The 42-man roster for the 2014 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game was announced Wednesday, headlined by potential top-five 2015 draft picks Jack Eichel and Noah Hanifin. The third annual event will be played Sept. 25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
Set to attend Boston University in the fall as a true freshman, Eichel is worth the price of admission alone. The all-around super-talent recently rang up a goal and seven assists in two international contests at the National Junior Evaluation Camp, and is expected to be selected among the top two when the 2015 draft takes place next June in Florida.
Hanifin, who was surprisingly left off the NJEC roster, recently accelerated his studies to attend Boston College this year as a 17-year old freshman. The rangy, all-situations defender will likely duke it out with Swedish sensation Oliver Kylington to be the first defenseman picked in the 2015 draft.
Other potential first-rounders include National Team Development Program products Jordan Greenway, Zach Werenski and Colin White, Kyle Connor (Youngstown – USHL) and Paul Bittner (Portland – WHL). Like Eichel, Greenway will attend Boston University in 2015. Like Hanifin, White is set to attend Boston College after one more season with NTDP. Werenski will play at the University of Michigan this season as a 17-year old freshman, while Connor is set to join him in Ann Arbor in 2015.
Defenseman Brandon Carlo (Tri City – WHL), who recently survived the initial wave of cuts at the NJEC, will participate. Other notables include Thomas Novak (Waterloo – USHL), a Michigan commit who recently paced the Americans with five goals and 11 points in five games at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, and defenseman Caleb Jones, the brother of current Nashville Predators defenseman, Seth.
Youngstown native Joseph Cecconi of the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks is the only Western New York product selected to play. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound defender has committed to play at the University of Michigan.
With sons of former Sabres being among draft hopefuls in recent years, it should be noted the 2014 AAPG will see Chase Pearson participate. Pearson’s father Scott played 41 games with the Sabres in the mid-1990’s.
The Sabres have used the game as a scouting ground in the past, with J.T. Compher, Hudson Fasching, Cal Petersen and Sean Malone all having played at the 2012 event held in Buffalo. Justin Bailey was also tabbed for action but missed the game due to an upper body injury.