There haven’t been many opportunities for members of the 2021 NHL Draft Class to show up in a showcase situation this season. That’s why this year’s BioSteel All-American Game, scheduled for Wednesday, April 7 in Plymouth, Michigan, should not disappoint.
Naturally, the event will generate a lot of excitement, even if it is only a one-game showcase for those who are eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft. The game features players from the United States U-18 National Team Development Program (US-NTDP) against a packed roster of top United States-born players from the United States Hockey League (USHL).
All 22 players in the USHL roster are eligible for the July 23-24 draft, and 18 of the 21 participants in the National Team Development Program are also eligible. And, of the 40 players, 15 of them made it into the rankings for the 2021 CHockey NHL Winter Draft.
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Whether you’re a draft fan, a prospect fan, or the occasional hockey fan, before the puck drops at 8 p.m. ET (NHL Network in the US), here are a few guys to watch in the exhibit.
Five 2021 NHL Draft prospects to watch in the BioSteel All-American game
Jack Peart, D, USHL Team (Fargo Force)
FCHockey 2021 NHL Draft Rank: 98
Peart, engaged at St. Cloud State University, has shredded the Minnesota high school circuit this season. He has 11 goals and 35 points in just 18 games since returning to Grand Rapids High after a successful 18-game audition with the Fargo Force. Last Monday, Peart was named Mr. Hockey of Minnesota.
Keep an eye out for his puck-breaking ability on his own and his ability to play the power-play quarterback.
“Before leaving the USHL to join Grand Rapids High to end his high school career, Peart was tied for the USHL lead in assists and was the second-leading defenseman in the league,” noted the regional scout. FCHockey Dylan Krill.
“Peart will grab your attention in a number of ways, from his fast and agile skating, his long-range passing accuracy, or just watching him think and process the play, which makes plays effective rather than skillful play.”
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Chaz Lucius, C, United States Team (US-NTDP)
FCHockey 2021 NHL Draft Rank: 15
It was a difficult year for Lucius to get on the right track, missing much of the season with a lower body injury; however, it bounced back in a big way. Hired at the University of Minnesota, he recorded 18 points (13 goals, five assists) in just 12 games after returning from injury and solidified his first-round pick status in the process.
Lucius is extremely confident with the puck on his stick and takes a first shot approach when navigating the offensive zone.
“Lucius has become one of the best forwards in the NTDP class this year, possibly the best forward, so the spotlight will be very bright on him in this game,” said Derek Neumeier, FCHockey’s video scouting manager. “He’s dangerous in the offensive zone when he has the puck on his stick, although there are some issues with his skating and his ability to create space for himself, which makes him a little difficult to project. After missing the start of the year due to injury this event will be a great opportunity to show off and make a splash. “
Matthew Knies, LW, USHL Team (Tri-City Storm)
FCHockey 2021 NHL Draft Rank: 48
Knies enters the All-American Prospects Game as one of the top players in USHL. He has amassed 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his last four games and currently has 22 assists and 32 points in 37 games with the Tri-City Storm this season.
The University of Minnesota’s commitment is remarkable at 6-3, 203 pounds, but is better known as an offensive facilitator than a massive, bruised forward.
“At the start of the year, Knies had high expectations after a points-per-game season in 2019-20,” said Krill. “Although his offense wasn’t great, he still played a solid two-way game, applying great pressure and intensity every shift. Knies have some of the best hands in the draft so keep an eye out for it. some of the games he has the. his ability to do. Both his vision and his shooting are very effective, and he is now consistently rewarded with points. “
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Cole Sillinger, C, USHL Team (Sioux Falls Stampede)
FCHockey 2021 NHL Draft Rank: 19
Sillinger, who joined the Stampede after a stellar season with the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) last season, has shredded USHL competition this season. He has 22 goals and 42 points in just 29 games and is fifth overall in the league with a score of 1.45 points per game.
The double citizen is one of the best pure goal scorers in the draft.
“Sillinger has feasted on the USHL this season as a double threat forward who is just as lethal to shoot the puck and distribute it,” said Neumeier. “However, like Lucius, there are some issues with his skating and his ability to break up. Defending in the USHL is inconsistent at best, so I’m very curious to see what Sillinger can do against the competition offered in this game. ” “
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Sasha Pastujov, LW, Team USA (US-NTDP)
FCHockey 2021 NHL Draft Rank: 50
Pastujov has been an offensive force for the national team development program this season, amassing 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) against the USHL competition this season. Pastujov, who left for the University of Notre-Dame in the fall, leads the NTDP in scoring with 52 points (23 goals, 29 assists) in 34 games played in total.
It will be his offensive prowess that will be showcased in the All-American Prospects Game. Pastujov stands out when he has the puck on his stick, both because of his vision and his ability to navigate the attacking zone to create opportunities.
“You can expect a very eventful night for Pastujov, as he will want to showcase his extremely dangerous skills,” Krill said. “Pastujov is one of the best offensive players in the NTDP and has the ability to get you out of your seat with his highly skilled hands, vision and shot. While his game with pace and skating is a concern, he has so much potential and will definitely be one of the main players to watch in this game and get closer to the draft. “
Aaron Vickers the editor of FCHockey.