2019 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Rosters Announced
December 6, 2018 - United States Hockey League (USHL) News Release
The United States Hockey League and NHL Central Scouting announced today the players selected to compete in the 2019 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game that will take place on Jan. 8, 2019 in Lincoln, NE at the Ice Box, home of the USHL's Lincoln Stars. 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 set to compete in the game are eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft.
In the history of the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, 90 players who participated in the game have later been selected in the NHL Draft, including four first round selections: Shane Bowers (Ottawa Senators, 2017), Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets, 2015), Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks, 2015) and Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis Blues, 2012). Other first round selections who were named to the game but were unable to participate due to injury include Eeli Tolvanen (Nashville Predators, 2017), Michael Matheson (Florida Panthers, 2012) and Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres, 2012).
35 of the 40 players are currently committed to Division I college hockey programs. 22 different schools are represented in the game, including 11 programs with multiple commits: Michigan State University (3), Western Michigan University (3), Boston University (2), Harvard University (2), Miami University (2), Northeastern University (2), University of Massachusetts Lowell (2), University of Minnesota Duluth (2), University of Nebraska Omaha (2), University of North Dakota (2), University of Notre Dame (2).
12 different states will be represented in the game, including five states with multiple players: Minnesota (9), Michigan (3), New Jersey (3), New York (2) and Pennsylvania (2). Six different countries will be represented in the game: the United States, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia and Sweden.
11 USHL teams have multiple players participating in the game: Sioux Falls Stampede (6), Des Moines Buccaneers (5), Dubuque Fighting Saints (4), Sioux City Musketeers (4), Waterloo Black Hawks (4), Central Illinois Flying Aces (3), Muskegon Lumberjacks (3), Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (2), Fargo Force (2), Green Bay Gamblers (2), Tri-City Storm (2).
The 40 players have been split into two teams - Team East and Team West - for the 2019 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, representing a split of players competing in the USHL's Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Fargo Force forward Josh Nodler along with Waterloo Black Hawks Matej Blumel, Ryan Drkulec, Vladislav Firstov and Logan Stein have been assigned to Team East, despite playing in the Western Conference. The coaches, support staff and officials will be announced at a later date.
The roster announcement comes after 67 players with USHL ties were named to the Updated NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List on Nov. 12, the most of any junior league in the world.
2019 marks the fifth consecutive year, and seventh time overall, that the USHL will be hosting the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. The 2019 NHL Draft will be held June 21-22 in Vancouver, BC at Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks. The USHL had 57 players with league ties selected at the 2018 NHL Draft, including 45 players who played during the 2017-18 season, both of which set new USHL records. The USHL also led all junior leagues in the world with the 45 players who played in the league during the 2017-18 season, at least 10 more than any other league in the world. 40 or more players from the USHL have been selected in seven consecutive NHL Drafts.
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