Top 2017 NHL prospects hit Plymouth this week

Gregg Krupa, The Detroit News
Red Wings special assistant to the general manager and "Grind Line" member Kris Draper pops in to say hello to some of the players during practice.

Plymouth – The 2017 NHL Entry Draft class receives an infusion of new members before the picks are made in June as elite 17 year-olds from North America and Europe become eligible, if they turn 18 before Sept. 15.

About five dozen of them from the United States, the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, who have already drawn the interest of the NHL, will play from Tuesday through Saturday in the Under-18 Five Nations tournament at the USA Hockey Arena. More than five dozen general managers, their assistants and scouts for all 30 NHL franchises will likely attend.

“Every team’s going to be represented,” said Kris Draper, the special assistant general manager of the Red Wings.

“Probably all of the head amateur scouts will be there. I know we have Tyler Wright (director of amateur scouting) and Jeff Finley (chief scout) definitely coming in. I’ll be over there.”

The relatively short trip for the Wings to the new center for USA Hockey, in the former Compuware Arena site on Beck Road, also allows GM Ken Holland and his assistant Ryan Martin to attend and see up close and in person 17-year-old prospects the club scouts in Europe.

Other GMs will attend. But the location puts the Red Wings in an ideal position for a thorough review of a pool of potential talent that includes just about everyone, except the Canadians and the Russians.

Last year, the tournament was in Monthey, Switzerland.

USA Hockey officials see he event as expanding their presence in Metro Detroit, which includes the National Team Development Program.

“This year's U18 Five Nations Tournament is the first international competition for this group of players this year,” said Scott Monaghan, the director of operations for USA Hockey. “They've been playing older and more experienced opponents to start the year and this is their first test of how they stack up against the best players in their age bracket.

“We want southeast Michigan to be center stage for international hockey and this is one more exciting event at family friendly prices for fans.”

On the USA roster are four notable players from Michigan: Dylan St. Cyr, G, of Northville; Tommy Miller, D, of West Bloomfield; Josh Norris, F, of Oxford; and Logan Cockerill, of Brighton.

2016 U18 Five Nations Tournament

When: Tuesday through Saturday

Where: USA Hockey Arena, 14900 Beck Road, Plymouth, Michigan, 48170

What: Many of the best hockey players under the age of 18 from the United States, Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland. Born in 1999, these players are eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, in June.

Tickets: Tournament passes, weekend packages and season-day tickets, contact; the USA Hockey Arena Box Office, 734.453.8400; or

3:30 p.m., Finland vs. Sweden

7 p.m., USA vs. Switzerland


3:30 p.m., Switzerland vs. Czech Republic

7 p.m., USA vs. Sweden


3:30 p.m., Switzerland vs. Sweden

7 p.m., Finland vs. Czech Republic


3:30 p.m., Switzerland vs. Finland

7 p.m., USA vs. Czech Republic


3:30 p.m., Czech Republic vs. Sweden

7 p.m., USA vs. Finland