CHICAGO – Six Americans were selected in the opening round of the 2017 NHL Draft here tonight at the United Center, home of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Forward Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn.) was the first U.S. player off the board when the Buffalo Sabres drafted him 8th overall. The Tampa Bay Lightning selected defenseman Callan Foote (Englewood, Colo.) with the 14th pick in the draft before forward Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich.) was drafted 19th overall by the San Jose Sharks. Forward Kailer Yamamoto (Spokane, Wash.) was picked by the Edmonton Oilers with the 22nd overall pick. A pair of Lakeville, Minnesota, natives, forward Ryan Poehling and goaltender Jake Oettinger, were taken back-to-back with the 25th and 26th picks by the Montreal Canadiens and Dallas Stars, respectively.
Five of those selections have represented Team USA in International Ice Hockey Federation world-championship play, combining for four gold medals and seven medals overall. Oettinger was a member of the gold medal-winning 2017 U.S. National Junior Team at the IIHF World Junior Championship last January and the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship. Norris and Poehling helped guide the U.S. Men's National Under-18 Team to gold at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship in April. Mittelstadt, Oettinger and Yamamoto also earned bronze medals with Team USA at the 2016 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship.
Oettinger (2014-16) and Norris (2015-17) were full-time members of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program, while Mittelstadt (2015-16) and Yamamoto (2014-16) each played multiple games for the NTDP.
Mittelstadt, Norris, Oettinger, Poehling and Yamamoto all played in last September’s All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia. Mittelstadt took home Player of the Game honors in that contest after netting a pair of goals.
Foote, Mittelstadt, Norris, Oettinger and Poehling also have ties to the United States Hockey League, with Mittelstadt and Norris playing in USHL contests in 2016-17.
Poehling (St. Cloud State University) and Oettinger (Boston University) each played college hockey this past season, while Norris (University of Michigan) and Mittelstadt (University of Minnesota) are each committed to play college hockey beginning in 2017-18.
Mittelstadt, Norris, Oettinger, Poehling and Yamamoto will all be vying for a spot on the 2018 U.S. National Junior Team as invitees to the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase this August at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The U.S. hosts the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship from Dec. 26, 2017 - Jan. 5, 2018, in Buffalo, New York.
Rounds 2-7 of the NHL Draft take place tomorrow (June 24), beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The draft will be televised live in the U.S. on NHL Network.
For USA Hockey’s continuing coverage of the 2017 NHL Draft, visit USAHockey.com/2017NHLDraft.