With sports on hold and our routines of normalcy thrown into flux for the foreseeable future, the 2020 United States Hockey League Draft brought with it a calming sense of relief. For the afternoons of two days, fans of junior and collegiate hockey could come together and see where some of the brightest up-and-coming prospects in the sports would land for the next steps in their path to professional hockey. For fans of Northeastern hockey, this year’s draft was of interest for a handful of players in the Huskies’ pipeline.
We know that the USHL is the top Tier-A league for junior hockey between the United States and Canada, so most programs recruit the league heavily, and most seasons see the top incoming freshmen usually matriculating from the league, with some notable exceptions (Cale Makar and Alex Newhook come to mind). On the whole, players seem to adapt to college hockey quicker after going through the USHL season.
This year, Phase 1 of the USHL Draft featured players born in 2004 (feeling old yet? We certainly are). For the Huskies, that would only apply to defenseman Vinny Borgesi, the right-shot dynamo from Philadelphia, currently at the Selects Hockey Academy. However Borgesi was off the board as he signed a tender with the Tri-City Storm, meaning he will be rostered by the team for the 2020-21 season as a 16-year-old, the youngest age eligible to play in the league.
— Tri-City Storm (@TriCityStorm) March 31, 2020
After signing with Tri-City, Borgesi stated “Signing with a USHL team is a big step for me in my career but I’m up for the challenge and ready to work for it…I watched a lot of video highlights of the team, and thought playing for the Storm would be great for my development…I’m a small guy, but move the puck well and have a pass first mentality.” In the same press release, Tri-City general manager Jason Kohler called Borgesi an “elite level 2004 defenseman” and head coach Anthony Noreen stated that Borgesi “has a really special drive that separates him from other athletes and other hockey players. Our staff feels that this was the best available defenseman to tender, so we’re thrilled that he chose to join our organization.”
Couldn’t be more proud of 15U players Vinny Borgesi and Arthur Smith on earning silver medal for @usahockey at Youth Olympics.
SKSA is one of only 3 programs to have more than 1 player representing their teams in the YOG
— South Kent Selects Academy (@SKSAHockey) January 22, 2020
Borgesi is eligible for the 2022 NHL Draft, and we project that he will enroll at Northeastern as a true freshman in 2022.
Phase II of the USHL Draft allows all teams to fill the remainder of their 45-man rosters with players who are not already rostered on USHL main rosters or protected lists, and any player from junior hockey is eligible, provided they have not aged out of the USHL. For the Huskies, the four players that fit that label were Stanley Cooley, Sasha Teleguine, Chase McInnis, and Anthony Messuri.
Cooley would be the first Huskies recruit selected in Phase II, going in the second round to the Lincoln Stars. Cooley played for Spruce Grove of the Alberta Junior Hockey League the last two seasons. Lincoln has produced a number of Huskies players the last decade, including recent graduate Biagio Lerario, senior Grant Jozefek, and Huskies legends Zach Aston-Reese and Kevin Roy. Lincoln finished 5th in the Western Conference this past season but led the West in goals scored, meaning they should be an excellent landing spot for Cooley to hone his offensive talents. They also gave up the most goals in the West so Cooley will have the chance to work on his defense as well.
— Lincoln Stars (@LincolnStars) May 5, 2020
— Spruce Grove Saints (@sgsaints) January 15, 2020
Thayer Academy product Sasha Teleguine was selected next, taken by Waterloo in the eleventh round of the draft. Waterloo was the top team in the Western Conference last season, and has not been a common destination for players on their way to the Huskies. In my research, I don’t believe any player has come to Northeastern with their last stop being Waterloo. The long wait came because Teleguine has already committed to play for Chilliwack of the British Columbia Hockey League, seen by many as the best junior league in Canada and a league where offensive skills are cultivated and rewarded, so teams were not willing to invest a high pick on a player who already has plans in another league. Teleguine will have a decision to make regarding his future, though it’s more likely he stays the course in Chilliwack. He will also likely have the input of the NU coaching staff, and we expect Teleguine to enroll at Northeastern after one season for whichever team he chooses. Teleguine was recently named an ISL Keller Division All Star and named to multiple All-Academic and Scholastic teams.
— Waterloo Black Hawks (@BlckHawksHockey) May 5, 2020
Much like Teleguine, the two players who were not selected, McInnis and Messuri, also appear to have their plans for next season locked in. McInnis played last season for the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, while Messuri is committed to the Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League. Both are expected to play next season in juniors before enrolling at Northeastern.
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As always, go Huskies!