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Multiple Storm Players Named to Latest NHL Draft Rankings

January 29, 2021 - United States Hockey League (USHL) - Tri-City Storm News Release


Kearney, NE. - Multiple Tri-City Storm players have been named to the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau's most recent "Players to Watch" list. The most recent rankings were released on January 22nd and serve as an update to Central Scouting's initial "Players to Watch" list that was released in October for the 2021 NHL Draft. Five players on the Storm's active roster (Matthew Knies, Guillaume Richard, Hunter Strand, Kieran Cebrian, and Cole O'Hara) and two affiliate list players (Nate Benoit and Shane LaChance) have been included in the rankings. Tri-City returns to action tonight in a home game against the Omaha Lancers. The game is sold out, and puck drop is set for 7:05pm.

The NHL Central Scouting Bureau is a collection of NHL staff and scouts who rank prospects for the 2021 NHL Draft as a service to the 32 member clubs. 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 during 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 in 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. To this point in the 2020-2021 regular season, Knies has scored two goals and has recorded six assists. 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 the updated "Players to Watch" list.

Guillaume Richard, 17, Defenseman, of Cap-Santé, Quebec is in 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. Richard has provided the Storm with five assists to this point in the 2020-2021 regular season. He led the team in scoring during the preseason and was the only Storm player to net three or more goals in the six-game exhibition schedule. 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 the updated "Players to Watch" list.

Hunter Strand, 17, Forward, of Anchorage, Alaska is in 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 was named the USHL's "Forward of the Week" for Week 1 & Week 2 of the 2020-2021 regular season on November 20th, 2020. Entering tonight's home game against the Omaha Lancers, Strand has scored eight goals and recorded ten assists. His eighteen points are currently the most among any Storm player this season. 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 the updated "Players to Watch" list.

Kieran Cebrian, 17, Forward, of Denver, Colorado was drafted 10th overall by the Storm in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. Cebrian has appeared in nineteen games with the Storm during the 2020-2021 regular season. He has scored one goal and has recorded three assists this season. He made his USHL debut on November 7th, 2020 in Tri-City's opening game of the 2020-2021 regular season against the Sioux City Musketeers at the Tyson Events Center. The Storm defeated the Musketeers by a final score of 5-1. Cebrian scored his first career USHL goal on November 20th, 2020 in Tri-City's 5-2 home loss to the Fargo Force. Last year, Cebrian netted forty-six goals and recorded eighty-two assists in eighty-six games played for the Colorado Thunderbirds 16U AAA organization. Cebrian also served as Captain of the Thunderbirds during the 2019-2020 season. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Denver. Cebrian was not included on Central Scouting's initial "Players to Watch" list in October and he has elevated his draft status through his play to this point in the season. Cebrian was given a "C" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in the updated "Players to Watch" list.

Cole O'Hara, 18, Forward, of Toronto, Ontario was drafted 142nd overall by the Storm in the 10th Round of the 2019 USHL Phase II Draft. O'Hara was eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft and was ranked 170th overall among North American skaters in its "Final Rankings". Entering tonight's sold-out home game against the Omaha Lancers, O'Hara has scored three goals and recorded four assists in seventeen games played this season with the Storm. He made his USHL debut with the team on November 7th in Tri-City's season-opening 5-1 road win over the Sioux City Musketeers. O'Hara scored his first career USHL goal on January 6th, 2021 in Tri-City's 3-2 shootout loss on the road to the Lincoln Stars. O'Hara's goal came with under two minutes to play to tie the game and to force overtime. Prior to joining the Storm this season, O'Hara previously skated with the North York Rangers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). Last season with the Rangers, O'Hara scored twenty-one goals and recorded forty-three assists in fifty-one regular season games played. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass). O'Hara was not included on Central Scouting's initial "Players to Watch" list in October and he has elevated his draft status through his play to this point in the season. O'Hara was given a "C" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in the updated "Players to Watch" list.

Nate Benoit, 18, Defenseman, of Bow, New Hampshire was drafted 49th overall by the Storm in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. Benoit most recently skated for Mount St. Charles Academy's 18U AAA team and is one of two Storm prospects named to the updated "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 skated 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 is currently a "Captain" at Mount St. Charles Academy. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of North Dakota. Benoit was given a "C" rating by the NHL's Central Scouting bureau in the updated "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 currently skating for the Boston Jr. Bruins (NCDC) and is one of two Storm prospects named to the updated "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. To this point in the 2020-2021 season, LaChance has scored six goals and eight assists in twenty-two games played for the Boston Jr. Bruins. 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 the updated "Players to Watch" list.

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