NHL Draft: USHL Defense Edition

Here’s a look at the USHL / US Development Program defenseman in this year’s draft. There doesn’t appear to be anyone that will be drafted in the first round unless people take a chance on Chad Krys.

There are roughly 4 – 5 defenseman that could be picked in the first 100 selections.

Then 8 – 10 defenseman that could potentially be taken in after the 4th round.

Player League PTS/G
Adam Fox (D) USDP 0.875
Chad Krys (D) USDP 0.55556
Andrew Peeke (D) USHL 0.51786
Luke McInnis (D) USHL 0.48276
Matt Kiersted (D) USHL 0.41071
Ryan Lindgren (D) USDP 0.37736
Christian Evers (D) USHL 0.36735
Mitch Eliot (D) USHL 0.23636
Matthew Hellickson (D) USDP 0.21429
Derek Daschke (D) USHL 0.2

Adam Fox

  • POS: D / Shoots: R / H: 5’10 / DOB: Feb, 17, 1998
  • He’s rated by most experts to go in the third round.  His offense suggests a second round.
  • Draft Site: Undersized defenseman who has excellent mobility and PP QB skills. Advances the puck very well because he sees the ice well. Good in transition. In the attack zone he passes the puck well towards the net. Pinches well. In his own end, he uses his feet to angle off attackers and close his gaps. The issue is his size, and whether he can advance and be successful in the higher levels of play.  –Bill Placzek

James Greenway

  • Shoots: L / H: 6’4 / DOB: Apr, 27, 1998
  • Before last season Button had Greenway rated 5th overall for the 2016 draft. ‘ A great athlete who has excellent skating ability and can move in any direction to support the offence or negate opponents. He makes good plays with the puck and has a physical element where he can be a challenge to get around, but also will eliminate opponents with strong physical play.’
  • Greenway has fallen a bit in this draft but he may be the best USHL/National Team pick in this years draft. His points per game (.35) are a little shy. I think that Greenway is a potential late 2nd – 3rd round pick.

Andrew Peeke

  • POS: D / Shoots: R / H: 6’3 / DOB: March, 17, 1998
  • Elite Prospects: Big, mobile defenceman with great vision and hockey sense. Possesses a hard, accurate shot, but needs to use it more. Smooth skater, but has room for improvement in his acceleration with the puck. Reads plays well in his own end and has a well-rounded understanding of the defensive game. Starting to play a gritty game, but that will take time to develop. Physical game is definitely ripening.
  • Peeke a self-described “die-hard Panthers fan” while growing up in Parkland, Fla has the chance to go in the top 50 picks in the NHL draft.       He’s got decent offense a nice shot & stands 6’3. Looks to be a really good development prospect.

Chad Krys

  • POS: D / Shoots: L / H: 5’11 / DOB: Apr, 10, 1998
  • The Hockey Writers: Krys lacks size (5’11”, 183 pounds) but makes up for it with a high hockey IQ and strong skating ability. His ability to run a power play was on full display at last year’s Under-18 World Championships, where he posted 4 assists and 5 points in 7 games in USA’s run to the gold medal.  Despite his ability to slow down the pace of the game and make positive plays in the offensive zone, Krys’ lack of high-end production paired with his small stature makes him a risky prospect. However, his defensive deficiencies aren’t enough to offset his offensive potential, and his skating and passing abilities scream first-rounder. Krys’ hit or miss potential makes him one of the most intriguing prospects in next year’s draft.


Ryan Lindgren

  • Shoots: L / H: 6’ / DOB: Feb, 11, 1998
  • The Hockey Writers: Lindgren has the potential to become a solid stay-at-home defender at NHL-level who plays a solid defensive minded game using his strong defensive awareness. He also has the potential to grow into a more offensive role with the time.
  • Lindgren is a strong skater and is projecting as a solid defensive defender. There are concerns about his upside. Chris Dilks from SBNation; The big concern is that he isn’t all that different as a player now than he was at 15 years old, which leads to some questions about his long-term upside. He won’t be a star at the next level, but good, dependable D are hard to find. I would project him to be a 3rd round pick.

Luke McInnis

  • POS: D / Shoots: L / H: 5’11 / DOB: July, 29, 1998
  • Luke is the son of former Islander and Mighty Duck, Marty McInnis.  Jeff Cox at SBNation: He is a terrific skater, always has his head up looking for an outlet pass. He makes smart plays and doesn’t try to do too much. He’s a good power play QB who needs to be a little more consistently strong in his own end.

Griffin Luce

  • Shoots: L / H: 6’3 / DOB: March, 10, 1998
  • Luce is a big defender that was highly thought of when he first joined the USDP, back in 2014.       Over the Boards, “Skates well and makes intricate plays at the offensive blue line. He’ll hold it, move off the boards, get it up there, he gives himself an extra couple feet, suspends the zone… makes a lot of good plays there which is a rare thing for a guy that looks like a stay at home defensive D.” His development has stalled looks to be a mid-late round pick. He averaged .16 Pts/G in this past season with the National team. If he slips to the 5th round it might be tough to pass on the 6’3 defender.

 Jake Ryczek

  • Shoots: R / H: 5’10 / DOB: March, 19, 1998
  • Ryczek is a strong skating, puck moving defenseman with good offensive instincts. He recorded over a point a game when after he was traded to Waterloo. Jeff Cox from SBNation: He did a real good job all week getting pucks on net from the point, but his defensive play impressed me more as the week went on. He’s strong and made some good body checks, but also had a tendency to get beat wide. Right now he’s projected to be a 5th round pick and committed to Providence.

Christian Evers

  • Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / DOB: May, 25, 1997
  • Evers is an overager that could be worth a shot later in the draft. He was part of last years US National Development team. Good size and decent offense. Draft Site’s Bill Placzek: Has size and physicality and is able to handle the puck effectively on both offensive and defense. Reads the ice well and is best when he keeps his game simple and doesn’t start overextending. Handles the puck well and looks like a good long term developmental defender.

Mitch Eliot

  • Shoots: R / H: 6’ / DOB: Feb, 6, 1998
  • Elite Prospects: A physical two-way defenceman that plays a structured competitive game. Smooth skating compliments his ability to control the puck at higher speeds. Displays a pretty hard shot and crisp tape-to-tape passing ability, but is actually relied on more in the defensive zone. Battles very hard for puck possession and sees the game in lanes. Very strong positionally and is poised in his own end. As he continues to grow, he will become a more well-rounded defenceman with each game, as he recognizes and learns from his mistakes. Can play long shifts. [EP]
  • Eliot is rated as a 4th round pick, projects as a defensive defenseman and will be headed to Michigan State.

Derek Daschke

  • Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / DOB: Jan, 6, 1998
  • Based on reports he may not get drafted, but he looks like a good risk/reward player that you could take in the 6th or 7th round. He’s between 6’2 and 6’3 and based off reports he has enough skill to get drafted, but he appears to be his disinterested at times. Chris Dilks stated, ‘there’s some rough edges to his game, but he’s a legit 6’3″ and a tremendous athlete.’ Jeff Cox from SB Nation had the following writeup; “His hands and ability in the offensive zone was second to no one here among defensemen. However, he made some lazy passes and didn’t always make the right decisions in the defensive zone. Two of his goals were absolute highlight reel variety and he turned heads with his skating ability and silky smooth mits.”

Samuel Rossini

  • Shoots: L / H: 6’3 / DOB: June, 19, 1998
  • Rossini played for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL and averaged .17 Pts/G. Is projected to either go late in the draft or undrafted.       Over the Boards; ‘Has some skill with the puck but a lot of athletic power to his game, grounded in strength and an ability to both deny opposing forwards as well as carry the rush up ice.’ Roussini is likely to project as a defensive defenseman based on this scouting report, size and offensive production from this past season.

Matt Hellickson

  • Shoots: L / H: 5’10’ / DOB: Mar, 21, 1998
  • Hellickson is likely to be either undrafted or a 7th round pick. I really like Chris Dilks for USHL or college players and he had some nice things to say about Hellickson. Chris Dilks @ SBNation: “Hellickson is listed at 5’10” 160 lbs., and is an incredibly poised puck-moving defenseman. His vision and passing ability is among the best in his age group.” Based on that verbiage I wouldn’t be upset if my team took a chance on Hellickson.

US National Development

These are additional USND program forwards that are on the draft radar.

  1. Michael Campoli – Shoots: L / H: 6’2 / DOB: Jan, 21, 1998 / PTS/G: .02

Smaller Defenseman

Players that are on the smaller side (6’ and under) with good but not great offensive production, are likely not worth a draft pick. This player type can most likely be signed as a free agent after four years of college than an NHL draft pick. You can sign players like these every March/April. So perhaps they are worth a 7th round pick but more often than note they go undrafted.

  1. Matt Kiersted – Shoots: L / H: 5’11 / DOB: Apr, 14, 1998 / PTS/G: .41

One thought on “NHL Draft: USHL Defense Edition

  1. Pingback: NHL Draft: Defenseman | Oiler's Future

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