NHL Central Scouting released today a preliminary top 25 ranking list for the each of the Tier I Jr. A leagues in North America, including the USHL.
Here's what the USHL list looks like:
|UNITED STATES HOCKEY LEAGUE|
|1||Tyler Biggs||USA U-18||RW||6-foot-2||210|
|2||Jonathan Miller||USA U-18||C||6-foot-1 1/4||198|
|4||Scott Mayfield||Youngstown||D||6-foot-3 1/2||197|
|5||Rocco Grimaldi||USA U-18||RW||5-foot-6||163|
|6||Michael Paliotta||USA U-18||D||6-foot-3||198|
|7||Adam Reid||USA U-18||C||6-foot-3 1/2||205|
|8||Sean Kuraly||Indiana||C||6-foot-1 1/2||192|
|9||Colten St. Clair||Fargo||C||5-foot-10 1/2||190|
|10||Robbie Russo||USA U-18||D||5-foot-11 1/2||189|
|11||Blake Pietila||USA U-18||LW||5-foot-11||189|
|12||Logan Nelson||Des Moines||C||6-foot-1 1/4||174|
|13||Reid Boucher||USA U-18||C||5-foot-9 1/2||192|
|14||Austin Czarnik||Green Bay||C||5-foot-8||140|
|15||Dan Carlson||USA U-18||LW||6-foot-1||201|
|16||Joakim Ryan||Dubuque||D||5-foot-10 1/2||182|
|17||Andy Welinski||Green Bay||D||6-foot-1/4||188|
|18||Garrett Haar||Fargo||D||5-foot-11 1/4||190|
|19||Samuel Windle||Chicago||D||6-foot-3 1/2||200|
|20||Zach Saar||Chicago||RW||6-foot-3 1/2||190|
|23||Sam Warning||Cedar Rapids||LW||5-foot-8 1/2||179|
|24||Brendan Woods||Muskegon||LW||6-foot-2 1/2||190|
|25||Cason Hohmann||Cedar Rapids||C||6-foot-2||192|
|LV||Zac Larraza||USA U-18||C||6-foot-2||192|
|LV||Connor Murphy||USA U-18||D||6-foot-2 3/4||185|
|LV||Andrew Ryan||USA U-18||D||6-foot-1||200|
|LV||Austin Wuthrich||USA U-18||RW||6-foot-1||190|
|1||John Gibson||USA U-18||6-foot-2 3/4||205|
|3||Matt McNeely||USA U-18||6-foot-2||205|
|5||Adam Wilcox||Green Bay||6-foot||171|
|6||Matt O'Connor||Youngstown||6-foot-5 1/4||186|
|7||Jake Hildebrand||Sioux City||5-foot-11||170|
There's definitely a couple surprises on the list. Seth Ambroz and Scott Mayfield have long been considered the the top two of the group, so it's a surprise to see Tyler Biggs and JT Miller ahead of them. I'd personally still put Rocco Grimaldi ahead of all of them, 5-6 or not. I had seen some people putting Robbie Russo near the first round of the draft, but 10th seems a more realistic spot. Of course, this list provides no context as to where this group fits in with everybody else, but my feeling is that this isn't a particularly strong group this year.
As for the CHL leagues, the OHL list was a bit of a surprise with Ryan Murphy and Matt Puempel being 9th and 10th, when it seemed like a lot of people had them in at least their top five. A couple Americans on the list: Brandon Saad(2nd), Vince Trochek(4th), Stefan Noesen(13th), Shane Prince(18th), and goalie Matt Mahalak(2nd). Also, former Michigan recruit Lucas Lessio only checked in at a fairly 17th on the list.
In Quebec, Once-a-North-Dakota-recruit-but-then-signed-with-the-QMJHL-so-he-no-longer-has-any-college-eligibility-and-thus-no-affiliation-with-North-Dakota-player Garrett Clarke didn't even get ranked.
In the WHL, Americans Colin Jacobs(10th) and Shane McColgan(15th) were ranked, but far lower than expected. Former Bemidji recruit Zach Franko isn't mentioned.
Over the past couple of years, the college hockey world has been told it would be the death of their sport to lose future first round draft picks like Lessio, Jacobs, McColgan, and Clarke to the CHL. But today, there's a lot more yawns than tears, as all of them look like they would have been better off getting and education and then starting a pro career when they were ready, rather than having to choose between taking a shot at pro hockey OR getting an education like they will have to do in the CHL.