12 players with NAHL ties on final NHL Central Scouting list
April 16, 2018
It has been another impressive year for the North American Hockey League (NAHL) for player recognition and advancement, and the league is pleased to announce the several players have been recognized on the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters and goalies for the 2018 NHL Draft
The list includes 12 total NAHL players, including four players that played in the NAHL during the 2017-18 season and eight more players that have previously played in the NAHL.
Over 100 NHL scouts, including those from NHL Central Scouting, were on hand at both the NAHL Showcase back in September, and the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament in February.
The next big event for NHL scouts to see the NAHL’s talent on display is the 2018 NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship, which will be held in Blaine, Minnesota from May 11-14, 2018.
Current NAHL Players on the list (alphabetical)
Mitchell Gibson, G, Lone Star Brahmas – Gibson, a Harvard commit, has been one of the top goalies in the NAHL all season long. The 6’1/186 lbs. native of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, tied an NAHL single-season record at 11 shutouts in 2017-18. Gibson finished the regular season leading in the NAHL in goals against average (1.59), save percentage (93.5%), and shutouts (11). He was also 2nd in wins with 26 and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Daniel Lebedeff, G, Janesville Jets – Lebedeff, a University of Wisconsin commit, has had a very good season for the Jets. The 6’2/188 lbs. native of Helsinki, Finland, posted a 17-8-5 record during the regular season and had a 2.41 goals against average and 91.9% save percentage. The NAPHL alum was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Jakov Novak, F, Janesville Jets – A Bentley University commit, Novak (6’3/201) won the NAHL’s scoring title during the 2017-18 regular season with 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) in 56 games played. The native of Riverside, Ontario has appeared in the last two NAHL Top Prospects Tournaments, but his performance at the 2018 event put him on the NHL radar with four points in two games.
Juraj Ovecka, G, Springfield Jr. Blues – The 6’6/197 lbs. native of Skalica, Slovakia, has had a very good year for the Jr. Blues. He has posted an 12-6-3 record with a 2.67 goals against average and a 92.4% save percentage, which ranked in the top 10 in the NAHL. Ovecka also was selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.
Former NAHL Players on the list, who have previously played in the NAHL (alphabetical):
Paul Cotter, F, Brookings Blizzard (Lincoln Stars, USHL)
Mikael Hakkarainen, F, Brookings Blizzard (Muskegon Lumberjacks, USHL)
Chase Hartje, D, Bismarck Bobcats (Brandon Wheat Kings, WHL)
Jake Kucharski, G, Austin Bruins (Des Moines Bucs, USHL)
Ivan Prosvetov, G, Minnesota Magicians (Youngstown Phantoms, USHL)
Vinnie Purpura, G, Johnstown Tomahawks (Omaha Lancers, USHL)
Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup, F, Coulee Region Chill (Fargo Force, USHL)
Zach Solow, F, Janesville Jets (Northeast University, Hockey East)
The Dallas Stars will host the 2018 NHL Draft at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. The 2018 NHL Draft will be held over two days on June 22-23.
A total of 17 players have been selected right after playing in the NAHL in the past five NHL Drafts.