Earlier this week, the United States Hockey League held Phase 1 and Phase 2 of its annual draft, as its teams look to gather talent in their quest for the Clark Cup. This year Phase 1 (Also known as the Futures Draft) included players born in the year 2003 who will look to be added to their drafted team’s roster in a year or two. Phase 2 enables USHL teams to draft talent older than 2003 birth years to their rosters to play as soon as next season.
This year, the Huskies had three players eligible to be drafted between the two phases. The lone Phase 1-eligible recruit was Michael Bevilacqua, a left-shot defenseman from upstate New York. The two other 2003-born recruits in the pipeline, forwards Jack Hughes and Ryan St. Louis, were not eligible to be drafted as they have been selected to be in the US National Team Development Program.
The two recruits eligible for Phase 2 of the USHL Draft were Justin Hryckowian, an ’01 left-shot forward from Quebec who played last season for the Salisbury School in Connecticut, and Matt Choupani, an ’02 right-shot forward also from Quebec who played last season for the Lac St.-Louis Lions program in Quebec’s QMAAA midget league.
Michael Bevilacqua was selected in the 5th round of the USHL Draft at 69th overall by the Des Moines Buccaneers.
Des Moines was the juniors team of incoming freshman forward TJ Walsh, where he blossomed as an offensive star after a trade from Cedar Rapids. Des Moines also produced former Northeastern goaltender Ryan Ruck, and they own the rights to 2021 forward recruit Stanley Cooley
The Huskies didn’t have to wait long to see where their recruits would play in the USHL, as Hryckowian was selected in Phase 2’s first round, 9th overall, by Cedar Rapids, a program the Huskies have a vast familiarity with. Mark Carlson’s program has produced some of the biggest contributors to the Huskies in the last five-plus seasons, and his players always seem to transition to college hockey quickly. Jim Madigan and his staff have to be thrilled that Hryckowian, an undersized forward (5’7″ per EliteProspects) with a scoring touch (17-28-45 in 26 prep games), will be able to learn from Carlson before enrolling likely in 2020.
Matt Choupani waited a little longer to hear his name selected, as Des Moines once again dipped into the Huskies’ pipeline to select the offensive dynamo from Montreal. Choupani was selected 23rd overall at the end of the second round. Last season for Lac St.-Louis, Choupani poured on 83 points (43 goals) in just 42 games. Also undersized, standing at 5-foot-8 per his EliteProspects page, playing in the USHL with older, stronger competition will be beneficial to him as he learns to style and grow his offensive talents towards the NCAA level.
With these three players plus Hughes and St. Louis in the USNTDP, Huskies fans can rest assured that their recruits are in excellent developmental hands for their formative years ahead of wearing the black and red. As time passes we will monitor to see if the players make the final rosters for the 2019-2020 USHL season, and will follow their progress as they work towards arriving at Northeastern. Going into next season, every eligible recruit in the Huskies’ pipeline is either on a USHL team or has a USHL team owning their rights.
Continue following us here and on Twitter @NUHockeyBlog for all the latest Huskies information. The annual Friends of NU Hockey meeting will be June 11th, and we will both be in attendance and have a recap of it in the days after.
As always, Go Huskies!