseman: Ryan Zuhlsdorf (23 points, 0 goals)
Top Goaltender: Cam Gornet (16-35-1-0, 3.26 GAA%, .898 SV%)
Power Play: 19.6% (5th in USHL)
Penalty Kill: 74.6% (17th in USHL)
The Musketeers are expected to come out swinging early this season after battling injuries and a depleted roster last year. Eeli Tolvanen already brought a new level of excitement to Sioux City’s offense, scoring 38 points in 49 games as a 16-year old rookie. This season Tolvanen could find instant chemistry with fellow Finnish forwards Aapeli Rasanen and Sampo Ranta. Rasanen comes to Sioux City after being selected by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2016 NHL Draft, while Ranta follows Tolvanen as a 16-year old rookie this season.
Sioux City captain Jacob Wilson is expected to return this season and provide instant leadership to the locker room. The defenseman is entering his third USHL season after a career year in Sioux City. The Musketeers will also benefit from a large group of veterans up front with CJ Dodero, Jackson Keane and Alex Steeves all expected to return this season. Steeves, the youngest player in the USHL last season, began his career with a five-game point streak and finished the season with 11 points in 39 games. Also joining the fold on the back end is 2016 USHL Phase II Draft first overall pick Matthew Hellickson. The Notre Dame commit skated in 55 USHL games with Team USA over the past two seasons.
The Musketeers spent the offseason looking for a replacement in net after graduating Cam Gornet to Harvard University. The two leading candidates for the starting job will be former Coulee Region Chill (NAHL) goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks and Ryan Ferland, who spent last season at St. Mark’s School (USHS). Sioux City selected the goaltenders in the first and fourth rounds respectively in the USHL Phase II Draft.
Head coach Jay Varady returns for his fourth season behind the bench for the Musketeers, and expects to take advantage of his speedy roster:
“We want to be an up-tempo pressure team that plays fast. If we have the puck we want to attack and if we don't have the puck we want to pressure and create transition.”
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.