The USHL Entry Draft is still finishing up, but I'll put the link out there, and make a couple comments about some of the kids that went early in the first round.
There were a lot of players that went early in today's draft that I really liked as potential late round sleeper picks for the NHL Draft. It's kind of cool to see that confirmation that I'm not a complete moron, but also kind of like seeing your favorite indie band do a cell phone commercial.
Chicago drafted first overall and selected Adam Krause from Hermantown High School. He's a Minnesota-Duluth recruit, but will get a year of USHL experience first. Krause is a big center with a nice shot that I could definitely see getting selected in the NHL Draft this year.
Youngstown selected next and went local-ish with Cleveland-area prospect John Fritsche, who I believe is related to AHLers Dan and Tom Fritsche.
Colorado College recruit Peter Stoykewych went third overall, which seems to confirm that he'll play another year of junior hockey rather than going straight to CC.
Joel Benson went fourth overall. He's a kid that is kind of flying under the radar because he played midget hockey for the Marquette Electricians, but he had a great year in the NAHL this year, and was on Central Scouting's Players to Watch list.
I really like 5th overall pick Max McCormick. He was the top player on Team Wisconsin in the Elite League this year, and then was by far the best player at the Senior HS Hockey Showcase in Minnesota a couple weeks ago. He's been drawing a ton of college offers lately, and has kind of worked his way to being a borderline NHL Draft prospect. He doesn't have elite skills, but is an incredibly smart, solid hockey player.
Team Maryland's Casey Thrush went 6th overall. Central Scouting had him in the Top 100 in their final rankings, so he'll be a solid draft pick.
Dubuque added their second goalie in Jackson Teichroeb from Ontario at 7th overall.Don't know much about him.
Waterloo picked up Michigan recruit Lucas Lessio eighth.. It would be nice to see him end up in the USHL next year. He's one of the best '93s in Ontario, and has probably outgrown Tier II hockey in Canada. The USHL would provide a nice challenge for him while keeping the option to go to Michigan open.
Michael Hill is a kid from Texas with decent offensive skills that was picked ninth. He's got some good experience in the NAHL and should be able to contribute at the USHL level.
Indiana picked Bemidji recruit Sam Rendle tenth. Rendle had a great year in the NAHL, being named an all-league defenseman. He'll get a year in the USHL before going to Bemidji.
Denver recruit Dan Doremus was selected 11th. Doremus is a bit of a late-bloomer that played Midget AAA last year, but getting a chance to play for Denver is impressive.
Another Bemidji recruit, Zach Franko, was selected at 12th overall by Cedar Rapids. Franko is a kid from Manitoba that was selected by the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL, but ended up deciding he would be better off going to college because he's not the biggest player. He could be a special offensive talent though.
Fargo got what I think was a steal in NAHL forward and Michigan Tech recruit Tanner Kero at 13th overall. Kero chose to stay close to home and play for Marquette in the NAHL last year, and ended up leading the league in goals, which is remarkable for a 17/18 year old. If he fills out physically, he could be a great player, and might be a sleeper for the NHL Draft.
Another Michigan Tech recruit, Reid Sturos, was selected next at 14th. Sturos played high school hockey in Michigan for Brighton last year.
Northeastern recruit Ben Oskroba was the last pick of the first round. He's a big, raw defenseman that played in the AtHL last year.
There was some interesting names to start the second round as well. Chris Casto and Brendan O'Donnell are two potential NHL picks. Sam Windle was selected, choosing to continue his hockey career over playing baseball, which is nice to see.
Lots of great players picked today, though it's important to keep in mind that the draft today is really just a snapshot of what the landscape looks like right now. All of these players still have to earn roster spots over a group of kids passed over that will also be hungry for USHL roster spots. A lot can change between now and next year's Fall Classic.