NHL Draft Ramblings: USHL Centers

Clare McManus

2021-03-03

Photo courtesy of the Sioux Fall Stampede

 

In hockey, having good center depth is very important to an NHL franchise. Lucky for the NHL teams preparing for the upcoming draft, there are quite a few potential top centers coming out of the leagues in the USA region that are pretty exciting to watch. 

 

Take a look below:

 

 Cole Sillinger, Sioux Falls Stampede

Sillinger is a Canadian centerman who currently plays for the Stampede in the USHL. He played last season with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL, but because of the shutdown for most of the year, he transferred to play this season in the States. So far, Sillinger has made a strong impact on the Sioux Falls team with 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points in 14 games played. Sillinger is not the best skater on the ice by any means, but he is very strong and can hold his ground well. He can also make good plays with his skilled stickhandling ability or use his powerful shot to try and score. 

 

Chaz Lucius, USNTDP

Being injured for half of this year was definitely not what Lucius thought would be the case going into his draft year. Lucky for him, his first few games back with the US team was like he never left. In three games since his return, he has scored four very solid goals. With the skill Lucius has, it makes him one of the most thrilling players in the draft class. He has an excellent shot that he can rip from anywhere in the offensive zone. His hockey IQ makes him a very good passer as well. 

 

 

Matthew Beniers, University of Michigan

Beniers made headlines after an appreciable showing at the 2021 World Junior Championship with Team USA. He plays a strong 200-ft game and battles hard in puck battles along the boards. His motor seems to never stop moving every time he steps on the ice, as he has a great work ethic and elite ability to drive the play. While Beniers made an impression at the WJC, he has also shown his talents at the University of Michigan, where in 18 games played, has posted six goals and 10 assists for 16 total points. He will look to make a push for the first overall pick come draft time. 

 

Kent Johnson, University of Michigan

Coming straight out of the BCHL to the NCAA can be a hard transition for some players. In 112 games with the Trail Smoke Eaters, Johnson managed to post 61 goals and 86 assi