United States Hockey League (USHL)

2024 NHL Draft: USHL Well Represented On Central Scouting Watch List

2024 NHL Draft: USHL Well Represented On Central Scouting Watch List

USHL alumni Macklin Celebrini and Artyom Levshunov, as well as current USHLers Sacha Boisvert, Trevor Connelly and Cole Eiserman among those with A grades.

Oct 26, 2023 by Ryan Sikes

The NHL Central Scouting bureau's preliminary players to watch list was released on Wednesday. The list provides an early snapshot of 2024 draft-eligible prospects in a tiered inventory of grades from all major development leagues.

As the season progresses, a set of mid-term rankings will be released shortly after the 2024 World Juniors in January, with the final rankings out in April prior to the NHL Draft.

Last year, the USHL saw 51 players with USHL ties get drafted by NHL franchises. It marked the sixth consecutive year in which 50-plus players with league ties were selected. 

At first glance, the initial installment on NHL Central Scouting’s list includes 65 current USHL players, including 19 players from the National Team Development Program, sorted into ranking groups.

Those numbers do not include collegiate players who are draft-eligible with USHL ties. For example, Macklin Celebrini is considered the top prospect for the 2024 NHL Draft by most media outlets. He is currently a freshman at Boston University but played one season for the Chicago Steel.

Players have been identified using the following criteria:

A Rating - 1st round candidate

B Rating - 2nd/3rd round candidate

C Rating - 4th/5th round candidate

W Rating - 6th/7th round candidate

A Rating Players

Sacha Boisvert, F, Muskegon Lumberjacks

Boisvert is on pace to finish as a point-per-game player in his second USHL season. The Muskegon forward currently has six goals and nine points in nine games this year. At 6-foot-2, 178 pounds, he has good size and quick hands and does a lot of his damage around the net.

Zeev Buium, D, University of Denver (USA NTDP)

Buium finished up his two-year residency at the NTDP and is currently a freshman for the No. 2-ranked Denver Pioneers. Joining his older brother, Shai Buium, Zeev has been a fixture on David Carle’s second pairing. Buium has four points (one goal, three assists) through the first four games.

Macklin Celebrini, F, Boston University (Chicago Steel)

Celebrini has put any concerns about his offseason shoulder surgery to bed with a quick start for the Terriers. The 17-year-old already has the third-most goals (5) in the country, which includes two multi-goal efforts in four games thus far.

Trevor Connelly, F, Tri-City Storm

Connelly has built off his impressive second half of last season and his 14 points are third-most in the USHL after ten games. The Providence commit has picked up most of his points using his creativity and shiftiness to set up his teammates. He’s a proven goal-scorer in this league, so I would expect his numbers to start jumping here soon.

Cole Eiserman, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Eiserman could ultimately challenge Celebrini for the No. 1 overall pick. The Boston University commit has an NHL-ready shot, one that’s already produced 18 goals in 11 games. Eiserman already has four games of scoring three or more goals, including one four-goal outing.

Artyom Levshunov, D, Michigan State (Green Bay Gamblers)

Levshunov made the jump to the NCAA perhaps a year earlier than expected after putting up 42 points in 62 games for Green Bay last year. He’s off to a fast start with the Spartans, recording three goals and six points in his first six games. Levshunov has good size at 6-foot-2 and 198 pounds. He’s mobile and creates plays all on his own.

B Rating Players

The NTDP is heavily represented in this tier, with seven players projected to be second or third-round picks in the 2024 NHL Draft. We only have a few weeks of season under us, so players like Cole Hutson, E.J. Emery, Will Skahan, and Kamil Bednarik could certainly work their way into first-round conversation.

Matvei Gridin is having a breakout season for Muskegon. The second-year forward leads the league in points (16) and has shown to be equally as dangerous shooting the puck as he has been distributing it. He’s a good skater with size, and the Russian forward could ultimately go in the first round if he continues to produce.

Chicago’s Michael Hage finds himself on the outside looking in after being a preseason first-round pick by most outlets. The Michigan commit leads the Steel in points (7), but he doesn’t have anywhere near the experience around him that he did in the second half of last season.

Will Zellers is currently playing for Shattuck-St. Mary’s, but his USHL rights are held by  Green Bay. The North Dakota commit excelled on the international stage, potting five goals and seven points at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup en route to helping Team USA win a bronze medal.

Full list of B-rated players in the USHL

Kamil Bednarik, C, NTDP U-18 Team

EJ Emery, D, NTDP U-18 Team

Kristian Epperson, LW, NTPD U-18 Team

Matvei Gridin, RW, Muskegon

Michael Hage, C, Chicago

Christian Humphreys, C, NTDP U-18 Team

Cole Hutson, D, NTDP U-18 Team

Max Plante, LW, NTDP U-18 Team

Will Skahan, D, NTDP U-18 Team

William Zellers, LW, Shattuck-St. Mary's (Green Bay)

C Rating

Tanner Adams, F, Providence College (Tri-City)

Austin Baker, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Thatcher Bernstein, G, Dubuque

Hagen Burrows, F, Sioux City

Eero Butella, F, Waterloo

Louka Clouthier, G, Chicago

Matthew Frost, F, Waterloo

Luke Goukler, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Elliott Groenewold, D, Cedar Rapids

Caleb Heil, G, Sioux Falls

Tanner Henricks, D, Lincoln

Owen Keefe, D, Muskegon

Adam Kleber, D, Lincoln

Sam Laurila, D, NTDP U-18 Team

Finn McLaughlin, D, Youngstown

Brendan McMorrow, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Eric Olsson, G, Omaha

Luke Osburn, D, Youngstown

Aidan Park, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Green Bay)

John Parson, G, NTDP U-18 Team

Landon Resendes, F, Cedar Rapids

Lucas Van Vliet, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Xavier Veilleux, D, Muskegon

Brodie Ziemer, F, NTDP U-18 Team

W Rating

Hunter Anderson, F, Muskegon

Alex Bales, D, Tri-City

Egor Barbabanov, F, Sioux Falls

Bauer Berry, D, Muskegon

Philippe Blais-Savoie, D, Tri-City

Austin Burnevik, F, Madison

Anthony Cardilli, F, Chicago

Joe Connor, F, Muskegon

Andrew Dellasalla, F, Omaha

Will Felicio, D, Madison

Jake Fisher, F, Fargo

Jack Galanek, F, Muskegon

Price Grimes, D, Chicago

Michael Hagens, D, Chicago

Easton Jacobs, F, Sioux City

Nick Kempf, G, NTCP U-18 Team

Cameron Korpi, G, Tri-City

Noah Lapointe, D, NTDP U-18 Team

Keith McInnis, D, Waterloo

John Mustard, F, Waterloo

Charlie Pardue, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Tory Pitner, D, Youngstown

Ben Poitras, F, Green Bay

James Reeder, F, Dubuque

Nolan Roed, F, Tri-City

Eli Sebastian, F, Northeastern (Green Bay)

Teddy Stiga, F, NTDP U-18 Team

Mac Swanson, F, Fargo

Niko Tournas, F, Cedar Rapids

Samuel Urban, G, Sioux City

Kuzma Voronin, F, Youngstown

John Whipple, D, NTDP U-18 Team

Mikhail Yegorov, G, Omaha