Phase One of the USHL Draft is officially in the books. With very little turnaround time, the USHL will be back at it again on Tuesday night for Phase Two of their draft, which was formerly known as the Entry Draft.
While Phase One focuses more on two or three years down the line by drafting players to a team's affiliate list, Phase Two focuses more on the immediate needs of a team. Any player eligible to play junior hockey next year can be picked(meaning just about anyone born 1993-1998). Teams will draft until their protected list, which includes veterans and affiliate list players, reaches 45 players.
Giving a preview of some of the players likely to be picked is nearly impossible. First off, USHL teams don't exactly go out of their way to make their protected lists available to the public(as part of the league's eternal struggle against itself as to whether they want all the fans or zero fans). And second, it's a wide and diverse group of players that is near impossible to get any sort of consensus on.
There's usually a few trends to watch each year, however. One, this event usually serves as pretty strong confirmation of players that are leaving the NCAA to head back to junior hockey. There's usually an NCAA player or two--Jared Rutledge this year?--taken in the first round of the draft, which signals their exit from their current school.
Second, this draft can serve as an interesting precursor to the NHL Draft, which is coming up in just under two months. There should be more than a few potential NHL Draft picks taken in the early rounds of the draft. One such player is Wichita Falls(NAHL) goalie Evan Cowley, who could be a very high pick.
There's also a few extremely young players drafted every year. 1998-born players are eligible to be selected, but can't be put on the Affiliate list, so teams either have to play them next year or risk losing them. I could see a team taking Shattuck-St. Mary's '98 defenseman Ryan Lindgren and giving him the opportunity to play next year.
All in all, it should be an interesting day. The USHL will have all the picks updated via their website, or the draft can be followed via Twitter, through various sources, including myself(@ChrisDilks)