Tag Archives: USHL

Nathan Walker(12) Hershey Bears

Nathan Walker

After attending training camp on an invite of the parent club Washington Capitals, where he impressed, Hershey Bears‘ undrafted rookie left wing Nathan Walker(12) becomes the first Australian player to skate in an AHL game

It’s well documented that this is a guy that wants it to be him to debut for his country in the NHL.

At 5’11” 185 lbs. he’s not exactly the biggest power forward out there but he knows how to get into those open spaces for scoring chances and plays a hustle style.

In 35 games he’s potted 5 goals and 6 assists with a -1 rating and almost 2 shots on net per contest.

He’s most definitely had an interesting path to take him to Chocolatetown, first appearing in 4.5 years of junior level hockey in of all places the Czech Republic. He also played two years of pro Czech Extraliga (another first) before joining the USHL junior hockey Youngstown Phantoms for the last third of the regular season.

He was pretty much a point-per-game guy as you’d expect.

The only 20-year old forward also had a couple of super-young visits in the Australian pro AIHL.

By all means, the player originally born in the United Kingdom just might achieve his goal.

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Scott Mayfield(10) Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Scott Mayfield

New York Islanders‘ 2nd round pick in the 2011 draft (#34 overall), defenseman Scott Mayfield(10) is using his large 6’4″ 210 lbs. to establish his shutdown, heavy hitting style of play.

He averaged well over triple digit penalty minutes in two years of USHL with Youngstown Phantoms and slightly under the mark through less games in another pair of seasons at University Of Denver.

He’s very much on track for another season of over 100 pims. In 54 AHL games he’s racked up 82 minutes with 6 fighting majors to his credit.

The rangy player is also showing an ability to put up points and may even surpass his American junior hockey career highs in goals and assists. He has 3 goals and 11 assists with a +9 rating on a squad that is just over an even record.

The 21-year is signed to a three-year entry level deal through 2016 and will likely get a long look at next year’s NHL training camp as the parent club definitely has to make some tough decisions about their defensive core.

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Chad Rau(20) Worcester Sharks

Chad Rau

5th year center Chad Rau(20) recently moved from Minnesota Wild‘s prospect system, the only one he knew, to San Jose Sharks‘ organization and was reassigned from minor league affiliate Iowa Wild to Worcester Sharks.

His point production dipped severely in 33 AHL games, putting in only a single tally and adding half a dozen assists on a team that struggles to connect on the score sheet but continues to be in the hunt of a Western Conference playoff spot.

He has yet to catch fire so to speak with his new club notching only a pair of assists in 8 contests.

The not exactly huge 5’11” 178 lbs. forward averaged 35 points in each of his first four seasons and dipped below that mark last year but also had a career second best 16 goals.

Originally a Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 7th round pick in the 2005 draft (#228 overall), he was never signed and inked a 2-year entry level contract with the Wild.

He has played in 9 NHL games and potted two goals in his short stint and was recalled and sent back numerous times

The 27-year old has definitely attained some pretty good goals: 2005 USHL Rookie Of The Year, four reputable years at Colorado College with close to point-per-game production and a trip to the 2011 Calder Cup Finals in his first year pro with Houston Aeros.

His 2-year extension is up at the end of this season and it’s definitely a wonder where the veteran will end up next.

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Reid Boucher(14) New Jersey Devils

Reid Boucher1

New Jersey Devils‘ 4th round pick in the 2011 draft (#99 overall) left wing Reid Boucher(14) has been an impact player at 5’11” 195 lbs. ever since turning pro for the end of the 2012/2013 regular season with minor league affiliate Albany Devils.

He managed to skate in 11 AHL games and put together 3 goals and a pair of assists in his debut.

To start his rookie season he’s already struck for 10 goals and 8 assists in only 21 match-ups with a +4 rating.

The 20-year old only played a couple of campaigns in the OHL with Sarnia Sting; he scored 62 goals and 33 assists in 68 games last season, but already had two years in American junior USHL under his belt to give him a start.

He is American-born: Lansing, MI.

Signed to a three-year entry level deal, it would be easy to see him make the jump permanently into the NHL quickly. He possesses that kind of determination out there.

His efforts have earned him a first recall from the farm team on 12/4. He made his debut skating 19 shifts for 12:30 of ice time, including :57 on the power play no less. That was likely earned as he had his first point, an assist in the game and subsequently was chosen as the first shooter in the shootout and scored.

He was also credited with 2 shots and ended the 4-3 shootout loss a +2 plus/minus.

We see a bright future.

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Jayson Megna(19) Pittsburgh Penguins

Jayson Megna

Undrafted 2nd year center Jayson Megna(19) didn’t spend long pursuing a degree in college hockey after a couple of seasons in US junior hockey before signing a 2-year entry level deal with Pittsburgh Penguins.

He put up virtually point-per-game numbers in his last pair of campaigns in the USHL with Cedar Rapids RoughRiders then at University Of Nebraska-Omaha.

The 6’1″ 195 lbs. forward spent his entire rookie season in the AHL with minor league affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins where he dropped in 5 goals and 7 assists with a -12 rating playing most limited duties in the lineup.

He somewhat broke out in the Calder Cup Playoffs with a pair of strikes and 3 assists in 12 games and that play has carried over into this the final year of his contract.

In 6 games he’s already put in another 3 goals and 2 assists with a +8 rating.

This play earned him his first NHL recall 10/25. In his debut he skated 13 even strength shifts with total ice time of 9:26 and an unfortunate -1 in the late third period defeat to the Islanders.

You can definitely see that this is a player with something to prove this season. He’s always easily spotted out there because he’s always squarely in the middle of the play.

10/28: In his second big league game he gets his first NHL goal and adds an assist in the win.

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Will O’Neill(23) St. John’s IceCaps

2nd year defenseman Will O’Neill(23) signed a 1-year entry level deal for 2012/2013 with Winnipeg Jets after completing his college playing career at University Of Maine, where he was team captain and had a knack for feeding scoring chances.

He was originally an Atlanta Thrashers‘ 7th round pick back in 2006 (#210 overall) before he started a couple of seasons in the USHL, American junior hockey with Omaha Lancers.

The 6’1″ 205 lbs. blue liner played 59 games with AHL affiliate St. John’s IceCaps last season, scoring 3 goals and 18 assists. He had also joined them on an ato to finish out 2011/2012 and notched his first professional hockey tally.

Heading into the new year, the 25-year was set to become an unrestricted free agent.

The IceCaps took care of that inking him to a one-year contract to stay with the team. He could also score himself an invite to the parent club’s training camp.

Will O'Neill


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Daniil Tarasov(19) Worcester Sharks

Worcester Sharks‘ undrafted Russian-born rookie right wing Daniil Tarasov(19) signed a one-year AHL contract straight out of the USHL, where he tore up the scoresheet for two straight seasons before committing to a pro career.

He started the year with Worcester but was dispatched to their ECHL affiliate San Francisco Bulls to get some playing time in, because he wasn’t cracking the lineup.

In 17 ECHL games he scored 3 goals and added 11 assists. He was recalled to the Sharks in early January.

In 11 games played since returning he’s put in 3 goals and 5 assists. He just kept on showing up on the scoresheet and even has a couple of multi-point efforts in there. No doubt, he’s on a roll.

At 5’11” 192 lbs. he never really looks like the biggest guy on the ice but finds his spots for scoring chances.

No doubt if the 21-year keeps it up at this pace, he will on the San Jose radar for an entry level deal. He should be.

One thing about this player: his helmet never seems to fit on his head too well.

Daniil Tarasov

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Zemgus Girgensons(28) Rochester Americans

Talk about a sprint to get your career started, Buffalo Sabres‘ 1st round pick in this year’s draft (#14 overall), Latvian center Zemgus Girgensons(28) goes from his second season of scoring a point per game in the USHL, American junior hockey to the pros.

He had committed to attend University of Vermont next year but he excelled so well in prospect camp that the higher ups were thinking he might be ready to step right into the game and signed him to a 3-year entry level deal.

With the NHL on lockdown, he lacks the chance to make the big club out of training camp and starts his rookie season in the AHL with their close-by affiliate Rochester Americans.

At only 18 years old this is somewhat unprecedented. There’s no doubt that he possesses the size, 6’1″ 198 lbs. to compete and he’s known for playing a battler style of hockey.

Some of that seemed to be on display during the Amerks recent visit to the Glens Falls Civic Center in their 6-2 pounding of Adirondack Phantoms but they might be pushing this one along a bit fast.

He has 2 assists in 8 games and is a -1 plus/minus.

He seems like a really bright kid so there’s no doubt he’s going to be playing pro hockey for a long time and is now, but will he continue to this season?

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