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NCDC second among North American junior leagues with 12 players on NHL Central Scouting ‘Players To Watch’ list


The United States Premier Hockey League is excited to announce that 12 players who have skated in the Tier II National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC) have been listed as “Players To Watch” by NHL Central Scouting in their most recent list, issued January 22.

The NCDC is second in North American junior hockey only to the Tier I United States Hockey League in players listed on the Watch List, and is ahead of all other Tier II junior leagues in the United States and Canada.

The Jan. 22 list includes four new players who were not on the October “Players To Watch” list, and all of them skated in the NCDC NHL Prospects Game on Monday, Jan. 18. These players are Colin Graf (Boston Junior Bruins), Sean Melso (Jersey Hitmen) and Kaleb Nelson and Johnny Ulicny (Islanders Hockey Club).

All of the players listed below, except for the injured Nelson and Billy Norcross, played in the NCDC NHL Prospects Game, personally scouted by NHL Central Scouting’s Dave Gregory. Players have been drawn to the NCDC due to the USPHL’s forward and proactive thinking that has seen the league actively playing since September, including its Hub City Tampa initiative that has kept the season going within a controlled community concept focused around health and safety.

All of the players listed below were issued “C” rankings, which predict draft selections between the fourth and seventh round. The 2021 NHL Draft will be held July 23-24, at a location to be determined.

Oliver Flynn, LW, Boston Junior Bruins

Listed by Central Scouting as playing with Loomis-Chaffee School, Flynn has been with the Junior Bruins since November as Loomis-Chaffee canceled its 2020-21 season, and just after he was listed in October. He has posted a 1-9-10 line in 18 games, and he is committed to the University of Connecticut.

Colin Graf, C, Boston Junior Bruins

Newly listed, Graf has been with the Junior Bruins for essentially his entire career going back to youth hockey. He has skated in 171 USPHL Midget and NCDC games in his career since 2016, and he has 14 goals, 20 assists and 34 points in 28 games in this, his second NCDC season. Graf is committed to Union College. Graf scored two goals and one assist in the NCDC NHL Prospects Game.

Shane LaChance, LW, Boston Junior Bruins

Another November addition for the Junior Bruins, LaChance returned to the Players To Watch List. The Boston University commit (and grandson of BU coaching legend Jack Parker) has posted a 6-5-11 line in 21 games. LaChance scored a goal in the NHL Prospects Game.

Sam Lipkin, C, Rockets Hockey Club

Lipkin – listed with Chicago (USHL) – joined the Rockets as they began their run at Hub City Tampa, scoring a 2-1-3 line in his first NCDC game on Jan. 7. The Quinnipiac University recruit has four goals and nine assists for 13 points in 10 games.

Sean Melso, D, Jersey Hitmen

Melso was an immediate hit for the Hitmen, and has been a regular two-way contributor, scoring 3-14-17 in 27 games this year, as well as a goal in the NCDC NHL Prospects Game. He is a +11 for the season.

Logan Morrell, RW, Islanders Hockey Club

Morrell, another Quinnipiac commit, joined the Islanders at the start of the game and has played in eight games this season, registering seven assists through that time.

Kaleb Nelson, RW, Islanders Hockey Club

Nelson, a Providence College commit, played six games for the Islanders during the month of November and just into December, registering one goal and one assist.

Billy Norcross, C, Islanders Hockey Club

Norcross played 19 games for the Islanders before suffering an injury in the Hub. In 19 contests, he posted two goals and six assists for eight points as he prepares for his future with Boston College.

Evan Orloff, D, Rockets Hockey Club

Another homegrown product for his team, Orloff played a full season last year in the highly-ranked Rockets 16U program, before joining the NCDC program. The uncommitted blueliner is a +14 with two assists in 27 games this year.

Jack Pascucci, D, Boston Junior Bruins

Joining in mid-November, Pascucci became an immediate boon to the Junior Bruins D corps, helping them remain steady in their hunt for first place in the North Division. He posted a 1-9-10 line through 18 games. He is a UConn commit.

Johan Rosenquist, C, Islanders Hockey Club

The fourth-year Islander and second-year NCDC veteran continues to impress NHL scouts, as he remained on the list from October. The uncommitted center has posted a 6-11-17 line in 29 contests. He has climbed the USPHL Development Model from 16U to Premier to NCDC.

Johnny Ulicny, LW, Islanders Hockey Club

A new addition to the Players To Watch list, Ulicny earned his spot in the NCDC NHL Prospects Game with a powerful two-way game that has seen him score nine points in 19 games with the Islanders. Like Rosenquist, he will make a yet to be determined NCAA program very happy.

Ryan Remick, LW, Rockets Hockey Club 18U

Remick has been on the 18U Rockets roster this season, and is a recruit of the University of Maine.

League Alumni

Jacob Guevin (Northwood School)

Guevin currently plays for Muskegon of the USHL. He had a 5-11-16 line through 12 games with the Northwood School last season, along with one goal in three USPHL 18U playoff games. Guevin is committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Gleb Veremyev (Rockets Hockey Club)

The former Rocket, who racked up the points in the USPHL 15U and 16U levels (76 points in 46 contests), currently plays for Lincoln in the USHL. He is committed to Penn State University.

Nate Benoit (Northern Cyclones)

Benoit played two seasons of USPHL Midget Hockey (15U and 16U) for the Northern Cyclones. He racked up more than 50 regular season and playoff points for these teams, and also saw a three-game NCDC call-up in 2018-19. He currently plays for Mount St. Charles Academy.

Ruben Rafkin (South Kent Selects Academy)

Rafkin helped Selects Academy win both the 2017 and 2018 USPHL 16U championships. He currently plays for TPS in the Liiga in Europe, the top pro league for Finland. He earned a bronze medal for Finland at the recent World Junior Championships.

Cam MacDonald (Connecticut Jr. Rangers)

The former Rangers Futures Draft pick scored a goal in his first game in the NCDC in 2018-19. This season, he is with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL.

Association Alumni

Matty Beniers (South Shore Kings/Boston Junior Bruins)

Rated as an “A” player for the first round, Beniers played his youth hockey for both the Kings and Junior Bruins. He is currently with the University of Michigan and helped Team USA win the recent World Junior Championship.

Tim Lovell (Boston Advantage)

The Boston College recruit played his Midget hockey for the Boston Advantage.

Cooper Flinton (Northern Cyclones)

Flinton, who is at St. Paul’s School, has played split-season Midget hockey for the Northern Cyclones’ Prep team for the last three seasons.

Peter Reynolds (Islanders Hockey Club)

Reynolds played youth hockey for the Islanders Hockey Club.

— Joshua Boyd/

(Jan. 26, 2021)

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