The United States Hockey League held it’s annual Futures Draft last night and several future Hockey East commitments featured prominently in the selection process. The USHL is the premier Tier 1 Junior League in the United States and given the fact that most D1 hockey players don’t make their way to campus until they’re 19 or 20 years old, the rosters of virtually every single Hockey East team are littered with USHL alumni.
The Chicago based USHL not only allows young players to adapt and evolve their game in a demanding 60 game season, but also allows amateur skaters the chance to maintain their college eligibility. It is a stop gap of sorts that at the very least provides a temporary guarantee against a given college hockey program’s recruits joining the CHL.
Last night’s draft featured a number of Forum Futures including the #2 overall pick in the draft, UMaine recruit LW Liam Pecararo (Tier 1 Elite U18 Boston Advantage). Junior Hockey guru, Nathan Fournier (Maine Hockey Journal) spoke with Pecararo yesterday after the draft and it appears the young Maine recruit will stay close to home and play for the Boston Advantage again next year so he can focus on his SAT’s and schooling in general. In this day in age, it is refreshing to hear a young kid say that academics are the paramount focus for the coming year.
Check out USHL’s draft tracker for a full, round by round breakdown of this years draft which featured several other future Hockey East recruits. Brandon Fortunato (LD) of Pat Lafontaine’s Long Island Royal fame was selected 14th overall by the Green Bay Gamblers, a program that has been very successful in the USHL over the years. 2014 Northeastern Husky commit, Daniel Willett (’96) of the New Jersey Rockets (Jr B) was the 3rd selection in the 2nd round of the Lincoln Stars.
The Husky Hockey Blog has more on the Willett selection and also mentions that Willett was selected by the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL in last months draft. Husky fans can only hope that the 2nd round selection in the USHL draft will sway Willett to Lincoln, Nebraska, and away from the Pymouth Whalers where he would lose his NCAA eligibility. Given the turbulent off season on Huntington Avenue, NU fans can only hope Willett stays the course and ends up on Matthews Arena ice in 2014.
The much ballyhooed 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes for Jack Parker’s BU Terriers have been lauded by scouts all over New England. Hockey Recruits4U Blog confirmed the commitment of ’96 birth date Jack Eichel of the Boston Junior Bruins. Eichel will take his game to Comm Ave in 2014 or perhaps 2015 which solidifies the future beyond 2013 for BU.
Eichel sent out this tweet last week after committing to the Terriers:
@Jack_Eichel11 There’s no better feeling than the one that I have right now. I am so excited and thankful for everything that has happened to me.
The Terrier Hockey Fan Blog had some more information on the Eichel commitment. Eichel will head to Ann Arbor next season and play for the US NTDP U17 squad to further enahnce his already talented skill set. The 6-1, 175 lb. Chelmsford, MA native had 86 points for the Junior Bruins this past season and according to scouts, the hulking forward not only has a pro type of body, but has excellent puck moving and skating skills as well.