Sioux Falls, SD—The United States Hockey League (USHL) announced today that Stampede forward Jaxon Nelson and defenseman Jack St. Ivany have been named to the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game on January 9th in Kearney, Nebraska. Both players are in their second year with the Stampede. Click here for the complete rosters.
The selection process for players competing in the game was in complete cooperation with NHL general managers and scouts, NHL Central Scouting and USHL general managers. All 40 players chosen are eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.
Nelson is making his first appearance in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. He skated in the All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo earlier this fall. The Magnolia, MN native has been heating up of late, tallying four points in this last four games. On Saturday, Nelson tallied two goals, including the game-winner, during the third period of a 4-2 victory at Cedar Rapids. Nelson was the first ever player tendered by the Stampede in 2016 and tallied 18 points (7g, 11a) while appearing in 54 of 60 regular season games last year. He has been listed as a B-rated skater by NHL Central Scouting making him a projected second or third round draft choice in 2018. He has already committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Minnesota.
This marks the second straight year St. Ivany will skate in the Top Prospects Game. Last season, he tallied an assist in Team West’s 4-0 victory. He is currently second on the Stampede in scoring amongst defenseman with 13 points (3g, 10a) and ranks fourth overall among USHL defensemen in points. The Manhattan Beach, CA native has already exceeded his total point table from last season in which he tallied 10 points in 52 games. He is currently skating with Team USA at the World Junior A Challenge in Canada where they begin play next Monday. The 6-foot-2, 201-pound defenseman has committed to Yale University.
In the six-year history of the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, 76 players who participated in the game have later been selected in the NHL Draft, including four first round selections: Shane Bowers (Ottawa Senators, 2017), Kyle Connor (Winnipeg Jets, 2015), Brock Boeser (Vancouver Canucks, 2015) and Jordan Schmaltz (St. Louis Blues, 2012). Other first round selections who were named to the game but were unable to participate due to injury include Eeli Tolvanen (Nashville Predators, 2017), Michael Matheson (Florida Panthers, 2012) and Zemgus Girgensons (Buffalo Sabres, 2012).
The 40 players have been split into two teams – Team East and Team West – for the 2018 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, representing a split of players competing in the USHL’s Eastern Conference and Western Conference. Des Moines Buccaneers forward Braden Costello has been assigned to Team East despite playing in the Western Conference. The coaches, support staff and officials will be announced at a later date.
The Stampede return to action this weekend when they host the Youngstown Phantoms, Friday and Saturday night inside the PREMIER Center. Puck drop is 7:05 PM each night. Saturday is also Military Night, presented by the South Dakota Army National Guard. Players will be wearing special jerseys that will be auctioned off right after the game with proceeds benefiting Warriors Never Give Up. Tickets for both games are available now through the PREMIER Center or any Ticketmaster outlet.