NHL Draft – US High School

Before we get to this seasons prospects let’s take a look at previous high school forwards that made the jump to the NHL.

Here are there draft year points per game and birthday.

Player POS School PPG Birthday
Chris Kreider L Andover H.S. (Mass.) 2.15 Apr, 30
Nick Bjugstad C Blaine H.S. [Minn.] 2.4 July, 17
Brock Nelson C Warroad H.S. [Minn.] 2.92 Oct, 15
Kevin Hayes R Nobles School [Mass.] 2.33 May, 8
Derek Stepan C Shattuck St. Mary’s (Minn) 1.85 June, 18
Alexander Killorn C Deerfield Academy [Mass H.S.] 1.28 Sept, 14
Nick Bonino C Avon Old Farms H.S. (Conn.) 2.53 Apr, 20
Cam Atkinson R Avon Old Farms H.S. (Conn.) 2.25 June, 5
Anders Lee C Edina H.S. (Minn.) 2.64 July, 3
Erik Haula C Shattuck St. Mary’s (Minn) 1.58 March, 23


Quick Notes;

  • There were four first rounders and all were bigger players.
  • Alex Killorn missed the draft year by one day.    The next season he averaged 2.29 pts/g.
  • Three players were drafted as over-agers; Bonino (2.15 Pts/G previous year), Atkinson (1.93) & Lee (1.72).
  • There is roughly 10 – 15 High School players drafted every year.
  • Here is a must read article by Chris Dilks that goes over High School hockey versus Junior Hockey (USHL)


There are eight forwards that I have on my watch list

Player School PPG DOB H
Tufte, Riley Blaine (Minn) 3.12 4/10/1998 6’5
Mattson, Mitchell Grand Rapids (Minn) 1.84 1/2/1998 6’4
Armstrong, Jamie Avon Farms (CONN) 1.89 8/7/1998 6’2
Graham, Michael Eden Prairie (MINN) 1.97 11/27/1997 6’2
Printz, Gregory SOUTH KENT SCHOOL (CONN) 1.92 5/4/1998 6’2
MacNab, Jackson Culver Academy (IND) 1.67 7/3/1998 6’5
Harper, Patrick Avon Farms (CONN) 2.19 7/29/1998 5’8
O’Neil, Kevin Albany (NY) 1.97 2/23/1998 5’10


There are three groups in the above list;

  • Riley Tufte and Mitchell Mattson will be selected in the NHL draft. Both likely within the first 60 picks.
  • Potential power forwards; Armstrong, Graham, Printz & MacNab
  • Two smaller skill players: Harper & O’Neil


Riley Tufte

  • I believe based on his size and skill Riley Tufte will be drafted in the first round.       He’s not a typical power forward in the Milan Lucic mold. His scouting report reads like Rick Nash, his size, skating, stickhandling, acceleration make him a dynamic prospect. There is going to be worries about the quality of competition he didn’t play in the USHL and when he did he didn’t dominate only 14 points in 27 games, but 10 of those points were goals. Tufe just turned 18, he is offensively ahead of Kreider, Bjudstad & Hayes during their draft season. Tufte, like those propsects, will need years of development time and he’s a risk/reward prospect but the reward could be elite.
  • NHL.com: “I think when you have a player that big that has the mobility and the stick skills that Riley has, it makes him a tough combination to hold back and I think that will happen at every level as he adjusts to the level of play; he has that upside,” NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory said. “He gets his shot off so quickly, he can move in traffic and get clear to make a pass or shoot the puck, and those are things that when a guy has the size that he does it’s a great combination.”

Mitchell Mattson

  • I am kind of on the fence about Mattson. He’s a big center but the numbers aren’t elite. He is projected to go in the second round right now. Button has him as a late first round pick and central scouting has him project as a late 3rd rounder. NHL Draft Site: ‘Big and really can skate well, and advances the puck well. Displays a strong stride, nice passing skills, and is committed to playing a 200 foot game. Needs to build his underdeveloped frame. Looks like he might project as the big center teams look for.’ Will he bring enough offense? Or is he more likely to be a 3rd line center?

The Rest (are all likely late round picks)

  • Jamie Armstrong is a grinder good work ethic and likely to project to be a bottom six. His father is part of the Blues organization. Jeff Cox wrote up an excellent scouting report.
  • Michael Graham late birthday, not a great skater but he’s got good size, will go in the tough areas and can score.
  • Greg Printz looks like your typical bottom six winger. He’s big physical, good work ethic and he can put up points. Jeff Cox again wrote an awesome scouting report.
  • Jackson MacNab honestly I could not find anything out about this guy, but a 6’5 forward that can score at a decent enough rate, rated 169 by Central Scouting and a July birthday would be on my radar.
  • Patrick Harper regarded as an “elite playmaker” with a high hockey IQ. He’s going to an excellent hockey program at Boston U and that just graduated a smaller skill late round pick Danny O’Regan. The following BU blog Terrierhockey.blogspot.ca has an excellent write-up about Patrick.
  • Kevin O’Neil rated 122nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He put up good numbers. Jeff Cox from SBnation had this to say last season, ‘his skating won’t blow anyone away, but he’s not a bad skater, and he has good hands and footwork.’


Player School PPG DOB H
Scott Perunovich Hibbing/Chisholm (MINN) 2.72 8/18/1998 5’9
Kenny Johnson Shattuck St. Mary’s 0.75 5/28/1998 6’3
Carter Long  Selects Hockey Academy (CT) 1.27 2/13/1998 6’4
Marshall Rifai  Hotchkiss School (CT) 1 3/16/1998 5’11
  • Scott Perunovich is a small defenseman, if he was 2 inches taller he would be a top 100 pick. Over the Boards said, “One of the best skating defensemen out of the Minnesota 98’s, sees the ice well, thinks it quick and possesses terrific speed.” Drawn comparison to Nick Leddy.
  • Kenny Johnson is the brother of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. Doesn’t have the skill-set his brother has. Known as a physical defender with a less offensive upside.
  • Carter Long is a 6’4, right-hand shot defenseman with decent offense that’s committed to U of Vermont next year. That’s about all I was able to find on the big guy.
  • Marshal Rifai is a small elite skating defenseman that’s rated 123rd by Central Scouting. He is a decent passer but you’d like a little more offense.



1 thought on “NHL Draft – US High School

  1. Pingback: NHL Draft: Top 130 Forwards | Oiler's Future

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