This Saturday night at 7PM fans can watch the inaugural All American Prospects Game which is being hosted on the Buffalo Sabres home ice on Fast Hockey’s website. For those in attendance they will be in for a treat. 100 scouts and nearly 50 credentialed media will get to watch two rosters full of NHL draft eligible players (40 in all) including Seth Jones who I think will be the second overall pick this coming June.
Phil Housley is coaching one team and Rob McClanahan is coaching the other. Both men have their names indelibly etched into hockey history.
There are 7 players who CSS have indicated are first round picks but I’m sensing there could be more. Ryan Hartman is a name who is being mentioned by his future coach, NHL Hall of Famer and 21-year veteran, Phil Housley.
“I’m very jealous Rob has Jones. He’s very talented, big, strong, can play in all situations and can make that first pass out of the zone,” said the former defenseman. “Ryan Hartman is one to watch as well. They were the only two players at the Lake Placid camp.”
After 3 years of internal conversations this game is now a reality. It intends to highlight the great USA players in the game plus it shows off the United States as well.
Both Housley and McClanahan played for the Sabres, among other teams, so they are happy to go back to the Empire State.
“I’m looking forward it especially it being in Buffalo. Scotty Bowman picked me 6th overall in 1982 (Scott Stevens was the 5th overall pick for the Caps). I have a lot of ties there. I look forward to getting back to Buffalo. It’s a great sports town. This will really showcase a lot of top prospects that will be draft eligible in 2013,” Housley said.
“I’m honored to be involved in this game. Being the jr. National coach, Phil probably outpicked me so I will have to make sure my players play ‘extra hard’. Hopefully Phil will take it easy on the team (said tongue in cheek),” McClanahan added.
There may be a wager placed on this game. Housley was hoping it was for some hot wings.
This game gives scouts a great early look at these players and it will go a long way into deciding if they end up on their draft lists in June.
“When I played you went to juniors or college. This kind of game didn’t exist in any way, shape or form,” said Housley. “If you look at the percentage of players playing in the NHL after the 1980 Miracle On Ice Team it really opened the door for players like myself and the percentages keep increasing.”
“It’s one step in the entire process. It’s one important day but not the end all. You move the puck you get it back. The puck always moves faster than you skate,” McClanahan said. “I was fortunate to make the national team and that was sort of my prospects game. That’s what this game is all about to go out and have fun.
“I don’t know a tremendous amount about my players other than they are very, very, talented. It’s a team game and one player can’t carry the game. The best coach I ever played for kept the game simple, the team game.”
Expect McClanahan to coach this game like Herb Brooks, and why not he played for him in college, the Olympics and in the pros with the Rangers.
“Scouts will be looking for who can make plays and be responsible away from the puck,” said Housley who was scouted many times over himself.
For more information check out http://www.allamericanprospectsgame.com
There will be two other games played that day with local teams.
photo courtesy of the Hockey Hall of Fame.
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