The United States Hockey League recently released its 2013-14 schedule which means that the year of hockey is just around the corner. This year’s draft class consists of some interesting prospects hailing from the USHL; so many that we'll be breaking this up into two parts - one for the USHL prospects, and one strictly for those part of the NTDP program.
Eiserman is a very intriguing prospect, and could be a riser this season. He’s a big forward who showed glimpses of offensive talent last season while playing for the US National Development Program. While his stat-line from last season wasn’t jaw dropping—4 goals, 3 assists in 22 games—it is understandable considering he was playing mostly third- and fourth-line minutes as a 17-year-old. He played during the U-18 World Junior Championships this past April, and was impressive when he was using his body and his strength to battle for the puck and gain possession. He showed some willingness to drive the inside lane toward the net, and he should definitely look to build on his skill set with Dubuque this season.
Poganski is one name who may be flying under the radar in the preseason, but by December he could be one of the most mentioned names from the USHL. He only appeared in two USHL games with Tri-City last season as an affiliate call-up, but make no mistake—the 6-foot-1, 205-pound winger is a scoring machine, and a serious 2014 draft prospect. He will make the jump to junior hockey this season with Tri-City, where he will be expected to provide some offense and likely play in a top six role. During his weekend with Tri-City last season, he scored once and added an assist, all the while flashing some impressive offensive talent. Poganski is a good skater, who uses his speed to crash the net off the rush. He showed a willingness to go the net for his chances, leading to his first USHL goal. He has proven to be a natural scorer in the past. In nine games at St. Cloud Cathedral last season, he mounted 13 goals and 21 points. He also racked up an impressive six goals in six games for Team USA at the U-17 World Championship. Poganski is someone to keep tabs on for the upcoming season and 2014 draft.
The Storm took Wilkie second overall during the USHL draft, and hope that the talented winger can add some scoring to the roster. Wilkie and Poganski could be reunited on a line in Tri-City. The two wingers are familiar with each other having played for Team USA at the U-17 World Championship last December. Wilkie recorded three goals and 9 points in six games during the tournament. Wilkie is a strong skater with solid puck-skills. He moves the puck well and finds his linemates on the transition. The 5-foot-10, 172-pound, winger mounted seven goals and 14 points in 38 games with the US National Development Program last season, and he could easily top those numbers in a top six role with Tri-City this season.
One player who hopes to impress scouts this season is Muskegon first-round pick, Haralds Egle. He hasn’t received too much buzz just yet, but has enough skill to entice evaluators during the upcoming season. Egle joins Muskegon after a very impressive season with the Portland Jr. Pirates of the EJHL in 2012-13. The Latvian forward amassed 22 goals and 26 assists for 48 points in 39 games, leading his team in scoring as a 16-year-old. Egle has starred for Team Latvia at international events in the past, and he scored two goals in six games for Team Latvia at the U-18 tournament in April. Egle is talented with the puck, and has shown the ability to create scoring chances from the wing off the rush. He has pretty good vision, but his quick hands allow him elude opposing defenseman on the wing. He isn’t the greatest skater and can work on his quickness a little bit, but he has the ability to put up some impressive numbers with Muskegon if given a top-6 role and power-play time.
Other names that are worth noting: Dylan Chanter (Defenseman, Dubuque), Cam Hackett (Goalie, Green Bay), Seamus Malone (Winger, Dubuque), Ryan Mantha (Defenseman, Sioux City Musketeers), and Cody Milan (Center, Sioux Falls Stampede).
There are also some second-year prospects and one third-year prospect that are worth noting. Forwards Tyler Hill (Chicago Steel, second-year), Ross Olsson (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, second-year), Jason Salvaggio (Indiana Ice, second-year), and Nathan Walker (Youngstown Phantoms, third-year) are among the players who went undrafted in 2013 and hope to change their faiths this season.
|1. C Sam Reinhart||Kootenay Ice|
|2. D Aaron Ekblad||Barrie Colts|
|3. C Michael Dal Colle||Oshawa Generals|
|4. C Leon Draisaitl||Prince Albert Raiders|
|5. C William Nylander||Rogle|
|6. LW Nick Ritchie||Peterborough Petes|
|7. D Haydn Fleury||Red Deer Rebels|
|8. D Roland McKeown||Kingston Frontenacs|
|9. LW Sam Bennett||Kingston Frontenacs|
|10. C Jared McCann||Soo Greyhounds|