The USHL will hold their Phase One Futures Draft on Monday May 4th, beginning at 6:00pm CDT. The Futures Draft will be ten rounds long, with all players selected born in 1999 this year. As usual, a number of top players have been skimmed off the top of this group between various signings with the US NTDP Program or the CHL, but there's still a very strong group of remaining players to be selected.
I'll release my full draft list the day before the draft on Monday. Until then, here's a look at a few top prospects that could be selected in next Tuesday's Draft.
Logan Cockerill-Belle Tire U16(committed to Boston University)-A very skinny player that still has a lot of physical developing to do, but is an explosive skater with smooth hands. His play really improved late in the season, which helped make him a top prospect.
Baker Shore-Colorado Thunderbirds U16-A strong puckhandler and a very smart player that excels in spreading out the ice in the offensive zone and controlling play through possession.
Ryan Poehling-Lakeville North HS(committed to St. Cloud State)-Poehling most likely would have been tendered by Green Bay, where his two older brothers will play next season, if he hadn't decided to return to Lakeville North High School to play next season.
Mick Messner-Madison West HS(committed to Wisconsin)-A very strong skater that is tough to knock off the puck and battles hard in the dirty areas of the ice to win pucks.
Marko Reifenberger-Hill-Murray HS-Reifenberger put together an excellent high school season, which put him on the radar of the NTDP.He's very quick and strong on the puck, which gives him the ability to play a strong two-way game, and be an explosive scorer.
Isaac Johnson-Anoka HS-Johnson isn't a fast skater, but is extremely quick in tight spaces and has very quick, strong hands. He's excellent at finishing off plays too, which makes him one of the most natural goal-scoring threats in this group.
Kyle Kawamura-TPH Thunder U16-One of the best natural skaters in this age group. Hockey sense and playmaking ability are a bit of a question mark, but his speed and the way he pursues pucks are such an asset that he's worth selecting, hoping the rest of his game rounds out as he matures.
Ben Copeland-Edina HS-Copeland has incredible straight-line speed that is always putting pressure on the opposing defense. He has a strong stick and his hands are good enough to keep up with his feet. He could be more creative on the offensive end, but is dangerous enough to put up offense with his speed.
Wyatt Bongiovanni-Honeybaked U16-Bongiovanni is a smart, solid two-way player that was overshadowed a bit by flashier teammates this past season. But he's a very reliable player capable of filling any role for a team.
Grant Johnson-Grand Forks Central-A smaller forward that still needs to fill out, but he's absolutely fearless going into high-traffic areas to make plays. A really tough competitor.
Luke Manning-Stillwater HS-Manning has a wide, strong frame that should adapt well to the physicality of the USHL. He combines that strength with excellent puckhandling and the abilities to win pucks in tight spaces.
Tommy Miller-Victory Honda U18(committed to Michigan State)-Excellent footwork, hands, and hockey sense. Miller has many of the tools to be an exceptional defenseman at the USHL level.
Ian Blacker-Brampton 45s(committed to Western Michigan)-Blacker was considered a top-five player in his age group in Ontario and drew comparisons to Darnell Nurse. He's a very high-end talent. It seems likely he'll follow his older brother Ben to Cedar Rapids though.
Matt Anderson-Holy Family Catholic HS(committed to Minnesota Duluth)-Anderson is a true quarterback from the point. He's incredibly smart and poised with the puck and sees the ice very well. He could be a bit more dynamic in attacking off the rush, but should still put up a lot of points thanks to his keen hockey sense.
Chris Trouba-Compuware U16-Will always struggle with comparisons to his older brother, but is a solid player in his own right. He's a big body that plays defense well and can be a devastating physical presence. If the offensive side of his game can develop, he could be a very high-end prospect.
Connor Mayer-Benilde-St. Margaret's HS(committed to UConn)-Mayer has some of the smoothest hands of any defenseman in this age group and makes good decisions moving the puck out of his own zone. He'll need to get stronger to handle pressure in his own zone better, but has very high upside.
Erik Dahl-Shattuck-St-Mary's U16-A very big defenseman that played on the top pairing of a very good Shattuck team this past winter. His movement is pretty decent for a player his size. He won't provide a lot of offense, but takes up a lot of space on the defensive end and can be tough to play against due to his physicality.
Nicholas Doyle-Winnipeg Warriors-One of the top defensemen in Manitoba this past year, Doyle has been rumored to have interest in playing in the US next season. He's still a bit lanky and raw, but with loads of potential as a two-way defenseman.
Cameron Babiak-Honeybaked U16-A very smart, reliable defenseman with an excellent stick. Not a huge offensive producer, but does have a strong shot from the point. Plays his position extremely well.
Jack Harris-Prior Lake HS-A taller defenseman that skates very well. He's progressed a lot, particularly in terms of puck-handling and decision-making, in the past year and still shows a very high ceiling.
Anthony DeMeo-New Jersey Rockets-DeMeo has all the tools to be an exceptional player with decent size and smooth skating and puck-handling skills. He hasn't quite put all those tools together to be a complete hockey player yet, but has high upside if his hockey IQ improves a little.
Jack Summers-Victory Honda U16-Summers is a bit undersized and not a huge offensive threat yet, but he has incredible footwork and skating that makes him an effective defender and gives him the upside to potentially be a very dynamic player.
Drew Hunter-Oakland Grizzlies U16-A really strong defender that provide a litlte bit of everything. He doesn't really have one special, standout element to his game, but will provide excellent all-around play for whichever team drafts him.
Clayton Phillips-Edina HS-Phillips is a converted forward that moved back to the blue line this year. He's still adjusting and improving on the defensive end, but his skating is elite level and his offensive upside is enormous.
Carson Kosobud-Moorhead HS-Kosobud is a smooth, strong skater and plays with a bit of a mean streak. He has room to grow on the offensive end of the ice, but has a solid foundation to his game on which to build from.
Spencer Meier-Sartell HS-Meier is a big defensive defenseman that doesn't panic when pressured on the forecheck and makes a strong first pass coming out of his own zone.
Jack Olsen-Lakeville South HS-Olsen is a very versatile player. He played forward during the high school season and put up strong offensive numbers. His smooth skating and natural offensive abilities translate well to the blue line. He shows a lot of potential as a playmaking defenseman.
Kyle Keyser-Victory Honda U16-Keyser is a little on the smaller side, but makes up for that with quickness and really battles in net.
JJ Begley-Hill-Murray HS-Begley is a smaller goalie, but is very sound technically
Matthew Fitzgerald-Bemidji HS-Saw limited action in the high school season behind a veteran goalie, but was extremely impressive during Minnesota's High Performance camps. Good size and the athleticism to make great saves.