By Allan Muir
The 2013 NHL Entry Draft is still five months away, but the stage already is being set for a bumper crop of American talent in 2014.
USA Hockey announced today that the All-American Prospects Game would be held at Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center on Sept. 26.
The game will showcase 40 of the top American-born players who are eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, drawn from the U.S. National Team Development Program, the CHL, USHL, NCAA and U.S. high schools.
The inaugural edition of the event was held last September in Buffalo and featured players such as Seth Jones and Ryan Hartman, both members of the 2013 World Junior Champions and certain first-round picks this June.
"The All-American Prospect Game is the celebration of the American player," USA Hockey assistant executive director Jim Johansson told reporters at a press conference announcing the event. "What we will bring to Pittsburgh are our best players. I think for players aspiring to get to the NHL...this gives them hope that one day they could play in a building like this." Rosters for the game will be announced in August by USA Hockey, with input from Central Scouting. Some of the names to watch for in a buzzy American class include forwards Blake Clarke (Brampton Battalion), Sonny Milano (USA NTDP), Nick Schmaltz (Green Bay Gamblers) and Keegan Iverson (Portland Winterhawks), defenders Anthony Deangelo (Sarnia Sting), Jack Glover (USA NTDP) and Ryan MacInnis (USA NTDP), and highly touted netminder Thatcher Demko (USA NTDP).