Photo: The Blackhawks traded up from 27th to 20th overall in order to select playmaking center Nick Schmaltz from the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Chicago Blackhawks added nine prospects to the organization at the 2014 NHL Draft, led by Wisconsin native and former Chicago Mission forward, Nick Schmaltz.
Photo: The Chicago Blackhawks used a third round pick at the 2014 NHL Draft to select potential power forward Beau Starrett, who will be playing the 2014-15 season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL (courtesy of Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
After three years of playing high school hockey in Massachusetts, Beau Starrett put his name on the map with the South Shore Kings in the USPHL this season.
Photo: Despite having a shoulder injury needing repair, the Vancouver Canucks made Calgary Hitmen forward Jake Virtanen their top pick at the 2014 NHL Draft (courtesy of Derik Hamilton/Icon SMI)
The Vancouver Canucks figure to have a new look in the coming years with new general manager Jim Benning and a new head coach in Willie Desjardins. The makeover in Vancouver started on Friday afternoon even before the 2014 NHL Draft began when the Canucks engineered a series of trades — one of which sent veteran Ryan Kesler to the Anaheim Ducks in a multi-player deal.
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: 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.