Black Hawks Fly High in NHL Eyes
Five players who have appeared for the Waterloo Black Hawks during the 2016/17 United States Hockey League season were slotted into the National Hockey League Central Scouting final rankings, announced today ahead of the NHL Draft in June.
Forward Shane Bowers remained atop the list of Black Hawks, while veteran Nick Swaney made the biggest climb from January’s midterm rankings. Defensemen Mikey Anderson, Dylan Samberg, and Hunter Lellig also each staked their places on the list.
Bowers claimed the 16th position among North American prospects after ending the season tied with Swaney as the Black Hawks’ top scorer at 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists). He produced five game-winning goals, as well as four on the power play. The Boston University recruit was the only Waterloo player to appear in all 60 regular season games. Bowers appeared during January’s USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Sioux Falls and also represented Canada during August’s Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Meanwhile, Swaney sprang from the 182nd midterm slot to 138th three months later. During his last season of draft eligibility, the future Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog recorded his second consecutive 50-point campaign. His point total – including 26 goals – was accumulated in just 47 appearances, giving him the highest points-per-game average on the team. Swaney was named to the World Junior A Challenge All-Star team in December.
Anderson, a fellow UMD recruit, climbed from the 56th position to 51st. His +29 plus/minus differential tied for second-highest in the USHL. With 34 points (five goals, 29 assists), Anderson ranked fifth in scoring among league defensemen. He appeared in both the Top Prospects Game and the Hlinka Tournament, as well as helping the United States to a gold medal during the World Junior A Challenge.
Before coming to Waterloo near the end of the regular season, Samberg won a Minnesota Class A State Championship at Hermantown High School. NHL Central Scouting ranked him 67th and has had the opportunity to watch him play six additional games in the USHL for Waterloo. Samberg scored his first junior hockey goal on April 1st against the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.
Waterloo native Hunter Lellig has spent much of the season with the Minnesota Magicians of the North American Hockey League. However, in seven appearances on defense for Waterloo, Lellig has a goal and two assists. He is 188th in the rankings.
The Hawks finished the season with a record of 40-16-4, in second place in the USHL Western Conference. Waterloo’s playoff schedule opens on Friday at Young Arena at the outset of a best-of-five series against the Fargo Force at 7:05 p.m. Individual tickets are now on sale from the Domino’s Black Hawks Box Office by calling (319) 291-7680.