USHL Report – February, 2019
It is great to be back covering even more prospects from the USHL. Draft evaluations begin to take over this time of year. However, there is always time for the latest from the league. Overall, it was a month of great plays, saves, and more.
Two things stood out in the last month. One is the NHL Draft lists and the other is the best players in the league.
The NHL Draft and the USHL ties that bind…
This month’s “Main Event” is the Central Scouting Rankings midterm report. A whopping 72 players have ties to the USHL or are currently playing in the league. 62 of those players are currently in the USHL or committed to college hockey. USHL players make up over a third of the top-30 players among North American skaters. They are led by Jack Hughes, the likely number one pick of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Four USHL goalies are among the top 25 North American goalies, including top-ranked Spencer Knight. Isaiah Saville from the Tri-City American comes in at 8th. However, he no longer is under the radar as this year’s performance would indicate.
Among other skaters moving up rapidly, Jack Malone of the Youngstown Phantoms is a New Jersey native who has seen his stock rise dramatically. He was not even in the top 200 among North American skaters and is now 92nd. Malone is one of those players that got off to a hot start for Youngstown and has maintained it. He has 35 points in 34 games – including 15 goals.
Back to goalies as we take a quick look at Isaiah Saville, who helped win the Junior A World Championships last year over Russia via a shutout. The goalie from Tri-City has 16 wins in 23 games played, has only lost three games in regulation, and sports a 1.76 goal against average and .934 save percentage. His stock rises at every evaluation. He may be one of the best five goalies in this draft behind Knight and Cameron Rowe. Ben Kraws from Sioux City cracked the top-25 among goalies at 25th. The Sioux City goaltender has struggled a bit but rose just slightly from November’s rankings.
This year’s numbers are an 11% increase over last year’s record pace. Both Top-Prospects Game MVP’s (Robert Mastrosimone and Ethan Phillips) are represented in the rankings at 49th and 91st respectively. Mastrosimone is another steady riser in the rankings as he cracked the top-50 for the first time.
More News and Notes
A name to keep an eye on is Bobby Brink. Brink had four points in two games this weekend for the Sioux City Musketeers. Brink had been out of the lineup due to injury since November 24th, but one would have never known he missed any time. Brink fired off scoring chance after scoring chance in his first game back. The last time scouts saw him was during the Junior A’s where Brink had two goals and six assists. He was named MVP of the tournament. The forward has 24 points in his last 12 games and ranks in the top-15 among leading scorers despite missing over two months of action. Brink comes in at 29th among North American skaters in the latest CSS Rankings. That number could rise in the second half.
Alex Yakovenko and Blake Pietela rounded out the USHL Players Of The Week. Yakovenko had three points in two games which included his 14th and 15th goals of the season. He has 37 points now on the year in 37 games. The defenseman is in his second full season with Muskegon and the Russian now has three multi-goal games in his last eight. As for Pietela, the Cedar Rapids goalie started in two games this week. Pietela allowed only one goal with a 0.50 goal against average and .979 save percentage. The Cedar Rapids goalie is now 15-9-2-1 on the season. That includes winning six of his last eight starts. He stopped 47 of 48 shots which featured a 25 save shutout against Dubuque. Pietela now ranks in the top-seven in the USHL in goals against and save percentage.
That is all for now. You can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWasselDFS for the latest hockey and hockey prospect news. See you next month with the latest from the USHL.