Photo by Rena Laverty
PLYMOUTH, Mich. - All 19 draft-eligible members of the 2023-24 U.S. National Under-18 Team and an additional pair of NTDP alums were named to the National Hockey League Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list ahead of the 2024 NHL Draft, set to take place next June in Las Vegas.
Forward Cole Eiserman (Newburyport, Mass.) led the way for the NTDP as the program's lone A-rated skater, which indicates a first-round candidate in the draft.
Seven skaters were given a B rating, indicating a possible 2nd- or 3rd-round candidate in the draft: forwards Kamil Bednarik (Chicago, Ill.), Kristian Epperson (Mequon, Wis.), Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.), along with blueliners EJ Emery (Compton, Calif.), Cole Hutson (Chicago, Ill.) and Will Skahan (Woodbury, Minn.).
Six more players were given a C-rating, which looks at a 4th- or 5th-round candidate: Austin Baker (White Lake, Mich.), Sam Laurila (Moorhead, Minn.), Brendan McMorrow (Lakeville, Minn.), Jack Parsons (Ithaca, N.Y.), Lucas Van Vliet (Livonia, Mich.) and Brodie Ziemer (Hutchinson, Minn.).
New this year was the inclusion of a W-rating, which indicates a selection in the final two rounds of the NHL Draft. Those were given to Nick Kempf (Chicago, Ill.), Noah Lapointe (Hinsdale, Ill.), Charlie Pardue (Winnetka, Ill.), Teddy Stiga (Sudbury, Mass.) and John Whipple (Minnetonka, Minn.).
In addition, two NTDP alums were named to the rankings. Defenseman Zeev Buium (San Diego, Calif. / University of Denver) received an A-rating, while forward Austin Burnevik (Blaine, Minn. / Madison Capitols, St. Cloud State University) was given a C-rating.
The NTDP has four currently rostered players who are considered underagers and will not be eligible until the 2025 NHL Draft. They are Dakoda Rheaume-Mullen (Northville, Mich.), Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.), James Hagens (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and Shane Vansaghi (St. Louis, Mo.).