Wondering if Casey Mittelstadt is top-pick-worthy? If Eeli Tolvanen should go before the mid-teens instead of slipping further in mock drafts? What about the futures of Shane Bowers, Grant Mismash, and Josh Norris? Then you might like a look at the recent USHL Draft and speculate who might elevate to the level of this year’s aforementioned top graduates.
For new USHL followers, their draft involves two phases. While Phase One “futures” picks (with 2001 birthdays) don’t often contribute in their first USHL year, top selection Grant Silianoff a Notre Dame commit, Shattuk St. Mary’s High School sophomore, and top scorer on their U16 club with 35 goals and 73 points in 55 games may gain a key role at left wing with his new team, the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders before long.
Solid on offense and defense the 5-10, 153-pound Silianoff has great vision and a fearless, energetic game. A prolific goal scorer in high school as well as his early Squirt and Pee Wee league days in Edina, Minnesota, he also profiles as a skilled playmaker who can dish smart, opportunistic helpers in spades. As a bantam leaguer in 2015-16 he registered 62 goals and 61 assists in 61 games.
The Phase Two Draft involves prospects not on any team’s protected list and provides far greater numbers of immediate USHL players. Phase Two picks are frequently tier-two juniors moving up from the North American Hockey League. Notable NAHL grads include USHL Forward of the Year and league scoring champ Zach Solow (18 goals and 69 points for Dubuque) and USHL Player of the Year and top goalie Matiss Kivlenieks (36-7-4-2, 1.85 GAA, .932 SV% for Sioux City).
Phase Two first selection and Notre Dame commit Graham Slaggert (son of Notre Dame associate coach Andy Slaggert) recently helped the U.S. National Under-18 Team grab the gold at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 men’s World Championship, with his driven and versa