Jake Sanderson and Ty Smilanic, A-rated prospects for the 2020 NHL Draft, are among the 43 players invited to play in the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game.
The event will feature top draft-eligible players from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team against a team of draft-eligible players from the United States Hockey League and will be played at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, on Jan. 20.
Sanderson (6-foot-1, 186 pounds), a 17-year-old left-shot defenseman, has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 28 games. His father, Geoff Sanderson, played 1,104 games in 17 NHL seasons.
Smilanic, a 17-year-old center (6-foot, 177), has 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 18 games. He missed about a month after helping the NTDP U-18 win the Five Nations Tournament in Sweden on Nov. 10 and has three points (one goal, two assists) in five games since returning to the lineup Dec. 6.
"Smilanic plays the game with speed, quickness, smarts and skills," Director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "What sets him apart is he's always on the puck, he's always forcing the play, always making things happen. With Sanderson, he's not a flashy defenseman but he's good with the puck and he's good without the puck. He's someone that the coaches trust, he can play in any situation. That includes playing him with a smaller, skilled, skating defenseman where you need someone to make sure they're looking after the back end but also having just as good a skill set and Jake Sanderson fills that bill."
Other notable players taking part in the game are NTDP forwards Luke Tuch, the younger brother of Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch, and Ryder Rolston, the son of Brian Rolston, who played 1,256 NHL games with five teams and won the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995.
The NTDP also will have two players eligible for the 2021 NHL Draft on the roster, forwards Matthew Beniers and Hunter Strand.
Mike Knuble, who scored at least 20 goals eight times in 16 NHL seasons and is an assistant coach of Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, will be the honorary coach for the NTDP, which will be known as Team Knuble. Joining Knuble will be NTDP coach Seth Appert and assistants Brett Darnell, Nick Fohr and Mike Leone.
Scott Gomez, who won the Stanley Cup three times during a 16-season NHL career, will be the honorary coach for the USHL, which will be called Team Gomez. Joining him on the bench will be two USHL coaches, Scott Owens of Sioux Falls and Mike Hamilton of Muskegon.
The game replaces the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and the USHL Top Prospects Game, and is a joint venture between the NHL, USA Hockey and the USHL.
NTDP ROSTER - TEAM KNUBLE
GOALIES: Drew Commesso, Noah Grannan
DEFENSEMEN: Brock Faber, Owen Gallatin, Connor Kelley, Tyler Kleven, Daniel Laatsch, Eamon Powell, Jake Sanderson, Jacob Truscott
FORWARDS: Brett Berard, Matthew Beniers (2021 draft eligible), Thomas Bordeleau, Daniyal Dzhaniyev, Zakary Karpa, Tanner Latsch, Hunter McKown, Dylan Peterson, Landon Slaggert, Ty Smilanic, Hunter Strand (2021 draft eligible), Luke Tuch, Chase Yoder
USHL ROSTER - TEAM GOMEZ
GOALIES: Aidan McCarthy, Dubuque; Logan Stein, Waterloo
DEFENSEMEN: Noah Ellis, Des Moines; Alex Gagne, Cedar Rapids; Hank Kempf, Muskegon; Ben Meehan, Cedar Rapids; Mitchell Miller, Tri-City; Luke Reid, Chicago
FORWARDS: Carson Bantle, Madison; Ryan Beck, Dubuque; Brendan Brisson, Chicago; Nick Capone, Tri-City; Sam Colangelo, Chicago; Sean Farrell, Chicago; Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, Chicago; Alexandros Gaffney, Muskegon; Patrick Guzzo, Waterloo; Alex Laferriere, Des Moines; Ryder Rolston, Waterloo; Wyatt Schingoethe, Waterloo
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