GENEVA, ILLINOIS — Following a historic First Round on Friday night, the Chicago Steel wrapped up the 2021 NHL Draft with the most players selected from the 2020-2021 roster of any independent junior team in the world, the team’s second consecutive season holding the distinction.
This is also the second consecutive season that a team-record eight players with Steel ties were selected in the Draft, including a record three first round picks and four of the first 36 players taken.
Seven members of the 2021 Clark Cup champions were selected while Owen Power, a Steel alum, was taken with the first overall selection by the Buffalo Sabres.
In total, 50 players with USHL ties were chosen in the Draft, the fourth consecutive season that the league has had 50 or more players selected.
“We are thrilled for the players who were selected as well as their families and billets who have helped them get to this exciting step in their careers,” said Steel President Dan Lehv. “The past two days illustrate the exceptional work being done throughout our hockey operations department and our focus on all aspects of player development. We’re proud to share this success with our fellow USHL member clubs that were able to come together this past year to play a meaningful season and provide the opportunity for players to showcase their talents to NHL scouts and executives.”
Forwards Matt Coronato (CGY - #13 overall) and Mackie Samoskevich (FLA - #24 overall) were picked in the First Round, giving the Steel three players taken in the opening night of the draft for the first time in the 21-year history of the franchise.
Day two of the draft saw five players from the 2021 championship team claimed by NHL clubs.
Scottsdale, Ariz., native Josh Doan was selected by his hometown team, taken off the board with the fifth pick in the second round (#37 overall) by the Arizona Coyotes. Doan’s father, Shane, played over 1,000 games for the franchise.
Following his rookie season with 14 points (5G, 9A) in 45 contests, the 6-foot-2, 176-pound forward ranked third in the USHL with 70 points (31G, 39A) in 53 games played. During the Steel Clark Cup run, Doan factored in for five points (2G, 3A) in eight contests. The Arizona State University commit was named to the All-USHL Second Team.
An integral part of the Clark Cup run, forward Jackson Blake was the next Steel player selected. The Carolina Hurricanes chose Blake in the fourth round (#109), after his season of 17 points (7G, 10A) in 25 appearances. The Eden Prairie, Minn., native scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the Clark Cup Final against the Fargo Force less than two months after scoring the overtime game winner in the Minnesota State High School Class 2A Championship. Blake is committed to the University of North Dakota.
A pair of blueliners were the next draft selections from the Steel in the fourth and fifth rounds.
Ryan Ufko was selected in the fourth round (#115 overall) by the Nashville Predators, sealing back-to-back drafts in which a Chicago blueliner was chosen by the Predators (2020 – Luke Reid #166 overall). The UMass-Amherst commit ranked second among USHL defensemen in points with 39 (10G, 29A) over 53 games played. After a playoff performance that included a marker and six helpers, the Smithtown, N.Y., native was named to the All-USHL First Team.
The Dallas Stars selected Jack Bar, a 6-foot-2, 194-pound defenseman, with the #138 overall pick in the fifth round. Bar, a native of Newmarket, Ontario, was acquired by the Steel mid-season and registered 15 points (5G, 10A) in 34 regular season contests.
Forward Sam Lipkin concluded the prolific draft weekend for Chicago, adding his name to the newest list of Arizona Coyotes prospects in the seventh round (#223 overall). Lipkin, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound forward, notched 11 points (3G, 8A) in 30 regular season games before adding a marker and a helper during the playoffs. Lipkin is committed to Quinnipiac University.
Season Ticket Plans for the Clark Cup Champion Chicago Steel are on sale now by calling 855-51-STEEL or emailing info@ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com. Group tickets and experiences are also on sale for the 2021-2022 season.
For more information, call 855-51-STEEL or visit ChicagoSteelHockeyTeam.com.