The seventh annual USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game takes place tonight at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn. and will feature 42 of the best U.S.-born players eligible for the 2019 NHL Draft. Some 130 NHL scouts are expected to be in attendance. Tonight's game will be streamed on HockeyTV and available at AllAmericanProspectsGame.com.
Of the 42 players playing tonight are an event-record 10 Minnesotans as well as Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.), the projected number one pick in next year's NHL Draft. Additionally, 40 appear on the 2018-19 NHL Central Scouting Pre-Season Futures List, which highlights players that have potential to be selected in the first three rounds of the draft.
ARRIVALS IN SAINT PAUL
Yesterday, 42 of the best U.S. players arrived in Saint Paul, Minn., ahead of today's game. The players were joined by U.S. Olympians and Minnesota natives, Jamie Langenbrunner and Jordan Leopold, who will serve as head coaches for this year's game. Upon arrival, players and staff received AAPG-branded apparel at the hotel before traveling to the Bauer Hockey Experience Store for dinner and opening remarks on behalf of USA Hockey.
Today, both teams will hold morning skates at the Xcel Energy Center before attending a luncheon that will include Minnesota Wild's general manager, Paul Fenton, and 2019 U.S. National Junior Team head coach, Mike Hastings, who holds the same role for Minnesota State.
PROJECTED NUMBER ONE 2019 NHL PICK
Team Leopold forward Jack Hughes (Orlando, Fla.) is the projected number one pick in the upcoming NHL Draft. Last season at USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, he registered a U17-record 116 points, including 40 goals and NTDP-record 76 assists, in 60 games. His point total was one point shy of tying Auston Matthews (Scottsdale, Ariz.) for the most-ever by an NTDP player in a single season. As an under-ager at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship, Hughes earned tournament MVP honors while also being named Best Forward and a member of the Media All-Star Team.
TIDBITS ON THE GAME
Tonight's game will be streamed on HockeyTV with NHL Network's Steve Nelson handling play-by-play duties and Brian Lawton, the first-ever U.S. player be chosen first overall in an NHL Draft (1983), providing color commentary ... 1960 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team gold medalists Jack McCartan(Saint Paul, Minn.) and Dick Meredith (South Bend, Ind.) will take part in the ceremonial opening faceoff while Mike "Lefty" Curran (International Falls, Minn.), who helped the U.S. capture the silver medal at the 1972 Olympic Winter Games, will present the trophy to the game's most valuable player ... To date, AAPG alums have gone on to become Calder Trophy Finalists, NHL All-Stars, earn NHL All-Star Game MVP honors and win the Stanley Cup. Entering the 2018-19 season, 41 AAPG alums have already made their NHL debuts. For more on AAPG alums, see page 9 of the game notes ... Among those in attendance tonight are Hockey Hall of Fame member Lou Nanne; USA Hockey's assistant executive director of hockey operations and U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member, John Vanbiesbrouck; president and commissioner of the United States Hockey League, Tom Garrity; president and commissioner of the North American Hockey League, Mark Frankenfeld, among others.
STATE OF HOCKEY TIES
Tabbed the 'State of Hockey', Minnesota led all U.S. states with 57,634 USA Hockey registered players in the 2017-18 season. Additionally, among USA Hockey's 12 districts, Minnesota ranked second behind the Central District (78,348) with 69,605 players, coaches and officials.
Of the 272 Americans who skated in the NHL last year, 54 were from Minnesota, the most of any state. Entering the 2018-19 season, four of the 24-filled NHL captaincy positions are held by Americans, including Minnesotan Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets). Additionally, Minnesotan Ryan McDonagh (Tampa Bay Lightning) spent four seasons as captain of the New York Rangers before a trade last season. For more on Minnesota, see page 4 of the game notes.