By Stefan Kubus and Ryan Zuke –
MiHockey will be in Pittsburgh this weekend to cover the 2012 NHL Draft. Below are the Michigan connections to watch for on Friday and Saturday. Listed are the overall rankings of each player out of 210 total North American skaters (by NHL Central Scouting). Follow links in the players’ names to see them featured in other MiHockey articles.
Jacob Trouba – 9th (Rochester; USNTDP) – Drafted 9th overall by Winnipeg
Standing at 6-foot-1, Trouba ranks in at No. 9, leading all Michigan-connected players and all American-born players. During the 2011-12 season, Trouba broke out and doubled both his point totals (18) and plus-minus rating (+8) in only 22 games from the previous season, catching the attention of scouts across the globe.
Trouba also played his youth hockey here in the Mitten, mainly with Compuware, where fellow draft-eligible players and good friends Patrick Sieloff, Riley Barber and Andrew Copp also played for several years.
Tom Wilson – 15th (Plymouth Whalers) – Drafted 16th overall by Washington
Wilson has proven to be a physical agitator who can also chip in offensively when needed. Last season with the Whalers, Wilson compiled a towering 141 penalty minutes to go along with 27 points in 49 games. In the playoffs, Wilson finished the year strong with 13 points in 13 games.
Phil Di Giuseppe – 22nd (U of M) – Drafted 38th overall by Carolina
Di Giuseppe has taken big steps already for the Maize and Blue. As a freshman, he stepped in and tallied 11 goals and 26 points in 40 games for the Wolverines. Additionally, he was a plus-23 and was an honorable mention for the CCHA All-Rookie Team.
Cristoval (Boo) Nieves – 27th (U of M commit) – Drafted 59th overall by New York (Rangers)
In 13 games with the Indiana Ice (USHL), Nieves tallied 10 points in 13 games, before heading over to Connecticut to play high school hockey for Kent School. There, Nieves registered 39 points in 26 games.
Patrick Sieloff – 31st (Ann Arbor; USNTDP) – Drafted 42nd overall by Calgary
Sieloff has played in 60 games over the past two seasons with the USNTDP while recording one goal and five assists. The defenseman will take his game to the OHL next season as a member of the Windsor Spitfires.
Matt DeBlouw – 51st (Chesterfield; Muskegon (USHL); MSU commit) – Drafted 186th overall by Calgary
After putting up six points in his first season as a Muskegon Lumberjack in 2010-11, Deblouw took his game to the next level this season, netting 11 goals and adding 23 assists.
Ben Johnson – 52nd (Calumet (former Mr. Hockey); Windsor Spitfires) – Drafted 90th overall by New Jersey
In his first season with the Spitfires as a 17-year-old, Johnson scored 18 goals, tallied 20 assists and accumulated 44 penalty minutes.
Max Iafrate – 70th (formerly of Plymouth Whalers, grew up in Livonia; son of former NHLer Al) – Undrafted
Iafrate followed up his first season in the OHL with a 16-point campaign for the Kitchener Rangers in 2011-12. The defenseman also compiled 97 penalty minutes and was a plus-1 rating.
Jujhar Khaira – 74th (Michigan Tech commit) – Drafted 63rd overall by Edmonton
Khaira, a left winger, should bring some offensive punch to Michigan Tech; he had 79 points in 54 games for Prince George of the BCHL last season.
Riley Barber – 86th (Livonia; US NTDP) – Drafted 167th by Washington
Barber played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints in 2010-11, before joining Trouba and Sieloff with the U.S. NTDP last season. The forward had five goals and six assists in 24 games for the NTDP.
Justin Kea – 93rd (Saginaw Spirit) – Drafted 73rd overall by Buffalo
In 65 games with the Spirit this past season, Kea accumulated 14 points, doubling his 2010-11 output.
John Draeger – 106th (MSU commit) – Drafted 68th overall by Minnesota
Draeger tallied an impressive 41 points in 57 games last season from the blue line with the prominent Shattuck St. Mary’s high school program in Minnesota.
Connor Carrick – 124th (U of M commit) – Drafted 137th overall by Washington
Carrick played his hockey last season with the USA U-18 team in the USHL with the likes of Trouba, Sieloff, and Barber. There, the defenseman recorded 17 points in 50 games.
Mackenzie MacEachern – 138th (Troy; Brother Rice HS) – Drafted 67th overall by St. Louis
MacEachern was last season’s Mr. Hockey winner and has signed on to join Michigan State in 2013-14. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound forward totaled 90 points his senior season (42 goals, 48 assists).
Cody Payne – 146th (Plymouth Whalers) – Drafted 145th by Boston
After getting traded to Plymouth from the Oshawa Generals in 2011-12, Payne scored three goals and added 11 assists in 50 games.
Vladislav Shalimov – 153rd (spent 2010-11 with Detroit Falcons U18) – Undrafted
The Russian-born forward spent time with the Detroit Falcons in 2010-11, posting 17 points in 20 games before heading to the QMJHL. With Val-d’Or in the 2011-12 campaign, Shalimov registered 30 points in 60 games.
Rhett Holland – 167th (MSU commit) – Drafted 102nd overall by Phoenix
The defenseman from Calgary, Alberta has compiled 32 points over the last three seasons with the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL. In addition, he’s also racked up 431 penalty minutes over that same span.
Alex Kile – 168th (Troy; Green Bay Gamblers; U of M commit) – Undrafted
Kile had a 34-point campaign (17 goals, 17 assists), in his first year in the USHL. The forward is committed to the University of Michigan.
Travis Jeke – 184th (Little Caesars U16, Victory Honda U16) – Undrafted
Jeke formerly played for Little Caesars in 2005-06 and Victory Honda in 2006-07. The defenseman played in the USHS last season for Northwood School and is committed to Boston College.
Chase Hatcher – 174th (son of former Red Wing Derian Hatcher) – Undrafted
Hatcher tallied a goal and four assists win 35 games this past season with the Peterborough Petes of the OHL.
John McCarron – unranked – (Macomb, Cornell University) – Drafted 153rd by Edmonton
McCarron, a 20-year-old, was a bit of a surprise pick by Edmonton; he must have caught their attention during his freshman season at Cornell. McCarron had six goals and 13 assists in 35 games.
Garret Ross – unranked – (Dearborn Heights, Saginaw Spirit) – Drafted 139th overall by Chicago
Ross had seven goals and four assists in 43 games with the Spirit last season.
Jake Paterson – 4th ranked North American goalie (Saginaw Spirit) – Drafted 80th overall by Detroit
Paterson will be a name Michigan hockey fans will be keeping an eye on now – he’s the latest goalie prospect to join the Red Wings’ organization. He had an 18-18-3 record with Saginaw this season.
Clint Windsor – 17th ranked North American goalie (Saginaw Spirit) – Undrafted
Windsor finished this past season with a 3.53 GAA and .899 save percentage in 1,615 minutes of action between the pipes.
Connor Hellebuyck – unranked – (Commerce Township) – Drafted 130th overall by Winnipeg
Helleybuyck played for Odessa of the NAHL last season. The goaltender committed to UMass-Lowell.