Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program saw 13 players selected in the 2023 NHL Draft over the past two days in Montreal. Additionally, 10 players with ties to the NTDP were selected by NHL clubs.
The NTDP had four forwards hear their names called during the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft on Wednesday evening that started with Will Smith (Lexington, Mass.) at number four overall to the San Jose Sharks. The selection marked the sixth consecutive year that the NTDP produced a top-5 selection.
Following Smith were Ryan Leonard (Amherst, Mass.) to the Washington Capitals at eighth overall, Oliver Moore (Mounds View, Minn.) at number 19 to the Chicago Blackhawks and Gabe Perreault (Hinsdale, Ill.) rounded out the Day 1 selections at 23rd overall to the New York Rangers.
Three more NTDPers were picked in the second round on Thursday afternoon, including two to the Detroit Red Wings. Goaltender Trey Augustine (South Lyon, Mich.) and defenseman Brady Cleveland (Wausau, Wis.) were tabbed by the Wings with the 41st and 47th picks, respectively. Forward Danny Nelson (Maple Grove, Minn.) went off the board next to the New York Islanders with the 49th overall selection.
Blueliner Drew Fortescue (Pearl River, N.Y.) was the lone selection from the NTDP in Round 3, becoming the second player selected by the Rangers with the 90th overall pick.
Forward Beckett Hendrickson (Minnetonka, Minn.) and defenseman Aram Minnetian (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) went off the board with back-to-back selections in Round 4. Hendrickson was picked by the Boston Bruins while Minnetian was nabbed by the Dallas Stars.
Paul Fischer (River Forest, Ill.) made it back-to-back years that an NTDP player was chosen by the St. Louis Blues as he was picked with the 138th overall selection.
Goaltender Carsen Musser (Sherburn, Minn.) went off to the Arizona Coyotes at pick 166 and Zach Schulz (South Lyon, Mich.), captain of the 2023 U.S. Under-18 Men's National Team, rounded out the NTDP's selections becoming the second player taken by the Islanders with the 177th selection.
In addition to players selected directly from the National Team Development Program, 10 more skaters with ties to the program were selected throughout the draft. Charlie Stramel (Rosemount, Minn. / Univ. of Wisconsin) was taken by his hometown Minnesota Wild with the 21st overall pick last night. Gavin Brindley (Estero, Fla.) heard his name called early on Day 2, going 34th overall to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Gracyn Sawchyn (Chaska, Minn. / Seattle Thunderbirds) went in the second round to Florida at pick 63.
Hunter Brzustewicz (Washington Twp., Mich. / Kitchener Rangers) got the nod to the Vancouver Canucks with the 75th overall pick, while Cole Knuble (East Grand Rapids, Mich. / Fargo Force) and Hampton Slukynsky (Warroad, Minn. / Warroad High School) were pegged by the Philadelphia Flyers and Los Angeles Kings, respectively, in Round 4.
Forward Sutter Muzzati (Okemos, Mich. / RPI), who skated with the NTDP in 2020-21, went to Nashville at pick 143 and defenseman Chase Cheslock (Rogers, Minn. / Rogers High School), who skated in a pair of games with the Under-18 Team this season, was scooped up by the New Jersey Devils with the 154th selection.
Rounding out the NTDP affiliations were forwards Jack Harvey (Stacy, Minn. / Chicago Steel) to the Tampa Bay Lightning and James Clark (Edina, Minn. / Green Bay Gamblers) in Round 7. Both players suited up for the NTDP in 2020-21, while Harvey also saw action in a pair of games in 2021-22.