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2007 NHL Draft Fueled 2014 Olympic Team

06/26/2014, 1:15pm MDT
By Mark Burns, USA Hockey Magazine

It has been seven years since one of the most memorable NHL Drafts for American-born players took place in Columbus, Ohio.  Ten Americans were chosen in the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, a record at that time.

Of the Americans picked early, five played in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia:

1.     Patrick Kane (1st overall, Chicago Blackhawks)

2.     James van Riemsdyk (2nd, Philadelphia Flyers)

3.     Ryan McDonagh (12th, Montreal Canadiens)

4.     Kevin Shattenkirk (14th, Colorado Avalanche)

5.     Max Pacioretty (22nd, Montreal Canadiens)

Since the 2007 NHL Draft, there has been only one draft (2010) that has seen more Americans selected in the opening round (11).

Patrick Kane


Kane

The Chicago Blackhawks drafting Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y.) with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 marked the first time that American-born players were drafted in consecutive years at No. 1. In 2006, the St. Louis Blues picked Erik Johnson with the top selection. During his career, Kane has won two Stanley Cups (2010, 2013) along with a Conn Smythe Trophy for the most valuable player during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoff. A product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, Kane helped the U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team earn a silver medal at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. At the 2014 Olympics, Kane tallied four assists in six games.

James van Riemsdyk


van Riemsdyk

The Philadelphia Flyers drafted James van Riemsdyk (Middleton, N.J.) with the second overall selection. It was the first time ever that two Americans were selected 1-2 at the NHL Draft. Van Riemsdyk played two years at the University of New Hampshire before heading to the Flyers’ affiliate in the AHL.  Since 2007, van Riemsdyk has moved on from Philadelphia to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He recently concluded his best professional season yet, eclipsing the 60-point plateau with 30 goals and 31 assists. At the 2014 Olympics, van Riemsdyk paced Team USA in scoring with a goal and six assists.

Ryan McDonagh


McDonagh

Midway through the first round, Ryan McDonagh (Saint Paul, Minn.) went to Montreal at No. 12. Two years later, the Canadiens traded McDonagh’s rights to the New York Rangers. After winning the 2007 Minnesota Mr. Hockey award at Cretin Derham Hall, McDonagh played three seasons with the University of Wisconsin. He has been a mainstay on the Rangers’ blue line the past three years, with 2013-14 being his breakout campaign as he tallied 14 goals and 29 assists during 77 games. It is no surprise then that McDonagh grabbed Rangers MVP honors at the conclusion of the regular season. At the 2014 Olympics, he contributed a goal and an assist and had a +1 rating.

Kevin Shattenkirk


Shattenkirk

Two spots later, the Colorado Avalanche selected Kevin Shattenkirk (Greenwich, Conn.) with the No. 14 overall pick. From 2005-07, Shattenkirk played in 101 games with the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based U.S. National Team Development Program. He then spent three years at Boston University, helping the Terriers win the 2009 NCAA Frozen Four championship. Like McDonagh, Shattenkirk has become a steady top-four NHL defenseman with the St. Louis Blues. This past season he notched 10 goals and 35 assists in 81 regular season contests. Shattenkirk notched three assists during the 2014 Olympics and earned a +3 rating.

Max Pacioretty


Pacioretty

Finally, the Montreal Canadiens selected Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn.) at No. 22 in 2007. After one-years stints with the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) and the University of Michigan, Pacioretty transitioned to the American Hockey League and the Hamilton Bulldogs. He has consistently played in the Montreal lineup the last three seasons. In 2013-14, Pacioretty scored a career-best 39 goals and dished out 21 assists. He signed a six-year extension with Montreal in 2012, which will keep him with the Canadiens through the 2018-19 year. Over five games during the 2014 Olympics Pacioretty tallied one assist.

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Aug. 25, 2016 | Body-checking is a skill, not unlike skating, shooting and stickhandling, and it’s a critical skill to teach. Rhode Island Hockey recently gave it special emphasis with a free on-ice checking clinic open to all players in the 12U, 14U and 16U age classifications. Hosted at Schneider Arena with help from Providence College men’s hockey head coach Nate Leaman and Roger Grillo from USA Hockey, the two-hour clinic welcomed more than 100 players for station-based instruction in the fine art of giving and receiving a body check properly.

“Body contact is sometimes an under-taught skill, but there’s so much value in teaching it, both in terms of helping young players become more successful and also in terms of injury prevention,” said Grillo. “It was great to team up with the Rhode Island coaches and offer a learning opportunity that’ll pay dividends for these kids throughout their hockey careers.”

The event was so successful that Rhode Island Hockey will host a second session Sept. 8 at Boss Ice Arena on the University of Rhode Island campus in Kingston. Led by Kevin Sullivan, Rhode Island Hockey’s American Development Model director, the clinic will likely become an annual offering to enhance players’ skill and contact confidence, especially for 13-year-olds progressing into their first season of 14U hockey.

“The initial idea came from a parent asking if we offer any checking-specific training for players transitioning from 12U to 14U,” said Bob Larence, president of Rhode Island Hockey.

There’s a component of body-contact training that happens at every level, from cross-ice 8U to small-area battle drills for older players, but the idea of a body checking-specific teaching event for tweens and teens seemed a beneficial complement to that team-level training, so Rhody ran with it.

“We all thought it was a great idea, and ultimately, it became a great collaboration with Rhode Island Hockey, USA Hockey and the local colleges – Providence, URI and Brown,” said Larence.

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