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Smilanic, Sanderson may be in All-American Game for 2020 Draft prospects

NTDP U-18 team, with two A-rated skaters, to play USHL at USA Hockey Arena

NHL.com @NHLdotcom

Ty Smilanic and Jake Sanderson are among two of the top United States-born 2020 NHL Draft prospects that could play in the BioSteel All-American Game, at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan, on Jan. 20.

The game will feature top draft-eligible prospects from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team against a team of draft-eligible players from the United States Hockey League.

Smilanic, a 6-foot-1, 177-pound center, and Sanderson, a 6-1, 186-pound defenseman, were the only two players from the NTDP to receive an A rating from NHL Central Scouting in its preliminary players to watch list.

"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."

The game replaces the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game and the USHL Top Prospects Game.

"We look forward to bringing the BioSteel All-American Game to USA Hockey Arena and we're particularly excited to have the close partnership of the USHL and NHL in putting on this game," said John Vanbiesbrouck, assistant executive director of USA Hockey. "With our new format, and moving the event from September to January, we think the game will be extremely competitive and a terrific showcase of our top players. To have the future American stars of the NHL all on a single sheet of ice is really unique and something fans will enjoy."

Rosters and coaches for the game will be named at a later date.

The 2018 All-American Prospects Game featured eight players who were selected in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, including the No. 1 pick, forward Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils. Defenseman Ryan Johnson, selected in the first round (No. 31) by the Buffalo Sabres at the 2019 Draft, played in the 2019 USHL Top Prospects Game.

 

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