Arizona should have decent representation at next month's NHL Entry Draft, and that'll be in addition to the Phoenix Coyotes contingent.
Three Arizona natives were listed on the final NHL Central Scouting North American rankings with Scottsdale's Philip Samuelsson (60th), Avondale's Kyle Beattie (99th) and Tempe's Jeremy Langlois (121st) all hoping to realize a dream in Montreal at the draft.
For Langlois, the chance to be drafted is something he hasn't totally grasped yet.
"My coach (Toby Harris of the Eastern Junior League's Jersey Hitmen) had told me that I was receiving interest from some teams, but I was very surprised to see that I was ranked in the top 150," said Langlois.
"The fact that there are three Arizona players on the draft list just shows how Arizona is producing high-quality players in a place that's usually not known as a hotbed."
Langlois was named the EJHL's Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year and is off to Quinnipiac University next fall.
Samuelsson has the NHL lineage as his father, Ulf, played almost 1,100 games in the NHL with five teams. Phil is hoping to add to the professional pedigree.
"When I turned 13, I decided that I wanted to give hockey a serious shot and give myself the best chance possible of making the NHL," explained Samuelsson. "I began working hard off the ice with my father. I didn't realize until my U16 season that I had serious potential to make the NHL when I was invited to the final 40 NTDP camp. Ever since then, my development has been great and that's all thanks to my father."
"Phil skates pretty well and can move the puck," said a scout who watches the USHL, where Samuelsson played this past season with the Chicago Steel. "He doesn't stand out in any one aspect of the game, but does everything decently.
"His best trait, besides his lineage, is the fact he has consistently improved over the last few seasons. That bodes well for his future as it shows he has the desire to get better, work hard and be coachable."
At the beginning of the season, Beattie wasn't ranked by Central Scouting -- he was listed on the Players to Watch list -- but parlayed a solid season where he was the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs' leading scorer with 60 points into a chance to be claimed by an NHL team. New Hampshire, another EJHL team, won the Tier III Junior A national title, and Beattie has committed to the University of Maine for 2010.
Samuelsson added that having NHL-caliber talent coming out of the desert is nothing but a good situation.
"The '91 class in Arizona is a very talented class of hockey players," said Samuelsson, off to Boston College in the fall. "You can see the type of players that are coming out of Phoenix. I can say that the future looks good with this sort of publicity around the state and will maybe bring in some new, fresh talent."This story appears in the most recent issue of Arizona Rubber magazine. To read the issue in its entirety, click here.