The 2020 NHL Draft begins tonight virtually at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. Rounds 2-7 will begin at 11:30am ET on Wednesday, Oct. 7, with exclusive coverage on NHL Network and will streamed live by NHL.com and SiriusXM NHL Network Radio. The 58th NHL Draft will feature players born between January 1, 2000 and September 15, 2002.
Among those Americans hoping to hear their names called are players whose development roots trace back to USA Hockey National Championships, USA Hockey Player Development Camps, USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program and USA Hockey-sanctioned junior hockey leagues. In addition, several players have already represented the United States on national and select teams in international competition.
Of the 117 American players listed on NHL Central Scouting’s latest NHL Draft prospect ranking, 105 previously skated in USA Hockey Player Development Camps. Junior league athletes, a total 101 total prospects, played in USA Hockey-sanctioned junior Tier I USHL, Tier II NAHL, or Tier III NA3HL and EHL leagues. Many of these athletes will continue their hockey careers with NCAA Division I programs, with 98 of the 117 American prospects currently playing or committed to play college hockey.
In January, USA Hockey hosted the BioSteel All-American Game featuring two teams made up of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. Top-ranked American athletes Jake Sanderson (Whitefish, Mon.), Brendan Brisson (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) and Ty Smilanic (Denver, Colo.) were all featured in the game, with Sanderson taking home MVP honors. In total, 37 of the 42 players that played were featured on the NHL Central Scouting list.
Sanderson, a defenseman with the U.S. National Team Development Program, can become the second Montana native to be selected in the NHL Draft joining Bill Lindsay (Big Fork, Mon.). The forward was selected by the Quebec Nordiques in the 5th round, 103rd overall at the 1991 NHL Draft. Lindsay went on to play for Team USA at the 1991 IIHF World Junior Championship, and 1994 IIHF Men’s World Championship.
While many international tournaments were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. National Junior Select Team did compete in the World Junior A Challenge last December, winning a bronze medal. Brisson led all Americans in scoring, with 12 points in six games, alongside 12 recently listed NHL Draft prospects.
USA Hockey recently announced the roster for the U.S. National Junior Team Evaluation Camp in preparation for the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, featuring the top American players that are 20-years old and under. Fifteen of the camp’s invites are eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, that begins Wed., Oct. 8 in Plymouth, Mich. at USA Hockey Arena.