As hockey continues to grow, the number of talented players coming out of New York and New Jersey has risen. While players from the area have been making names for themselves in the NHL for a while, the youth movement has seen a boom.
Programs such as the North Jersey Avalanche, Long Island Gulls, Buffalo Junior Sabres, PAL Islanders and Mid-Fairfield Rangers have allowed young players from this area to prosper into budding NHL superstars.
"There’s been a lot of growth in the game in this area due to a lot of the youth programs that have popped up. There’s more opportunity for players to play outside of high school and be exposed to higher levels of coaching and competition," said an Eastern Conference NHL amateur scout, who has scouted the region for many years.
There is quite a bit of talent from the region for scouts to keep an eye on as the 2019 NHL draft season gets under way. Eight players from New York and New Jersey will compete at the 2018 USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game later this month in St. Paul, Minn. The annual game features the top first-year, draft-eligible talent from across the nation. This year’s exhibition will take place at the XCel Energy Center, home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
Five of the eight New York and New Jersey natives come from USA Hockey’s NTDP while the other three play in the USHL or prep school hockey in New England. Just earning a roster spot at this game as one of the 40 best American-born prospects doesn’t guarantee future NHL stardom, or even a selection at the 2019 NHL draft. However, the eight players have been singled out by NHL Central Scouting as having the physical tools and hockey attributes necessary to warrant consideration.