After years of sacrificing high draft picks for quick fix solutions, which eventually led to a lack of depth in their minor league system, the Toronto Maple Leafs have turned a corner in the quality and depth of their player development pipeline. That youth injection is getting stronger with prospects Matt Finn, Connor Brown, and Antoine Bibeau potentially joining the Leafs’ minor league affiliates for the 2014-15 season. Other prospects, such as Andreas Johnson and Carter Verhaeghe, will look to build on their solid performances in 2014-15.
It came as little surprise that USHL prospects once again dotted the seven rounds of the NHL Draft last month in Philadelphia. A total of 18 players were taken from the United States’ top developmental league (excluding the NTDP players), with only one of them being a goalie. Of the remaining 17 players, 13 were forwards. Ironically, the Midwest archrivals Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues each selected three USHL players, more than any other team. Read more»
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.
Most of the hockey world is on pins and needles waiting for the lockout to end, but you wouldn’t know it sitting inside Young Arena in Waterloo, Iowa. The team mascot, a large bird named Tommy Hawk with a big Domino's Pizza logo on the back of his jersey, riled up the cowbell-waving fans of the hometown Blackhawks in the stands while others grabbed beer and leafed through the game program, reading about their opponent, the Youngstown Phantoms. Hockey lives on.