Names to know for next weekend’s NHL Draft

By Michael Caples -

Every year, a select few of Michigan’s best young hockey players hear their name called at the NHL Draft. They represent the hard work put in by the coaches, trainers, instructors, managers, and most importantly, the parents that work so hard to help these elite athletes come that much closer to their lifelong dream.

This year, the NHL Draft takes place on June 30 in New Jersey. And while there’s no guaranteed top-10 pick coming out of our state like Jacob Trouba last year, we still expect to see plenty of Michigan natives and Michigan connections selected by the league’s 30 clubs.

U.S. National Team Development Program alum Seth Jones is expected to be selected No. 1 overall, while plenty of his USA Hockey boys who hail from Michigan will hear their names called, as well. One of those is Macomb native Michael McCarron, the top-ranked Michigan player by NHL Central Scouting, who placed the Western Michigan commit at No. 35 overall with their final ratings.

But McCarron’s not the only one who cracks the draft-watch lists. Canton native Michael Downing is No. 49, while St. Clair native Tyler Motte checks in at No. 84.

Here’s a look at the top Michigan natives expected to be chosen by NHL clubs in New Jersey. Their NHL Central Scouting final rankings accompany their names and other pertinent information.

 


 

Michael McCarron (Photo by Aaron Snyder/MiHockey)

Michael McCarron – No. 35 overall

Macomb native

NTDP (USHL) — Western Michigan commit

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 227 lbs.

Date of Birth: 3/7/95

Position: Forward

Shoots: Right

A product of the Honeybaked organization, McCarron’s size and skill set keeps moving him up the draft rankings. The Macomb native is expected in Kalamazoo next season; McCarron will be one big body for the Broncos’ National Collegiate Hockey Conference foes to deal with.

 


 

Michael Downing (Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Michael Downing - No. 49 overall

Canton native

Dubuque (USHL) — Michigan commit

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 185 lbs.

Date of Birth: 5/19/1995

Position: Defenseman

Shoots: Left

Downing played high school hockey for Detroit Catholic Central before taking his game to the USHL level. He was the anchor on the blue line for the Dubuque Fighting Saints this year, and that went pretty well – the Fighting Saints captured the Clark Cup with a series sweep of the Fargo Force.

 


 

Tyler Motte (Photo courtesy of the U.S. NTDP)

Tyler Motte - No. 84 overall

St. Clair native

NTDP (USHL) — Michigan commit

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 184 lbs.

Date of Birth: 3/10/95

Position: Forward

Shoots: Left

Motte played against his future team on Jan. 4, and introduced himself to his Wolverines teammates by scoring two goals on them in a 5-3 NTDP victory. It was the first time in program history that the NTDP topped the Wolverines, and Motte played a big part in it.

 


 

Aidan Muir (Photo courtesy of Dustan Muir)

Aidan Muir – No. 108 overall

Saline native

Victory Honda (MWEHL) — Western Michigan commit

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 174 lbs.

Date of Birth: 8/21/95

Position: Forward

Shoots: Right

The Victory Honda star is having quite a year. After committing to the Western Michigan Broncos, Muir, a Saline native, was picked No. 1 overall in the USHL Draft on May 7. Muir, who was born in Ontario and moved to Michigan in 2008, should be a standout for the Indiana Ice next season.

 


Alex Kile (Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Alex Kile – No. 136 overall

Troy native

Green Bay (USHL) — Michigan commit

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185 lbs.

Date of Birth: 7/9/94

Position: Forward

Shoots: Left

After two years in the USHL, Kile should be ready to compete at the NCAA level with the University of Michigan next season. The Troy native recorded 17 goals and 17 assists in his first season, and then jumped up to 30 goals and 30 assists in his second. Red Berenson and Co. will welcome his scoring touch with open arms in Ann Arbor.

 


Andrew Copp (Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Andrew Copp – No. 142 overall

Ann Arbor native

Michigan (NCAA) — NTDP alum

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 203 lbs.

Date of Birth: 7/8/1994

Position: Forward

Shoots: Left

After his first season with the Wolverines, Copp now finds himself on the NHL Central Scouting draft watch. The former Skyline quarterback focused on only hockey for the first time in his life, and had quite a season for the Wolverines.

 


Evan Allen (Photo by Aaron Snyder/MiHockey)

Evan Allen – No. 157 overall

Sterling Heights native

NTDP (USHL) — Michigan commit

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 195 lbs.

Date of Birth: 2/3/95

Position: Forward

Shoots: Right

Allen, another University of Michigan commit, brings a scoring touch to the Wolverines’ roster. The NTDP product, a native of Sterling Heights, registered 23 goals and 26 assists this year, primarily in USHL play. He made a strong impression at the inaugural USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, as well.