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Americans take center stage at NHL draft

NHL.com @NHL

LOS ANGELES (AP) -From Boca Raton to Hollywood, American teenagers are on the rise at the NHL draft.

A record 11 U.S. citizens were chosen in the first round, and these young Americans aren't just from Minnesota and Massachusetts, either.

The first round Friday included two players born and trained in southern California. The first NHL draftees from Florida and Las Vegas were chosen Saturday in the middle rounds.

Although the NHL's expansion into the Sun Belt over the past 20 years has been criticized for playing a part in the game's financial woes and talent depletion, the fruits of that move bloomed during the two-day draft at Staples Center. More kids from more nontraditional hockey markets are growing into outstanding young players.

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