Five Players with Stars Ties Ranked in Central Scouting's Final Pre-Draft Rankings
Lincoln, NE - On Monday, the NHL's Central Scouting Agency released their final rankings before the 2019 NHL Draft. Five players with ties to the Stars made the list as players that could be drafted in June at the NHL's annual entry draft.
Top-ranked for Lincoln is affiliate forward Garrett Pinoniemi, clocking in at 106 among North American Skaters, moving up 10 spots from his mid-term ranking. The Rosendale, Minnesota native just completed his second season with Holy Family Catholic High School in Minnesota. In 27 games, he recorded 26 goals and 42 assists. Pinoniemi also played 24 games for Team Northeast in the UMHSEHL, notching eight goals and 24 assists. His standout performances at the high school level earned him one game with Team USA's U17 roster back on April 6th against the Fargo Force. A Stars first-round pick in the USHL's 2017 Phase-I Draft, Pinoniemi is committed to the University of Minnesota.
Stars blue-liner Hunter Skinner is next on the list, coming in at 120th among North American skaters. After being traded from the Stars in a deal with the Muskegon Lumberjacks back in January, Skinner was a dynamic presence among Lincoln's defensemen, tallying 2-9-11 with the Stars, good for a total of 5-17-22 on the season. Committed to Western Michigan University, Skinner was a participant at the USHL's annual top prospect game back in January.
Arlo Merritt rounds out the Stars North American-ranked skaters at 144. The big-bodied forward played for Kimball Union Academy this year, scoring 19 goals and 30 points in 36 games. The Ohio State commitment came up for four games as an affiliate with the Stars, notching his first goal in his first game against Tri-City on March 15th. Selected by Lincoln in the seventh round of the USHL's 2017 Phase-I Draft, the Halifax, Nova Scotia native is committed to Ohio State University.
Two goalies round out the Stars ranked players, with Samuel Hlavaj coming in as the fifth-ranked goaltender in North America. Hlavaj came to the Stars in January after representing his native Slovakia in the 2019 World Junior Championship. After the goalie plays for his country in the 2019 IIHF World Championship this May, he'll be listening to hear his name called at the draft in Vancouver in June. In 22 games for the Stars, Hlavaj won three games and had a goal's against average of 4.58 and a save percentage of .862.
Alex Aslanidis rounds out the Stars list, coming in as the 26th-ranked netminder in North America. The Moorestown, New Jersey native boasts a hulking 6-5, 220 lbs frame coming out of high school hockey. A workhorse for Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, Aslanidis appeared in 25 games this season with a 2.54 GAA and a .922 save percentage in 1093 minutes played. His high-end performance earned him one appearance with the Team USA U18's in a college series contest against Lake Superior State. The Providence College commitment was a 24th round pick by the Stars in the 2017 USHL Phase-II Draft.
Last year the Stars saw a team-record six players selected in the 2018 NHL Draft, the most of any USHL team in last year's draft:
- Paul Cotter (F) - 115th overall - 4th Round -Vegas Golden Knights
- Alex Green (D) - 121st overall - 4th Round - Tampa Bay Lightning
- Jack Gorniak (F) - 123rd overall - 4th Round - Montreal Canadiens
- Josiah Slavin (F) - 193rd overall - 7th Round - Chicago Blackhawks
- Christian Krygier (D) - 196th overall - 7th Round - New York Islanders
- Cole Krygier (D) - 201st overall - 7th Round - Florida Panthers
The 2019 NHL Draft will take place on June 21st in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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