I have been contacted by sbnation.com to write up some profiles on players that may be drafted into the USHL this year in the USHL Entry Draft. I will be writing a profile almost every day leading up to the draft beginning with forwards, then on to defensemen, and finishing with goaltenders. These are in no particular order, as the Entry Draft is hard to predict. I haven't seen these players play either, so if you have seen them play and have something to add, please do. Enjoy!
Greg Johnson (Dallas Stars U18) is a defenseman from the Tier 1 Elite League, and is one of the best defenseman in the league. He's not the biggest offensive producer, but he has enough offensive ability to be a second-line powerplay blueliner. In 48 games of midget major hockey this year, Johnson had 18 points. Of those 18 points, 10 were goals and 8 were assists. Those 10 goals speak to the kind of shot he has from the point which will make him a popular prospect in this year's USHL Draft. The reason I brought up being a powerplay blueliner is because of the fact that 4 of Johnson's goals came on the powerplay. On the other side of the puck, Johnson has average size, standing at 6'1", 180 pounds. The biggest stat you notice on his profile is his penalty minutes. In those 48 games this year, Johnson compiled 54 PIMs. Most of these minutes came on physical plays such as elbowing, cross checking, interference, etc. I would compare Johnson to Green Bay Gamblers defenseman Scott Czarnowczan. This is a good comparision I would say based on the type of game these guys play. Keep your eye out for Greg Johnson, because he is a defenseman we will definitely be seeing in the USHL next season.
On a side note here, as many of you know, the USHL is expanding next year, and one of the places that is getting a USHL team is Muskegon, Michigan. Well, I believe it's safe to say that not very many people in Muskegon are very happy about losing a semi-pro team and moving into an elite junior hockey league. One the examples of this is on the comments of this article. One of the comments is:
"Pro hockey has not left town. The Blizzard will be back. Its a shame more people have not checked them out. If the Lumberjacks owners had a little more backbone we would still have the jacks and not some kiddie league. Say no to high school hockey and go Blizzard!!!!"
Now, it's just not fair to call the USHL a "kiddie league". I understand that this is just one ignorant blogger, but if you contune down the articles on that site, there's many comments bringing down the USHL. I just hope that the citizens of Muskegon give the USHL a chance.
Please leave comments, I would love to hear them!