NAPHL sets new record at 2022 NHL Draft
The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) is proud to announce that a record number of nine players with NAPHL ties were selected in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, which was held on July 7-8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, and hosted by the Montreal Canadiens.
The nine NAPHL players taken in one draft is an all-time record for the NAPHL. It was yet another benchmark moment for the NAPHL, which enters its 14th season in 2022-23 with teams at the 18U, 16U, 15U, and 14U USA Hockey Tier I and Tier II youth levels. The success of teams on the National stage, as well as, the success of NAPHL players at the next levels of hockey, is further proof that the NAPHL is redefining exposure and has elevated itself to one of the premier training grounds for development and opportunity.
In addition to the 20 players who were drafted in the 2022 NAHL Draft back on June 15th, a record number of 66 players who played in the league during the 2021-22 season signed NAHL tenders for the upcoming 2022-23 season. In total, a total of 86 NAPHL players were either drafted or tendered by NAHL teams for the upcoming 2022-23 season.
The nine NAPHL players selected in the 2022 NHL Draft were:
Seamus Casey, D, Florida Alliance 16U, 2019-20
Cruz Lucius, F, Gentry Academy 15U/16U, 2018-20
Emmett Croteau, G, Ontario Jr. Reign 18U, 2019-20
Barrett Hall, F, Madison Capitols 18U, 2019-20
Jake Richard, F, Florida Alliance 15U/16U, 2019-21
Ryan Hofer, F, Pursuit of Excellence 16U/18U, 2017-20
Connor Kurth, F, Gentry Academy 15U/16U, 2018-20
Ben Strinden, F, Northstar Christian Academy 18U, 2018-20
Reese Laubach, F, Northstar Christian Academy 18U, 2020-22
The first NAPHL player off the board was former Florida Alliance 16U defenseman Seamus Casey, who was selected #46 overall in Round 2 by the New Jersey Devils. Casey played in the NAPHL during the 2019-20 season and recorded 29 points in 15 games played that was and was also named to the All-NAPHL 16U 1st Team.
The next NAPHL player selected was former Gentry 15U/16U forward Cruz Lucius, who was selected #124 overall in the 4th round by the Carolina Hurricanes. Lucius played in the NAPHL for two seasons from 2018-20 and put up an astounding 109 points in 33 NAPHL games. He was named to the All-NAPHL 15U Team in 2018-19 and was on the All-NAPHL 16U 1st Team in 2019-20.
The third NAPHL player off the board was former Ontario Jr. Reign goaltender Emmett Croteau, who was selected #162 overall in the 6th round by the Montreal Canadiens. Croteau played in the NAPHL during the 2019-20 season for the Jr. Reign 18U team. He played in the 2019-20 NAPHL All-Star Game and was named to the All-NAPHL 18U Team-Elite Division that same season.
Current Minnesota Wilderness forward and former NAPHL’er Barrett Hall was taken next as he was selected #164 overall in Round 6 by the Seattle Kraken. Hall, 18, spent this past season playing in the NAHL for the Wilderness and recorded 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in 19 regular season games. He also posted five points in nine Robertson Cup Playoff games. On June 8, 2022, Hall announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey for St. Cloud State University. He was one of only four Wilderness players to finish with a point-per-game average or better.
Hall’s time with the Wilderness was spent in two phases, as he played his final season of high school hockey with Gentry Academy in between. In 25 games with the Stars, Hall led all scorers with 55 points (25 goals/30 assists) in 25 games. His performance with Gentry also led to him being named one of ten finalists for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award, given annually to the state’s top senior high school hockey player.
Hall is also an alum of the NAPHL, having played briefly for the Madison Capitols 18U team during the 2019-20 season. He played in five NAPHL games and recorded one goal.
Former NAPHL standout and All-Star Jake Richard was selected #170 overall in Round 6 by the Buffalo Sabres. Richard, 17, was one of the more dynamic players in recent NAPHL history, as he played in the league for two seasons for the Florida Alliance 16U and 15U teams from 2019-21. He was named to the All-NAPHL 15U 1st team in 2019-20 and named to the All-NAPHL 16U Team-Central Division in 2020-21. Richard recorded an astounding 112 points in just 34 NAPHL games. He played and was the MVP of the 2020-21 NAPHL 16U All-Star Game and led his Florida Alliance 16U team to the 2021 Dixon Cup Championship with 28 points in just six playoff games that season.
Former NAPHL forward Ryan Hofer was selected later in the 6th round, #181 overall by the Washington Capitals. Hofer, 20, plated in the NAPHL for two and a half seasons for the Pursuit of Excellence 18U and 16U teams from 2017-20. In 40 career NAPHL regular season games, he recorded 26 points.
Later in Round 6 with pick #192, the Tampa Bay Lightning selected former NAPHL standout Connor Kurth. The former Gentry Academy star just completed his second season playing in the USHL for Dubuque. Kurth put up 81 points in 62 games played this past season for the Fighting Saints. Kurth, 18, played in the NAPHL from 2018-20 as a member of Gentry Academy. In 33 NAPHL games he recorded 99 points, which included 70 points in just 20 games during the 2019-20 season when he was named to the All-NAPHL 16U 1st Team.
In the 7th round with pick #210 overall, the Nashville Predators selected former Northstar Knights forward Ben Strinden. Strinden, 20, was originally an NAPHL tender for the NAHL’s Minot Minotauros and made his NAHL debut on November 19, 2019, where he also scored a goal in a 4-3 win at the Wilderness. Strinden also played in the NAPHL for two seasons for the Northstar Knights, where he had 25 points in 21 NAPHL games and also put up nine points in six Dixon Cup Playoff games. Strinden played in the USHL with Muskegon this past season, putting up 56 points in 61 games.
The final NAPHL player to be selected was Northstar Knights 18U forward Reese Laubach, who was taken #217 overall in the 7th round by the San Jose Sharks. Laubach, 18, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Minnesota State-Mankato, was named to the All-NAPHL 18U Team-Central Division in both the 2021-22 and 2020-21 seasons. This past season, he was 2nd in 18U league scoring with 46 points in 27 games played. He also played in the 2021-22 NAPHL 18U All-Star Game. During the 2020-21 season, he put up 23 points in just 13 games. He also had eight points in both the 2021 and 2022 Dixon Cup Playoffs as he led Northstar to back-to-back NAPHL Dixon Cup Champioships.