Sioux Falls, SD
The USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is set for Tuesday night at the PREMIER Center. The event will showcase the top 40 NHL draft eligible USHL players, attracting over 100 NHL scouts.
After a day of on-ice testing, the USHL's top prospects will now turn their attention to Tuesday's skills competition and game, and impressing a long line of NHL scouts.
"It's a different type of event, to have three days together and to have a little bit of pressure on you, but good pressure, and to see how these guys come together and find a way to play tomorrow night, I think it will be something that will be really exciting," Team East head coach Dan Muse said.
"It's a great opportunity for our best players in the league to get into one room, have conversations, build friendships, and play in this game tomorrow night," Team West head coach Jay Varady said.
NHL Central Scouting uses an ABC grading system. Each letter correlates with a round or rounds of the NHL draft, and nearly every player in Tuesday's game is currently ranked, and each brings something different to the ice.
"Strong, gritty two-way game. I think there's a lot of speed in this game and a lot of playmaking ability. I think it's going to be really good hockey, even though it's not necessarily a team in the sense that they've have practices and chemistry. I think with what you have in terms of talent level on the ice it's going to be really exciting hockey," Muse said.
"They're going to want to show what they do best. They might be a checker and want to show their physicality. They might be a goal scorer and want to get on the score sheet. They might be a defenseman that's about moving the puck and joining the play. For each individual player, it's going to be something different, but there's no question opportunity is going to be in the building tomorrow," USHL Director of Player Development and Recruitment Doug Christiansen said.
Among the 40 players is Sioux Falls native, and Chicago Steel standout, Walker Duehr.
"This is something that he's had to work hard for. He's had to make some sacrifices in his life in terms of going to different places to play the game to be able to come back here and play in a game like this. I'm really excited to see him in action tomorrow night. He's a guy I've really enjoyed working with this year, and I'm thrilled he's getting this opportunity. It's well deserved for him," Muse said.
"It's awesome. It's really special to be noticed and be able to play in this game with such great players around the league, but also being able to do it in front of your home town and family and friends is something really special," Sioux Falls native Walker Duehr said.
The skills competition begins Tuesday night at 6:45, with the Top Prospects Game to follow.
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