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NHL Draft

Hectic month for Knierim, Fighting Saints

Prospect for 2016 draft breaks goal drought amid busy schedule

by William Knierim @27WillieKnierim / Special to NHL.com

Willie Knierim, No. 130 on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft, is in his second season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the United States Hockey League this season. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound right wing has eight goals, 17 points, 87 penalty minutes and 62 shots on goal in 34 games this season. The Skokie, Ill., native is committed to Miami University in 2016-17. Knierim has offered to maintain a blog for NHL.com leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo, N.Y.

Hi, hockey fans. The month of January was a long one for all of us in Dubuque with 10 games on the schedule.

We traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, and then a week later to Kearney, Nebraska. In the month of January and the first part of February we have only won six out of the 12 games we played. One of those games was (Feb. 5) against Omaha.

Going into the game, I hadn't scored in nine games, but in the second period I netted a power-play goal which ended up being the game winner in the 7-3 win. Dallas Gerads scored three more goals to get a natural hat trick to put the game away.

Despite the six losses, we still remain in second place in the Eastern Conference.

Also in January, NHL Central Scouting released its midterm ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2016 NHL Draft. I was rated No. 130 among skaters. It's a huge honor to be mentioned anywhere on the list, but it doesn't mean anything. Guys who have been top 50 on the list have not yet been drafted and there have been guys not on the list who have been selected in the NHL Draft. You just have to keep working hard.
  
As the season moves along we've had the chance to be introduced to some new faces in Dubuque. We have welcomed Zach Solow, Justin Bofshever, and other recruits and affiliates to be a part of our organization. It took all of them some time to get adjusted, but with some help from the guys, they easily got settled in. I can't wait to spend the rest of the year with them!

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