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: Barrie Colts defenseman Aaron Ekblad signifies his draft position after being chosen first overall at the 2014 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers (courtesy of Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
The 2014 NHL Draft has come and gone, and another 210 players become the property of NHL teams for at least the next two years in most cases.
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: 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.
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.