Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3 Players Removed From US-NTDP

Rumors from earlier this week that 3 players have been kicked out of the US National Team Development Program have now officially been confirmed to The Pipeline Show from a source within USA Hockey. Goaltender Will Yanakeff, forward Stuart Higgins and projected 2009 1st round NHL pick Kyle Palmieri have all been booted off their respective teams for "breaking team rules".

Palmieri appeared on The Pipeline Show just last week. His CHL rights are held by the Guelph Storm and he has a verbal committment with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish should he choose the pursue the NCAA route. NHL sources have indicated to me that their belief is that the Zach Parise-like forward will head north to the OHL for next season.

Yanakeff and Higgins both played for the U17 team and are not eligible for the NHL draft this year. Yanakeff is slated to join Michigan State two seasons from now, His CHL rights are currently held by the Barrie Colts so the 6'2 goalie has options to consider.

Higgins is a small forward who has indicated that he will play for the Maine Black Bears beginning in 2010-11. He was a 12th round selection by the Oshawa Generals of the OHL.

(thanks to Brock Otten of OHL Prospects for supplying the OHL rights and draft info)


Brock Otten said...

Both Will Yanakeff and Stuart Higgins were OHL draft picks and currently have their rights held by those teams.

Higgins - 12th round pick of Oshawa.
Yanakeff - 9th round pick of Barrie.

Guy Flaming said...

Thanks Brock... I was wondering how long it would take for you to fill in the blanks for me!


Brock Otten said...

;) No problem Guy.

As for the probability that both would consider the OHL, that appears to be in question.

Higgins it all depends, Oshawa is a team with some up and coming youth and may be pretty good again in a couple seasons. Obviously I'm sure they'd welcome him with open arms.

With Yanakeff and Barrie, that would appear to be a different story. Barrie currently has one of the best goaltending tandems in the OHL in Michael Hutchinson and Peter Di Salvo. Hutchinson was a 3rd rounder last year (to Boston), and Di Salvo is a likely pick around that range this year. So he's not likely to get a spot in that line up unless they decide to trade one of Hutchinson or Di Salvo this offseason, which is completely possible. However, he likely wouldn't be the number one anyway and it likely wouldn't be worth it for him to give up his scholarship to ride the bench in Barrie. Thus, I'd say if he has aspirations for the OHL, the Colts would be likely to trade his rights to another team he could get more playing time with.