NAHL, NA3HL and NAPHL players prepare for NHL Draft
June 24, 2014
As the 2014 NHL Draft approaches this weekend on June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, the NAHL will be on hand both days as players from the NAHL, NA3HL and NAPHL are well represented in the list of prospects that are expected to be selected into the NHL.
A total of 14 players, who were active players this past season in the NAHL, or are alumni of the NAHL, NAPHL or NA3HL are those who are ranked for the draft. It is providing further proof that the three leagues are continuing to take advantage of and evolve the ladder of development and the significant scouting presence and competition that the league-wide events and games provide.
The 1st round of the draft will take place on Friday, June 27 when the opening round is held at Wells Fargo Center (7pm eastern, NBC Sports Network). Rounds 2-7 will be conducted on Saurday, June 28 (10am eastern, NHL Network).
The only player with ties to the three leagues expected to be selected in the 1st round is former NAPHL goaltender Thatcher Demko. Demko, who could become the first American-born goalie drafted in the first round since the Dallas Stars selected Jack Campbell at No. 11 in 2010, was the youngest player in NCAA hockey this past season playing for the Boston College Eagles. Mock drafts have Demko being selected in the middle to late stages of the 1st round.
Demko spent time developing in the NAPHL as the goalie for the California Titans 16U team during the 2010-11 season. Sporting a 7-2-1 record with a very respectable 92.2% save percentage and a 1.90 goals against average. His save percentage and goals against average both ranked fourth in the 16U Division during the 2010-11 season.
Heading the list for current NAHL players is Wenatchee Wild goaltender Chase Perry, who is the #8 ranked North American goalie. Perry, who will play NCAA hockey at Colorado College, just completed his first season in the NAHL with the Wild. In 35 games played during the regular season, Perry (6’2/190) has a 2.34 goals against average and a 90.6% save percentage, along with two shutouts. Perry played in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February as a part of the NAHL 18U Selects Team. Minnesota Wilderness goaltender Kasimir Kaskisuo, who was the NAHL Goaltender of the Month in November, is ranked right behind Perry at #9 of all the goalies. Kaskisuo, who will play NCAA Division I hockey next season at Minnesota Duluth, put up some incredible numbers this past season, which was his first in the NAHL. He led all NAHL goaltenders with a 1.48 goals against average, as well as, a 94.4% save percentage. His 94.4% save percentage equaled the all-time NAHL single-season record and his 9 shutouts ranked second in the NAHL. Janesville Jets goalie Logan Halladay jumped all the way to #16 in the goalie rankings with his second half performance. Halladay is also an alumni of the NAPHL having played for the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes 16U team during the 2011-12 season. Halladay raised eyebrows with his performance in the second half of the season, which earned him NAHL Goalie of the Month honors in December, as well as, a spot along side Perry on the NAHL 18U Selects Team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February. The University of Minnesota commit tied for 5th in save percentage in the NAHL this season with a 93.2% mark.
Other players with NAHL ties that are expected to be selected are Bismarck Bobcats forward Zach Yon. The University of North Dakota recruit, who played the majority of the season at Roseau High School in Minnesota, joined the Bobcats towards the end of the regular season and played with the Bobcats in the playoffs. Other skaters on the list with NAHL ties include alumni such as forward Matt Iacopelli (Springfield Jr. Blues/Texas Tornado), defenseman Brett Beauvais (Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings), defenseman Luke Ripley (Dawson Creek Rage) and former NAHL and Aberdeen Wings/Soo Eagles goalie and current University of Michigan netminder Zach Nagelvoort. Beauvais and Ripley both appeared in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament during their careers.
NAPHL alumni besides Demko and Halladay include forward Alex Schoenborn, who is also an NAHL alumni. Schoenborn played the 2011-12 season with the Omaha AAA 16U team. During the 2012-13 season, he spent a portion of the season with the Wenatchee Wild in the NAHL. Former Pursuit of Excellence forward Dysin Mayo is also expected to be drafted and former Omaha AAA 16U forward Chris Wilkie, who was the NAPHL scoring champion back during the 2011-12 season, may be a late round pick.
The NA3HL has two former players that are expected to be drafted. Former Metro Jets and NA3HL goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic is the #4 ranked North American goaltender. Nedeljkovic appeared in nine games in the NA3HL with the Metro Jets during the 2012-13 regular season. He made an immediate impact as he was named as the NA3HL Goaltender of the Month in November. Nedeljkovic (6’0/190), who plays for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers and who represented the United States at the 2014 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, is one of the more athletic-style goalies available in the draft. The other NA3HL alum expected to be drafted is former Metro Jets goalie Devin Williams. Williams is not only an NA3HL alum, but an NAPHL one as well. Prior to his stint in the NA3HL, Williams played the 2010-11 season in the NAPHL as the goalie for the Motor City Metal Jackets 16U team. Williams continued his development during the 2011-12 season with the Metro Jets of the NA3HL. While playing with the Jets, Williams went 9-9-0 with a 3.88 GAA and a 89.6% save percentage playing in 19 games.