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.
Photo: Boston Bruins draftee Ryan Donato is currently deciding whether to return to Dexter School for another season or play for the USHL’s Omaha Lancers in 2014-15 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Very few hockey players get the chance to play for the team that they grew up watching, but forward Ryan Donato has a chance to make that dream a reality.
Photo: Ryan Fitzgerald had a strong freshman season with Boston College, managing 13 goals and 14 assists through 40 games. Fitzgerald was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon SMI)
The Boston Bruins 2013-14 season did not end the way the Bruins hoped and were exposed by a very skilled and quick Montreal Canadiens team. There will be changes this offseason and that could start right at the NHL Draft. The Bruins will likely be active on the trade market, and could dangle some of their top prospects as trade bait.
Photo: Defenseman Aaron Ekblad (left) and forwards Sam Reinhart (center) and Sam Bennett (right) will learn where they begin their professional careers at the 2014 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images and Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Now that the Los Angeles Kings have hoisted their second Stanley Cup in three years, the hockey world can now focus on the 2014 NHL Draft that will take place on June 27th and 28th at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Photo: Frolunda defenseman and Dallas Stars prospect John Klingberg has gotten a small taste of North American hockey the past couple of seasons, but will move to North America for the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Andrew Dieb/Icon SMI)
As the 2014 NHL Draft approaches, it is important to take note that the NHL is currently chock full of players hailing from Sweden. In particular, it would have been difficult to find many NHL rosters that lacked a Swede patrolling the blueline this past season.