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2014 NHL Draft: Belle Tire, Chicago Mission programs produce several NHL draftees

by Tony Piscotta
on

2014 NHL Draft - Alex Nedeljkovic - Carolina Hurricanes

Photo: Plymouth Whalers goaltender and former Belle Tire player Alex Nedeljkovic was chosen in the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes (courtesy of Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

It's no secret that youth hockey in the United States has made great strides the past few decades.

Players from more geographical locations continue to appear on the rosters of major junior teams in Canada, as well as USHL and NAHL clubs in the U.S. The National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, MI and the squads at the northeastern private schools and NCAA college teams also have more American players than ever.

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2014 NHL Draft: NHL’s Western Conference adds more forward talent

by Tony Piscotta
on

2014 NHL Draft - Leon Draisaitl, Aaron Ekblad, and Sam Reinhart

Photo: The players chosen with the top three selections in the 2014 NHL Draft – Leon Draisaitl (L), Aaron Ekblad (C), and Sam Reinhart (R) – pose in front of the draft stage at Well Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The NHL's Western Conference had some of the most dominant teams in the 2013-14 season — including Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles — thanks largely to forwards such as the Kings' Anze Kopitar, Anaheim's Corey Perry and the Chicago's' Jonathan Toews.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: USHL features solid group led by Schmaltz

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Nick Schmaltz - Green Bay Gamblers

Photo: Green Bay Gamblers forward and 2014 prospect Nick Schmaltz will join his brother Jordan this fall at the University of North Dakota (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

The USHL has been churning out top flight NCAA talent for over a decade now and has become more and more important in the eyes of the NHL scouting community. Known primarily as the top league for the development of future NCAA players, an increasing number of USHL grads have seen their path lead to the NHL.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Tuch, Milano the best of another solid NTDP class

by Chapin Landvogt
on

Sonny Milano - U.S. NTDP

Photo: U.S. NTDP forward and 2014 prospect Sonny Milano was an offensive force for that program this season as he totaled 86 points in 58 games (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)

Another year has come and gone for the U.S. National Team Development Program (NTDP) that has once again seen its work culminate in another gold medal at the U18 World Championship, this time around in Lappeenranta, Finland.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Kapanen head of the class from Finland

by Tony Piscotta
on

Kasperi Kapanen - 2014 NHL Draft - Top Prospects Media Availability

Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and 2014 prospect Kasperi Kapanen, sone of former NHL forward Sami Kapanen, is one of several 2014 NHL Draft prospects to have NHL bloodlines (courtesy of Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The 2014 NHL Draft figures to be an interesting one when it comes to players being selected out of Finland. The general consensus on the draft as a whole is that the talent pool drops off significantly after the first handful of prospects with the next group all very similar with little separating them. The same can be said of the prospects coming out of Finland this year.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Thinner QMJHL pack led by Ehlers

by Kevin Forbes
on

Nikolaj Ehlers - Team Orr - 2014 CHL Top Prospects Game

Photo: Halifax Mooseheads forward and 2014 prospect Nikolaj Ehlers was named the CHL Rookie of the Year for the 2013 -14 season (courtesy of Derek Leung/Getty Images)

After a banner year in 2013 at the NHL Draft, the QMJHL appears to have settled back to more familiar levels when it comes to the draft class of 2014. While there may be no Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin to highlight the list of eligible players this year, it is another Halifax Moosehead, Nikolaj Ehlers, who appears set to be the first QMJHL player to hear his name called on Friday night in Philadelphia.

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2014 NHL Draft Preview: Nylander tops Swedish draft class with European flavor

by Chapin Landvogt
on

William Nylander - 2014 NHL Draft - Top Prospects Media Availability

Photo: MODO forward and 2014 prospect William Nylander enters the 2014 NHL Draft as a top 10 prospect accodring to most scouting services (courtesy of Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The trend in recent years that has seen the number of Swedish born and raised players chosen by NHL teams at the NHL Draft has continued to grow and serve as proof that the nation of Sweden is currently one ofthe top developers of hockey talent on the planet.

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