The USHL held their Phase I Futures Draft on Monday evening, selecting players born in 1998 for their affiliate lists. Here's a team-by-team breakdown of the most recent additions to each USHL team.
Mitchell Mattson-F-Grand Rapids(North Dakota)
Anea Ferrario-D-Colorado Thunderbirds
Carson Briske-D-Colorado Rampage
Aiden Beck-F-Pittsburgh Penguins
Quaid McBean-D-Phoenix Coyotes
Dante Fabbro-D-Vancouver NW Giants
Jake Theis-F-Chanhassen HS
Some good picks by Bloomington in their first ever draft. They started things off with a long-term project in Mitch Mattson, who will likely stay in Grand Rapids for another year or two. Players like Ferrario and Beck aren't flashy, but will play the hard-nosed style Bloomington is looking for. They also took two Russians from the Wilkes-Barre program that has sent some very successful players to the league. And as some interesting wildcard picks, they picked Tyson Jost and Dante Fabbro, two first round picks in the 2013 WHL Draft, but neither have signed, and could be looking at the NCAA route.
Cedar Rapids Rough Riders
Hugh McGing-F-Chicago Mission(Tender)
Derek Daschke-D-Oakland Grizzlies(Tender)
Alec Semandel-D-Chicago Mission
John DeRoche-F-Boston Jr. Bruins(Quinnipiac)
Shaun Bily-F-New Jersey(Northeastern)
Mike Young-D-River PS
NIcholas Prestia-F-Southern Tier
Cody Christofferson-G-Rocky Mountain
I really love Cedar Rapids locking down Daschke and Semandel early in the draft. They got two potential top pairing defenseman that could step in and play right away, and be big-time players in the future.
Matt Kiersted-D-Elk River HS(North Dakota)
Jake Nielsen-F-Milwaukee Admirals
Brett Callahan-D-Chicago Mission
Austin Grzenia-F-Victory Honda
Kenny Johnson-D-Shattuck-St. Mary's
Alex Frye-F-St. Mary's Prep
Cole Koepke-F-Hermantown HS
Not that many picks for Chicago this year, but I really liked them taking Brett Callahan with their third pick. They loaded up with some really solid defensemen in this draft, and got a nice mix of offensive skill in Kiersted, defensive play in Johnson, and a nice mix with Callahan.
Des Moines Buccaneers
Mitch Lewandowski-F-Honeybaked(Michigan State)
Nick McKeeby-D-Honeybaked(Western Michigan)
Noah LaLonde-F-Honeybaked(Michigan State)
Christopher Berger-F-Buffalo Sabres
Logan Drevitch-F-Boston Bandits
Des Moines obviously liked Detroit Honeybaked's team this year, going there for their first three picks. If you were going to pick three kids off the same team, Detroit Honeybaked was as good a choice as any. I really liked the picks of Berger and Senden; both are smart hockey players, good skaters, and play bigger than their size would indicate.
Dubuque Fighting Saints
Willie Knierim-F-Chicago Mission(Tender)
Kailer Yamamoto-F-Los Angeles Kings
Paul Washe-F-Victory Honda
RJ Murphy-F-St. Sebastiens
John Stampohar-D-Grand Rapids
After locking up a big player in the tender process in Knierim, Dubuque added Kailer Yamamoto with their next pick, which was a great pick. They also added a pair of good puck-moving defensemen for the future in Minnesotans Casey Staum and John Stampohar.
Riley Tufte-F-Blaine(MN) HS(Minnesota-Duluth)
Cole Gallant-F-Detroit Honeybaked
Ryan Bederka-D-Honeybaked(Michigan State)
Max Gerlach-F-Colorado Thunderbirds
David Melaragni-D-Team Comcast(Northeastern)
Luke Cowan-F-Detroit Honeybaked
Ben Meyers-F-Delano HS
Jack LaFontaine-G-Don Mills
The Force took a bit of a long-term gamble with the first overall pick in selecting Riley Tufte. Tufte's combination of size and soft hands make him an intriguing player with sky-high upside, but Tufte seems set on returning to Blaine for his junior season after turning down an offer from the NTDP, and it may take a few years of adding some weight to his frame before Tufte really starts to pan out.
The Force also added three solid players from the Honeybaked program. Northeastern commit Dave Melaragni slipped a lot farther than many thought he would, but he could potentially be an immediate contributor.
Green Bay Gamblers
Josh Dunne-F-St. Louis
Andrew Peeke-F-Selects Academy
John Leonard-F-Springfield Catholic
Christopher Grando-F-Long Island Gulls
Casey Mittelstadt-F-Eden Prairie
John Pesek-D-Chicago Fury
Brandon Puricelli-F-St. Louis Blues
Gabriel Sylvestre-D-College Esther
Green Bay took some gambles on players that didn't necessarily have big years this past year, but showed tremendous upside and potential, including their first round pick in Josh Dunne. They landed two top prospects from out East with their next two picks in Peeke and Leonard.
Dominick Mersch-F-Chicago Mission(Wisconsin)
Liam Schioler-D-Shattuck-St. Mary's
Jake Badini -F-Long Island Gulls
Sam Field-F-New Jersey
Tommy Napier-G-St. Louis Blues
Jacob Harris-F-Toronto Marlies
The new regime in Lincoln is looking to rebuild their team with some good skaters, and they picked up one of the best available in Dominick Mersch. Liam Schioler was a high WHL Draft pick, but is a fantastic pick if Lincoln gets him to report.
Simon Butala-D-Long Island Gulls(Maine)
Evan Wisocky-F-Long Island Gulls
Ryan Edquist-G-Shattuck-St. Mary's(Minnesota)
Ryan Carlson-D-Chicago Mission
Connor Ford-F-Pittsburgh Penguins
Augie Burkhardt-F-New Jersey Devils
Travis Schneider-F-Chicago Fury
Joey Kubachka-F-Philadelphia Flyers
Brendan Less-D-Long Island Gulls
Cole Hults-D-Madison Capitols
The expansion Capitols took three players, including their first two picks out of the Long Island Gulls program. Butala and Wisocky are both high-skill players and nice picks.
Mitch Eliot-D-Detroit Honeybaked(Tender)(Michigan State)
Dante Palecco-F-Long Island Gulls
Jamie Armstrong-F-Neponset Valley
Alex Green-D-Chicago Mission
Dylan Dix-D-Arizona Bobcats
Casey Gilling-F-Soo Indians
Muskegon made a lot of picks in this draft after making all sorts of trades over the course of the year. They added some real size and strength with players like Eliot, Howdeshell, and Dix, and some really nice players from out East.
Hank Crone-F-Dallas Stars(Tender)(Boston University)
Callan Foote-D-Colorado Thunderbirds
Ben Lown-F-Shattuck-St. Mary's
Sam Huff-F-Maple Grove
Todd Kilunen-D-Brighton HS
Philip Knies-F-Arizona Bobcats
The Lancers locked up Crone prior to the draft, which was a great move. Crone is the type of smaller, offensive-minded player that can make an immediate impact in the league. They took a chance with their second pick in Callan Foote, whose WHL rights are owned by Kelowna. If Foote reports to Omaha and plays there, it's a huge steal for the Lancers.
While everybody else seemed pre-occupied with size over skill, Omaha picked up slick offensive players like Crone, Lown, and Knies, and maybe got one of the steals of the draft in Sam Huff late in the sixth round.
Sioux City Musketeers
Jake Ryczek-D-Selects Academy(New Hampshire)
Carver Watson-D-Appleton HS
Barrett Daschyshyn-F-Halifax Macs
John Israel-F-Culver Academy
Kevin Fellows-F-Prior Lake
Lukas Dow-F-Duluth Marshall
Kyle Moore-F-Toronto Red Wings
Ryan Brushett-C-Lac-St. Louis
The Muskies dipped into Canada three times, including a fairly early pick in Daschyshyn, whose father played college hockey at North Dakota. It was later in the draft, but Sioux City was another team that wasn't scared off by smaller players, picking some high-skill guys like Kellows, Dow, and Moore.
Sioux Falls Stampede
Alexander Drobot-F-New Jersey Rockets(Maine)
Cole Thompson-D-Hockey Academy
Davis Bunz-D-MIddleton HS
Ash Altmann-F-Duluth East
Max Johnson-F-Lakeville North
Sioux Falls picked up a little bit of everything here. Bellows and Kopacka are strong, tough power forward. Drobot is more of a waterbug type. They got some good defensemen too, including a rare Canadian already committed to an NCAA school in Tyler Nother.
Cam Dineen-D-Selects Academy(Yale)
Sam Sternschein-F-Portledge HS(Cornell)
Brian Hawkinson-F-Colorado Thunderbirds
Brandon Schuldhaus-D-Shattuck-St. Mary's
Austen Long-F-Spring Lake Park HS
John Sladic-F-Detroit Belle Tire
Jack Kelly-D-Maple Grove
Monte Graham-F-Thayer Academy
Joseph Abate-F-Chicago Fury
Tri-City stayed on the east coach for their first two picks and got two highly-thought of players. Bigger guys like Sternschein, Hawkinson, Schuldhaus, and the small, but tough Austen Long, should give the Storm a big physical presence in the future.
Dayton Rasmussen-G-Holy Family HS
Liam Murphy-F-Avon Old Farms(Connecticut)
Jeremy Descheneaux-C-Stanstead HS
Victor Mete-D-Toronto Jr. Canadiens
Gage Ramsay-F-Notre Dame Prep
Curran Reeve-D-Saskatoon Blazers
While some teams shied away from Minnesota HS prospects early in the draft, Waterloo showed no shyness is taking top Minnesota-born players. They signed Sam Rossini to the first tender ever for a Minnesota-born player, and then added three of the best young players in the southwest Twin Cities suburbs in Sorenson, Wait, and Rasmussen.
The Blackhawks also ventured into Canada for some interesting picks. Jeremy Descheneaux comes from Stanstead HS, the Canadian prep school famous for producing Providence's Mark Jankowski. Late in the sixth round, they took Victor Mete who was a first round draft choice in the OHL, but has publicly stated that he has no intentions of playing in the OHL. He can't play in the US next year, but if he decides to stick with the college route, Waterloo could potentially land a really high-level talent.
Ty Farmer-D-St. Louis Blues(Tender)(Michigan State)
Grant Cruikshank-F-Milwaukee Admirals
Luke McInnis-D-Hingham HS
Stephen Dhillon-G-Buffalo Sabres
Michael Fahie-F-Nobles and Grenough(Brown)
TJ Friedman-F-St. Louis Blues
Justin Cmunt-F-Toronto Jr. Canadiens
I loved the tender of Farmer before the draft. He's small, but smart enough to step and help Youngstown right away. Cruikshank could turn into a great pick once his frame fills out a little. Stephen Dhillon had an impressive NTDP camp and gives them a nice potential future goalie.