Sioux Falls, S.D. – The Sioux Falls Stampede had nine players with ties to the program listed in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings released last Wednesday. The list includes five former, two current and two affiliate players, all eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft in Montreal, Quebec.
The highest ranked player is former defenseman Yan Kuznetsov (No. 36), currently with the University of Connecticut Huskies. Kuznetsov is the highest ranked player since Ryan Johnson (No. 33) in the 2019 NHL Draft. Johnson was drafted in the first round, 31st overall by the Buffalo Sabres last summer. Kuznetsov is the sixth highest ranked player from the United States Hockey League (USHL).
Blake Biondi (No. 64) is an affiliate forward from Hermantown, Minnesota, and winner of the 2020 Mr. Hockey Minnesota award. Biondi was acquired in a February trade from the Sioux City Musketeers and was scheduled to join the team prior to the season cancelation.
Former forward Artem Shlaine, who played two games with the Herd in the 2019-20 Clark Cup Playoffs, is ranked 93rd overall.
Forward Sam Stange, acquired in a trade with the Musketeers in February, is ranked 110th overall. Stange played in four games for Sioux Falls, recording two goals and one assist for three points. He will play at the University of Wisconsin in the fall.
Defensemen Nate Schweitzer (No. 117) and Evan Bushy (No. 156) played early in the 2019-20 season for the Herd; however, both spent much of the season playing for their respective high schools. Schweitzer will return to the Stampede in the fall, while Bushy was traded to Sioux City in February.
St. Cloud Cathedral forward and Stampede affiliate Jack Smith is ranked 169th overall. Smith tallied 16 goals and 14 assists in 11 games played for St. Cloud. He recorded 10 goals and nine assists for 19 points in the 2020 Minnesota High School Class-A Tournament.
Former forwards Austen Swankler (No. 200) and Carl Berglund (No. 212) round out the rankings for the Stampede. Swankler was a part of the 2019 Clark Cup championship team, scoring the four-overtime game winner against the Musketeers in round one. He played last season with the Erie Otters (OHL), tallying 18 goals and 27 assists for 45 points.
Berglund currently skates with the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, with former players Andre Lee, Brian Chambers and Reid Stefanson. He tallied 12 goals and 11 assists in 34 games played as a first-year student.