USHL 1st Round (and an 8th Rounder) Picks - Where are they now?
The inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game takes place on Saturday at the First Niagara Centre in Buffalo.
The event will showcase 40 of the top American prospects for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and features 31 players from the United States Hockey League (USHL).
The USHL made history in 2012 as a record six players were chosen in the 1st round of the NHL Draft, including defenceman Jacob Trouba (9th, Winnipeg) & forward Zemgus Girgensons (14th, Buffalo). In total, 36 USHL players or alumni- have been selected in the opening round of the draft.
Here is a look at some of the best 1st-round picks with connections to the USHL.
Rick Zombo - Defenceman, Austin Mavericks
1981 - Detroit Red Wings, 8th Rd, 149th overall
While Zombo was not a first-round pick, he made history by becoming the first USHL player to be selected in an NHL Entry Draft. He spent one season with the Mavericks, recording 10 goals and 26 assists in 43 games.
After attending the University of North Dakota for three years, Zombo spent 13 seasons in the NHL, playing in 652 games with Detroit, St. Louis & Boston.
In 1987-88, his first full season with the Red Wings, he played with Steve Yzerman, Gerard Gallant & Adam Oates. Detroit advanced all the way to the Western Conference final before losing to Edmonton, the eventual Stanley Cup champions.
He was a member of the 1992-93 St. Louis Blues team that featured Brett Hull, Curtis Joseph & Brendan Shanahan. They advanced to the second round of the playoffs and were eliminated by the Toronto Maple Leafs in seven games.
He spent his final NHL season with the Boston Bruins in 1995-96 and then played with the Phoenix Roadrunners (IHL) the following year before announcing his retirement.
Zombo started his coaching career in 1998 with the St. Louis Sting of the NAHL.
For the past four seasons, he's been a part of the coaching staff for the Lindenwood Lions (ACHA - Division 1). He was an assistant from 2008-10, when the Lions won two National Championships.
As the head coach for the past two seasons, he's led them to a 63-9 record, two regular season titles & two top-4 finishes at the National Championships.
Interesting Fact: Zombo was born in Des Plaines, Illinois, the same city as former Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Shawn Green, a 2-time MLB All-Star. It is also the childhood town of Robert Reed, the actor that played Mike Brady on 'The Brady Bunch'.
Phil Housley - Defenceman, St. Paul Vulcans
1982 - Buffalo Sabres, 1st Rd, 6th overall
Housley became the first player with ties to the USHL to be a 1st-round pick when he was chosen 6th overall by the Buffalo Sabres.
He spent the 1980-81 season playing for the defunct St. Paul Vulcans, scoring 13 goals and 13 assists in 16 games. At the same time, he was a star at St. Paul High School where he averaged three points per game over two seasons.
Housley played in 1495 NHL games with eight teams over 21 seasons. He participated in 7 All-Star games and is 2nd all-time in points and games played amongst US-born players.
He was inducted into the USA Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame in 2007.
He is currently coaching high school hockey for the Stillwater Ponies in Minnesota. He led the 2011/12 team to a 10-6-2 regular season record and a semi-final appearance at the sectional playoffs.
Ealier this year, Housley was named to coach Team USA's entry at the 2013 World Junior Hockey Championship. He was an assistant coach for the Americans in 2007 and 2011.
Housley will also be one of the coaches in the All-American Prospects Game.
Interesting Fact: Housley won a silver medal with Team USA at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Peter Ferraro - Right Wing, Dubuque/Waterloo
1992 - New York Rangers, 1st Rd, 24th overall
Ferraro played 71 games over two seasons in the USHL and averaged over two points per game during his time in the league.
In his draft year, he was traded from the Dubuque Fighting Saints to the Waterloo Black Hawks and led the league in scoring with 101 points, including 48 goals.
At the end of the season, he was named USHL Forward & Player of the Year.
Ferraro won a bronze medal with Team USA at the 1991/92 World Junior Hockey Championship. He scored 3 goals and 5 assists in 7 games and was named a tournament All-Star.
After being drafted by the NY Rangers, he attended the University of Maine for two years where he won a national championship. He then joined the AHL's Binghamton Rangers in the fall of 1994.
Ferraro played in 92 NHL games over the next 13 years with New York, Pittsburgh, Boston & Washington. His best season came in 1998-99 when he played in 46 games with the Bruins and recorded 6 goals, 8 assists and 44 penalty minutes.
He played in four AHL All-Star Games and was named playoff MVP in 1999 as a member of the champion Providence Bruins.
Ferraro spent two seasons with the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL from 2007-2009 before announcing his retirement.
He currently runs 'Ferraro Brothers Hockey' with his brother in the New York Tri-State area. Earlier this year, they added a goaltending school to their list of programs.
Interesting Fact: Peter's twin brother, Chris, was also drafted by the NY Rangers in the 1992 NHL Draft. He was chosen in the 4th round, 85th overall.
Thomas Vanek - Left Wing, Sioux Falls Stampede
2003 - Buffalo Sabres, 1st Rd, 5th overall
Vanek grew up playing hockey in Austria and moved to the United States at the age of 14. He played three seasons of junior hockey for the Sioux Falls Stampede where he scored 80 goals and 153 points in 108 games. In his final season, he was named to the First All-Star Team after leading the league in goals (46), assists (45) and points (91).
He attended the University of Minnesota for two seasons and scored the game-winning goal in the 2003 NCAA championship game. At the end of the season, he was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association rookie of the year.
Vanek played one season in the AHL and then joined the Buffalo Sabres full-time in 2005/06. In seven seasons, he's averaged 32 goals and 63 points while never playing less than 71 games in a season.
Interesting Fact: Earlier this month, Vanek was voted to the All-Century Team for Team Austria.
Blake Wheeler - Right Wing, Green Bay Gamblers
2004 - Phoenix Coyotes, 1st Rd, 5th overall
Wheeler was a high school star with the Breck Mustangs in Golden Valley, Minnesota. In his junior year, he scored 39 goals and 89 points in 27 games and led them to a state championship.
The next year he played for the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers, recording 47 points in 58 games. From 2005 to 2008, he attended the University of Minnesota. The Gophers won a Western Collegiate Hockey Association championship in 2007 and Wheeler was named the tournament MVP.
He joined the Bruins in the fall of 2008 and was traded to the Atlanta Thrasher in February 2011. He enjoyed the best season of his career last year with the Winnipeg Jets when he scored 17 goals & 47 assists in 80 games.
Interesting Fact: Wheeler recorded a hat trick in the semi-final game at the WCHA Final Five tournament in 2007. He followed that up by scoring the game-winning goal in overtime in the championship game.
Kyle Okposo - Right Wing, Des Moines Buccaneers
2006 - New York Islanders, 1st Rd, 7th overall
Okposo made a big impression in his only season in the USHL. As a member of the Buccaneers in 2005/06, he scored 27 goals and 31 assists in 50 games, helping Des Moines capture the Clark Cup. He was named the league's rookie of the year, a First Team All-Star and playoff MVP.
Once drafted, he attended the University of Minnesota for a year and a half before joining the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
He played his first full season with the New York Islanders in 2008/09 and signed a five-year contract with team in May 2011.
Interesting Fact: Okposo scored his first NHL goal against future NHL Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.
Friday September 14, 2012
USHL coach to lead team for sixth consecutive year
USA Hockey today announced that Brett Larson, Head Coach/GM of the Sioux City Musketeers, has been named the head coach of the U.S. Select Team that will compete in the 2012 World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia from November 5-11.
Larson is beginning his second season in the USHL behind the bench for the Sioux City Musketeers. In his first season, he led the team to a 29-30-1 record and a berth in the Clark Cup Playoffs. Larson guided a team that had a total of 14 players with commitments to NCAA Division I hockey programs, including defenseman Cliff Watson who was selected by the San Jose Sharks in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Prior to coming to the USHL, Larson was an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota-Duluth for three seasons. He helped the Bulldogs earn their first-ever NCAA Championship in 2011 with a team that included USHL alumni Jack Connolly (Sioux Falls Stampede), J.T. Brown (Waterloo Black Hawks), and Travis Oleksuk (Sioux City Musketeers). During his three seasons coaching at his alma mater, Larson helped lead UMD to a 70-40-15 record and the 2008 WCHA Final Five championship.
The Duluth native collected 67 points (24g, 43a) in 133 games as a defenseman at UMD. He was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1990 NHL Draft and went on to play 12 seasons of professional hockey both in the United States and overseas.
The United States has won the World Junior A Challenge in three of the last four years with teams that are made up almost entirely of USHL players. A USHL coach has led the U.S. Select Team in each year of the tournament since the U.S. first competed in 2007, including championships led by P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo Black Hawks) in 2010 and Mark Carlson (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders) in both 2008 and 2009.
The 2012 tournament features two teams from Canada in addition to teams from Russia, Czech Republic, and Switzerland.
World Junior A Challenge schedule:
Monday, November 5th vs. Canada East
Tuesday, November 6th vs. Switzerland
Thursday, November 8th – Quarterfinals
Friday, November 9th – Semifinals
Saturday, November 10th – Third and Fifth place games
Sunday, November 11th – Championship Game
Friday September 7, 2012
All 16 USHL Member Clubs to play exhibition games
The Dubuque Fighting Saints and Cedar Rapids RoughRiders start off the USHL preseason with a home and home series this weekend. The Saints host the RoughRiders at the Mystique Community Ice Center in Dubuque on Friday, September 7th beginning at 7:30. Less than 24 hours later, the same two clubs will faceoff at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
It will be a “Sioux” theme on Tuesday as the Sioux City Musketeers and Sioux Falls Stampede play an exhibition game in Sioux Center, Iowa.
The Indiana Ice will host Eastern Conference rivals Chicago Steel and Muskegon Lumberjacks in a round robin of preseason matchups September 13-15.
The USHL heads north with four teams vying for the Clyde Iron Cup, September 14-15 in Duluth, Minnesota. After earning the preseason championship last year, the Green Bay Gamblers return to defend their title they won in a two-game series with the Sioux City Musketeers, who are also returning to Duluth. The Lincoln Stars and Tri-City Storm are joining to expand this year’s exhibition tournament to four teams.
USHL preseason action culminates with the 2012 USHL Fall Classic, hosted by the Sioux City Musketeers at the Tyson Events Center and IBP Ice Center in Sioux City, Iowa. All 16 USHL Member Clubs will play three preseason games each from September 19-22 in front of hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts. All games at the 2012 USHL Fall Classic can be viewed online via the USHL’s broadcast partner FASTHockey.
2012 USHL Preseason Schedule
9/7/12 - Cedar Rapids RoughRiders @ Dubuque Fighting Saints, 7:30 PM
9/8/12 – Dubuque Fighting Saints @ Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 7:05 PM
9/11/12 – Sioux Falls Stampede @ Sioux City Musketeers, 7:00 PM (Vernon Arena – Sioux Center, Iowa)
9/13/12 – Chicago Steel @ Indiana Ice, 7:00 PM (Pan Am Plaza – Indianapolis, Indiana)
9/14/12 – Cedar Rapids RoughRiders @ Waterloo Black Hawks, 7:00 PM
9/14/12 – Sioux Falls Stampede @ Fargo Force, 7:35 PM
9/14/12 – Chicago Steel @ Muskegon Lumberjacks, 7:00 PM (Pan Am Plaza – Indianapolis, Indiana)
9/14/12 – Des Moines Buccaneers @ Omaha Lancers, 7:05 PM (Motto McClean Arena – Omaha, Nebraska)
9/14/12 – Tri-City Storm @ Lincoln Stars, 3:00 PM (Duluth Heritage Sports Center – Duluth, Minnesota)
9/14/12 – Sioux City Musketeers @ Green Bay Gamblers, 8:00 PM (Duluth Heritage Sports Center – Duluth, Minnesota)
9/15/12 – Sioux City or Green Bay vs. Tri-City or Lincoln, 11:00 AM (Duluth Heritage Sports Center – Duluth, Minnesota)
9/15/12 – Sioux City or Green Bay vs. Tri-City or Lincoln, 2:00 PM (Duluth Heritage Sports Center – Duluth, Minnesota)
9/15/12 – Waterloo Black Hawks @ Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, 7:05 PM
9/15/12 – Omaha Lancers @ Des Moines Buccaneers, 7:05 PM
9/15/12 – Muskegon Lumberjacks @ Indiana Ice, 7:00 PM (Pan Am Plaza – Indianapolis, Indiana)
9/15/12 – Youngstown Phantoms @ Team USA (U18), 7:00 PM (St. Mary’s Athletic Complex – Orchard Lake, Michigan)
9/16/12 – Youngstown Phantoms @ Team USA (U17), 3:30 PM
*all times reflect local start time
*not all USHL preseason game stats will be available online
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrated its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and over 280 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.
Wednesday August 8, 2012
Chicago Steel forward Charlie O'Connor. (photo by MJB Images)
Chicago Steel forward Charlie O’Connor has committed to play collegiate hockey at Bemidji State University beginning in the fall of 2013.
O’Connor collected 29 points (10g, 19a) in 58 games with the Steel during his first USHL season in 2011-12. Three of his goals were shorthanded which led the team. The 19-year-old from Elk Grove Village, Illinois helped the Steel finish the season with a 9-2-3 record as he scored five goals and posted a plus-six rating over that stretch.
When he sets foot on the campus of Bemidji State University, O’Connor will be joined by Steel teammate Philip Marinaccio who is also committed to the school. Four other players that played in the USHL last season have plans to play collegiate hockey at Bemidji State – Bob Kinne (Lincoln Stars), Brady Riesgraf (Fargo Force), Brad Robbins (Sioux City Musketeers), and James Hansen (Waterloo Black Hawks).
Bemidji State University is a member of the WCHA and had 11 USHL alumni on the roster last season; Jake Areshenko (Fargo Force), David Boehm (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Drew Fisher (Sioux Falls/Indiana), Radoslav Illo (Tri-City Storm), Ben Kinne (Sioux City Musketeers), Shea Walters (Green Bay Gamblers), Cody Strang (Youngstown Phantoms), Sam Windle (Des Moines/Chicago), Matt Prapavessis (Lincoln Stars), Danny Mattson (Youngstown/Chicago/Omaha), and Mitch Cain (Des Moines Buccaneers).
Wednesday August 8, 2012
Waterloo Black Hawks rookie forward B.J. Salerno.
B.J. Salerno may be new to the USHL, but not new to Russia
Even at a young age, hockey players find themselves on road trips that many times take them across the country. For the Waterloo Black Hawks, they are about to begin the longest trip in team history, one that takes them quite a bit further than any bus ride during the USHL regular season. When they fly to Russia for the 2012 Junior Club World Cup – with stops in Moscow and Omsk – it will be a new experience for nearly the entire team except for one player that is making a return trip to the country.
New Black Hawks forward B.J. Salerno first visited the capital city of Russia a few years ago when he was playing youth hockey for the Toronto Titans. The team spent a week in Moscow playing against local teams in the Tretiak Cup tournament, named after the legendary goaltender Vladislav Tretiak.
“The teams were really good, but we only lost one game which was to the Russian Red Army team,” said Salerno.
It was a successful visit for the young players, even though they didn’t grow fond of the local cuisine. Frequent visits to McDonald’s became the norm and provided the players with the comfort food of home. Despite a mostly fast food diet, Salerno was on top of his game and added to the memorable trip by earning tournament MVP honors. It left a good taste in his mouth as well as the sights away from the rink.
“We got to go around the city and see great places like Red Square,” said Salerno. “There were so many people and it was a little hectic and crazy. It was just a great experience.”
This summer, Salerno visited the city he will be spending the 2012-13 hockey season when attended the Waterloo Black Hawks training camp in June and the subsequent orientation camp two weeks ago. As excited as he is about traveling abroad, the recently turned 17-year-old was equally thrilled with the town he will be calling home this season.
“I had a great time at the camp and all the people around the city were so nice,” said Salerno. “The coaching staff is amazing and the talent of the players is incredible – much better than what I played in Toronto.”
The Black Hawks selected the forward in the sixth round (90th overall) of the 2011 USHL Futures Draft. He is eager to earn the opportunity to play in the USHL and take advantage of elite development path the League provides.
“I wanted to play in the League because it is a really high-tempo game and that plays to my strengths as a hockey player,” said Salerno. “I have heard so many great things about the USHL and thought it would really help my career.”
Salerno has plans after his days in the USHL to play collegiate hockey and has verbally committed to the University of Maine, but right now he is focused on the present and the impending trip to Russia. The trip he says had created a “buzz” in the Waterloo Black Hawks locker room during camp.
The Black Hawks rookie may be declared the unofficial tour guide for his team when they step off the plane in Moscow, although he mentions that not many people on his USHL team know of his prior visit to Russia. When he first learned of the team’s plans to participate in the Junior Club World Cup, Salerno’s parents mentioned to the Black Hawks coaching staff about the previous trip to Russia, but the young forward hasn’t spread that news to many of his teammates.
Well, that information is no longer a secret.
He prefers to stick with the title of hockey player rather than tour guide on this trip, but he may not be shy about suggesting ideas for souvenirs to his Waterloo Black Hawks teammates. He didn’t leave Russia the first time without picking up a special piece of headwear.
“I got one of those Russian hats,” said Salerno. “The ones made from fur and have ear flaps that tie on top of the hat.”
Friday July 6, 2012
Waterloo Black Hawks defenseman Ian McCoshen, Lincoln Stars forward Luke Johnson, and Team USA forward J.T. Compher are on the "A List" of prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft. (photos by Steph Regenold, Kim Fogle, and Tom Sorensen)
NHL Central Scouting released a “Futures List” of top prospects that are potential first round selections next June. Among the 36 players on the “A List” are five players who spent this past season in the USHL. Ian McCoshen of the Waterloo Black Hawks and Michael Downing of the Dubuque Fighting Saints are two of the nine defensemen on the list and each returns for another season in the USHL. Seth Jones is another blueliner on the list after he spent the last two seasons in the League with Team USA.
Luke Johnson of the Lincoln Stars and J.T. Compher of the Team USA are among 24 forwards making the list of top prospects. Ross Olsson was the only player who spent the past season in high school who made the list. He will spend this season in the USHL with the Lincoln Stars after he was selected in the USHL Entry Draft.
The 2013 NHL Draft takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey which is the home of the New Jersey Devils.
CLICK HERE for the full “A List” from NHL Central Scouting.
Tuesday July 3, 2012
Trevor Moore of the Tri-City Storm, Michael Downing of the Dubuque Fighting Saints, and Gabe Guertler of the Fargo Force are three of the 10 players on the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that competed in the USHL during the 2011-12 season. (photos by Tri-City Storm, Jim Naprstek, and mJoy Photography)
10 players from 2011-12 USHL season on U.S. squad
USA Hockey announced the roster for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that will compete at the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament this summer which takes place August 13-17 in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Among the 22-man roster are 10 players who spent time in the USHL during the 2011-12 season.
Michael Downing of the Dubuque Fighting Saints leads the group of U.S. defensemen after he put up 14 points (4g, 10a) in 54 games as a rookie this season in the USHL. Up front, the U.S. Select Team will be led by Trevor Moore who scored 32 points (12g, 20a) in 49 games for the Tri-City Storm and Gabe Guertler who tallied 28 points (9g, 19a) in 57 games for the Fargo Force before adding five points (3g, 2a) in six playoff contests during their rookie USHL seasons.
Other forward include Andrew Oglevie who had 13 points (6g, 7a) in 52 games as a USHL rookie for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Matt Weis who scored 15 points (6g, 9a) in 33 games for the Green Bay Gamblers, in addition to forwards Justin Bailey (Indiana Ice), Vinni Lettieri (Lincoln Stars), and Karson Kuhlman (Dubuque Fighting Saints), and defenseman Connor Clifton (Team USA) who all saw action in the USHL this past season.
Between the pipes, Thatcher Demko will share goaltending duties after posting a 9-3-1 record for the Omaha Lancers this past season. He also became the youngest goaltender in USHL history to record a shutout when he stopped all 22 shots in a victory over Cedar Rapids on February 17th, just two months after his 16th birthday.
A pair of USHL alumni will also represent the U.S. Under-18 Select Team; Adam Erne who played with the Indiana Ice during the 2010-11 season and defenseman Anthony DeAngelo who played that same season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
On the coaching staff for the U.S. Team is Nick Fohr who spent this past season as assistant coach with Team USA in the USHL. He also played in the USHL for two seasons with the Lincoln Stars (1996-98).
The team includes several USHL prospects looking to crack the lineup in the League for the 2012-13 season, including forwards Drew Melanson (Omaha Lancers), Jason Cotton (Tri-City Storm), Sean Malone (Lincoln Stars), and Corey Ronan (Muskegon Lumberjacks), and defensemen Parker Reno (Lincoln Stars), Teemu Kivihalme (Fargo Force), and R.J. Gicewicz (Green Bay Gamblers).
The Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament features under-18 teams representing eight different countries – Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Since the tournament began in 1991, the United States has finished in the top three on 10 occasions, including the tournament title in 2003. Last year, the U.S. Select Team finished fifth in the event.
Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrated its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12. With 28 picks during the 2012 NHL Entry Draft and over 280 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent. For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s multiple social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive). Fans can also watch USHL action online all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).
It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.
Friday July 13, 2012
Zemgus Girgensons spent the past two seasons in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints before the Buffalo Sabres selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft. (photo by Jim Naprstek)
Dubuque Fighting Saints captain inks three-year deal
The Buffalo Sabres have signed forward Zemgus Girgensons to a three-year NHL entry-level contract less than a month after they selected him in the first round (14th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
Girgensons spent the last two seasons in the USHL playing for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. He led the team in scoring in 2011-12 with 55 points (24g, 31a) despite only playing in 49 of the team’s 60 regular season games. His point total tied for 13th overall in the USHL. He scored eight goals over his final seven games of the regular season, including his first USHL career hat trick on March 24th in the 4-1 win over Tri-City.
Dubuque posted a 34-9-3 record this season, but were just 2-11-1 without him in the lineup for the full 60 minutes. He led the Saints with 24 goals and a plus-17 rating and his six game-winning goals tied for fourth most in the USHL
Prior to the season, Girgensons was named captain of the Saints. The Riga, Latvia native also took time away from the USHL this season to compete for his country in the 2012 IIHF World Junior Championship. He was named to the All-USHL First Team following the 2011-12 season and a few weeks later, the Sabres selected him in the 2012 NHL Draft, one of six USHL players to be selected in the first round. Girgensons also became the first Latvian native to be selected in the first round of the NHL Draft.
During his rookie USHL season, the forward helped the Dubuque Fighting Saints capture the Clark Cup championship. He collected 104 points (45g, 59a) in 100 regular season games over his two-year USHL career. Girgensons also added 12 points (5g, 7a) in 13 playoff games for Dubuque.
“I am really happy for Zemgus,” said Dubuque Fighting Saints Head Coach and General Manager Jim Montgomery. “This is a challenge he’s wanted. This has been his dream probably since he was 12 years old. He deserves and earned this, and I think he will be extremely successful. His skill and will have been elite since day one. That’s why he was an NHL first round pick and that’s why he is signing an NHL contract today.”
Girgensons was set to begin his collegiate career at the University of Vermont this fall, but earned the opportunity to take the next step and sign a NHL contract with the Buffalo Sabres. He has further impressed the Sabres this week while participating in the team's development camp.
“I think he’s ready for this. I think Zemgus is going to have tremendous success,” Montgomery said. “Whatever situation he is put in the coach is going to love him and his teammates are going to love him. He is the ultimate team player that helps you win every night.”
Girgensons joins several other players who have signed NHL contracts shortly after their USHL careers, including Ruslan Fedotenko (Sioux City Musketeers, 1998-99), Trevor Lewis (Des Moines Buccaneers, 2004-06), John Moore (Chicago Steel, 2007-09), and J.T. Miller (Team USA, 2009-11). Indiana Ice forward Daniil Tarasov signed an AHL contract after completing his USHL career this spring.
Wednesday August 1, 2012
Jayson Megna was the captain of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders during the 2010-11 season and was named to the All-USHL First Team. (photo by Amber Schmidt/Metro Studios)
Just over a year after completing his USHL career, forward Jayson Megna has signed a two-year NHL entry-level contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Megna spent two seasons in the USHL with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders appearing in 116 career regular season games. He played all 60 games during the 2010-11 season and collected 58 points (30g, 28) while serving as team captain. His point total ranked tied for ninth in the USHL and his 30 goals were the fourth highest mark in the League. Eight of his goals were game-winners, tying for the USHL lead.
After being held scoreless in the first game of the year, he put together a 15-game point streak in which he totaled 22 points (12g, 10a) and led the RoughRiders to an 11-3-1 record over that span. It was longest point streak in the USHL and in January, he followed up with 12-game point streak amassing 18 points (9g, 9a) over that stretch. Following that season, Megna was named to the All-USHL First Team and went on to add seven points (4g, 3a) in eight playoff contests.
As a USHL rookie, Megna recorded 26 points (11g, 15a) in 56 regular season games.
The 22-year-old from Northbrook, Illinois spent last season playing college hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He was third on the team in scoring with 31 points (13g, 18a) in 38 games while leading the Mavericks with a plus-13 rating. Megna was named to the WCHA All-Rookie Team.
His younger brother, Jaycob Megna, was his teammate this past season at UNO. The brothers were opponents in the USHL the year before as Jaycob was a member of the Muskegon Lumberjacks. The younger Megna, a defenseman, was selected by the Anaheim Ducks during the 2012 NHL Draft.