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Multiple Players Named to NHL Central Scouting's "Players to Watch" List

October 27, 2020 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Tri-City Storm News Release

Kearney, NE. - Four current Tri-City Storm players (Matthew Knies, Guillaume Richard, Hunter Strand, Grant Riley) and two Storm prospects (Shane LaChance, Nate Benoit) have been named to the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau's "Players to Watch" list for the 2021 NHL Draft. Tri-City had five players who played for the team during the 2019-2020 season selected at the 2020 NHL Draft earlier this month. The 2021 NHL Draft will be held following the completion of the 2020-2021 NHL season next summer, with the date and location to be announced at a later date.

The NHL Central Scouting Bureau is a collection of NHL staff and scouts who rank prospects for the NHL Draft as a service to the 31 member clubs. In this initial "Players to Watch" list, players are given an "A, "B", "C", or "LV" rating. A player with an "A" rating indicates a 1st Round candidate. A player who is given a "B" rating is judged by the bureau to be a candidate for the 2nd or 3rd Round. A player given a "C" rating indicates a 4th, 5th, or 6th Round candidate. An "LV" rating (Limited Viewing) is reserved for injured players who have not had sufficient viewings to be categorized. With each updated ranking this season, players will be added or be removed from the list based on their performance through the 2020-2021 season. A player not ranked by the service may still be drafted by an NHL member club provided the player is eligible to be drafted.

Matthew Knies, 18, Forward, of Phoenix, Arizona is entering his second season with the Storm after being drafted 38th overall by Tri-City in the 2018 USHL Phase I Draft. Knies spent the 2018-2019 season on Tri-City's affiliate list and played for the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes 16U AAA organization. He appeared in two games as an affiliate list callup during Tri-City's 2018-2019 Anderson Cup Championship season. Knies made his USHL debut on November 23rd, 2018 in the Storm's 3-0 shutout victory over the Omaha Lancers at the Viaero Center. Knies scored fourteen goals, recorded thirty-one assists, and provided the Storm offense with forty-five points in forty-four games played with the team in the 2019-2020 season. Knies led the Storm in assists and finished second on the team in points last season. Of players who played more than forty-regular season games last year, Knies was one of only seventeen USHL players to record more than one point per game last season. He was named to the U.S Junior Select Team for the 2019 World Junior A Challenge and won a Bronze Medal at the event. He was also named the USHL's Forward of the Week on December 31st, 2019. Knies previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Minnesota. Knies was given a "B" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in today's initial "Players to Watch" list.

Guillaume Richard, 17, Defenseman, of Cap-Santé, Quebec is entering his first full season with the Storm after being drafted 91st overall by Tri-City in the 2019 USHL Phase I Draft. Richard spent the 2019-2020 season on Tri-City's affiliate list and played for Mount St. Charles Academy 16U AAA team in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. He appeared in five games as an affiliate list callup during the 2019-2020 season. Richard made his USHL debut on October 4th, 2019 in the Storm's 4-3 shootout loss to the Omaha Lancers at the Viaero Center. Richard netted two goals and recorded thirty assists during the 2019-2020 season at Mount St. Charles Academy. He also appeared in eight games with the Rhode Island Saints 16U AAA team. He scored two goals and registered three assists during that time. Richard also skated for Canada (Team White) at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He currently leads Tri-City with three goals scored during the 2020-2021 preseason. On Sunday, Richard scored the game-winning overtime goal against the Omaha Lancers and was named the 1st Star of the Game. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Maine. Richard was given a "B" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in today's initial "Players to Watch" list.

Hunter Strand, 17, Forward, of Anchorage, Alaska is entering his first season with the Storm after being drafted 2nd overall by Tri-City in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. He was the top forward selected in the draft. Strand has spent the past two seasons skating for the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP/Team USA) in Plymouth, Michigan. Strand netted thirteen goals and recorded nine assists last season in sixty-six games played for USNTDP/Team USA. He appeared in ninety-two games with USNTDP/Team USA during the 2018-2019 season. Strand represented USA at the 2018 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge. Prior to his time with USNTDP/Team USA, he skated for the Alaska Oilers 16U AAA program in Anchorage, Alaska. Strand scored thirty-two goals and recorded twenty assists for fifty-two points in twenty-nine games played with the team during the 2017-2018 season. He made his USHL debut on October 5th, 2018 in Team USA's 4-2 home win over the Madison Capitols. Strand previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Notre Dame. Strand was given a "B" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in today's initial "Players to Watch" list.

Grant Riley, 18, Goaltender, of Rochester, New York is entering his first season with the Storm after being acquired by the organization in a trade with Madison Capitols on May 4th, 2020. Riley spent the 2019-2020 season with the Janesville Jets (NAHL) and posted a 15-19-1-1 record in thirty-seven games played. He recorded a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 3.15 and a Save Percentage (SV%) of 0.911%. Riley made his USHL debut on February 23rd, 2019 in Madison's 5-3 road loss to the Muskegon Lumberjacks. It was his only appearance in net for the Capitols prior to his trade to the Storm. Riley has produced a 1-0-0-0 record in his short time with the Storm during the 2020-2021 preseason. He currently has a GAA of 2.00 and a SV% of .889% following the Storm's win over the Omaha Lancers on October 21st at the Viaero Center. Prior to his time with the Madison Capitols and Janesville Jets, Riley played for the Rochester Coalition 16U AAA program in Rochester, New York. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at Boston College. Riley was given a "C" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in today's initial "Players to Watch" list.

Shane LaChance, 17, Forward, of Andover, Massachusetts was drafted 128th overall by the Storm in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. LaChance is slated to skate for the Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts during the 2020-2021 season and is one of two Storm prospects named to today's "Players to Watch" list. LaChance scored thirteen goals and recorded nine assists in twenty-eight games played with Tabor Academy last season. He also skated for the Neponset Valley River Rats 16U AAA team during the 2019-2020 season. LaChance scored fourteen goals and recorded nineteen assists during the 2019-2020 regular season for the River Rats. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at Boston University. LaChance was given a "C" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in today's initial "Players to Watch" list.

Nate Benoit, 17, Defenseman, of Bow, New Hampshire was drafted 49th overall by the Storm in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. Benoit is slated to skate for Mount St. Charles Academy's 18U AAA team during the 2020-2021 season and is one of two Storm prospects named to today's "Players to Watch" list. Benoit scored thirteen goals and posted thirty-eight assists in sixty-three games played with Mount St. Charles in the 2019-2020 season. Benoit also scored in seven regular season games with the Rhode Island Saints 18U AAA program last year. Prior to last season, Benoit spent the previous three seasons with the Northern Cyclones AAA program. He played in three NCDC games with the Cyclones during the 2018-2019 season. Benoit was given a "C" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in today's initial "Players to Watch" list.


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