The USHL held their two-phase player draft in early May, selecting the next wave of on-ice talent for the nation’s top junior league. Among the Class of 2018, seven players had ties to the region having played for the Elite program.
Phase I included ten rounds of players that are from birth year 2002 only. Four players were selected from this criteria. The selections were made on May 7.
Sioux City selected Penguins Elite under-15 goaltender Aidan Campbell in the third round, at 36th overall. At 6-foot-2 and 173 pounds, the net-minder already has a sizable advantage in the crease.
Wexford native Dane Dowiak was selected by Sioux Falls in the fourth round, 61st overall. The forward scored three points in four games of the OHL showcase. Dowiak played for Penguins Elite U16 and is committed to play at Penn State starting in 2021-22.
Defenseman Cole Oravitz wasn’t too far behind his Elite teammate, as Madison selected the Pittsburgh native with the very next pick.
Alex Servagno closed out the local selections of the first phase when Green Bay selected him with the 89th pick of the day. The sixth round selection had 16 goals in 36 games for the U16 Pens Elite. He is an Ohio State commit.
Phase II encompassed all other players not under protection by USHL teams, regardless of age. Three local players were selected. The selections were made on May 8.
Goaltender Chad Veltri was selected in the fourth round at 61st overall after spending the previous year playing for Corpus Christi of the NAHL. Veltri started and won the 2016 National Championship game for the U18 Penguins Elite by virtue of a 22-save shutout.
Penguins Elite teammate Roman Kraemer is continuing his progression close to home yet again, as Youngstown took the forward 89th overall in the sixth round. Kraemer spent the 2017-18 season with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL, where he scored 21 goals and 17 assists.
Current U18 Penguins Elite forward Matthew Weber closed out the local selections in the tenth round, as USHL champion Fargo selected the Coraopolis native 164th overall.