Four Pittsburgh Natives Projected as Top 2011 NHL Entry Draft Picks
/ Pittsburgh Penguins
Four NHL draft-eligible prospects who came up through the Pittsburgh amateur hockey system and the Pittsburgh Hornets amateur program are projected to be selected at the NHL Entry Draft to be held this Friday (Round 1) and Saturday (Rounds 2-7) at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN – goaltender John Gibson and forwards Brandon Saad, J.T. Miller and Vince Trocheck
Gibson is the No. 1-ranked North American goaltender by NHL Central Scouting, while Saad (19th overall), Miller (23rd) and Trocheck (41st) all place high among skaters in Central Scouting’s final ranking.
A fifth player, defenseman Barrett Kaib is ranked 193rd overall among all draft-eligible prospects by Red Line Report, an independent scouting service.
Based upon final pre-draft rankings, Gibson, Saad and Miller will each have a chance to become the highest-drafted Pittsburgh born and trained player. Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger currently holds that distinction after being selected 16th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2001.
Gibson (Whitehall, Pa.), 18, spent the last two seasons with the United States National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound netminder earned the best goaltender award at this year’s World Under-18 Championships in April while leading the U.S. to a third straight gold medal. Gibson will attend the University of Michigan in the fall.
Saad (Gibsonia, Pa.), 18, recorded 55 points (27G-28A) in 59 games last season with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). The 6-foot-2, 206-pound forward was teammates with 2010 Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Stephen Johns (Wampum, Pa.) on the 2009-10 U.S. Under-18 National Team where he scored a team-best 58 points (29G-29A) in 63 games.
Miller (East Palestine, Ohio/Coraopolis, Pa.), 18, is ranked 10th overall by Red Line Report. A 6-foot-2, 193-pound forward, Miller helped lead the U.S. Under-18 team to a gold medal at the World Under-18 Championships in April by producing a team-leading 13 points (4G-9A). Miller will be attending the University of North Dakota in the fall.
Trocheck (Upper St. Clair, Pa.), 17, spent the previous two seasons playing for Saginaw in the OHL, where he teamed with Saad this past season. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound forward tallied 62 points (26G-36A) in 68 games this past season with the Spirit. Trocheck ranked second on Saginaw with six goals in 12 postseason contests.
Kaib (Upper St. Clair, Pa.), 17, played the previous two seasons with the U.S. NTDP where he was teammates with Gibson and Miller. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound blueliner was a member of the gold-medal winning squad at the World Under-18 Championships in April. Kaib will attend Providence College in the fall.