Four Phantoms among "Players To Watch" for 2014 NHL Draft - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Youngstown Phantoms Press Release

Four Phantoms among "Players To Watch" for 2014 NHL Draft

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Kiefer Sherwood Kiefer Sherwood
Maxim Letunov Maxim Letunov
JJ Piccinich JJ Piccinich
Luke Stork Luke Stork

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The 2014 NHL Entry Draft may be more than seven months away, but four Youngstown Phantoms are already making strong impressions on NHL decision makers. Phantoms forwards Maxim Letunov, JJ Piccinich, Kiefer Sherwood and Luke Stork were all recently included on NHL Central Scouting Service's latest "Players To Watch" list for the 2014 NHL draft.

"It's exciting for our program and something we're very proud of those guys for. They deserve it," head coach Anthony Noreen said. "Obviously the goal now is to keep them heading in the right direction and help them achieve their goals of hopefully being drafted and playing at that level one day."

Letunov and Piccinich are both in their first year of NHL draft eligibility, while Sherwood and Stork are both second-year eligible skaters. The U.S. National Team Development Program and the Dubuque Fighting Saints are the only USHL teams with more players on the list than the Phantoms. All four are projected as mid-round draft candidates.

Youngstown's second-round pick in the 2013 USHL Phase II Draft, Letunov, 17, is currently tied with Piccinich for second on the team in scoring with seven goals, eight assists and 15 points in 18 games. The dynamic 6-foot-2, 155-pound center from Moscow, Russia netted his first career hat trick last Friday vs. the Muskegon Lumberjacks and leads all first-year USHL players under the age of 18 in scoring. He recently committed to Boston University.

Piccinich, 17, has emerged as one of the top power forwards in The League in his second season with the Phantoms, racking up a team leading nine goals to go along with six assists for 15 points. The 6-foot, 185-pound winger from Paramus, N.J., is tied for USHL lead with five power play-goals. Piccinich was tendered by the Phantoms in April 2012 and played in 63 games last season recording 3-12-15 in 63 games. He is also committed to BU.

Sherwood, 18, is in his first full season with Youngstown and has recorded 3-6-9 in 14 games. A speedy, 6-foot, 185-pound winger, Sherwood led the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets Under-18 team in scoring last season with 46-48-94 in 55 games. The Columbus, Ohio native also appeared in nine affiliate games with the Phantoms in 2012-13 recording 0-2-2 and played two games with the USNTDP. He was Youngstown's seventh-round pick in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft and is committed to Miami University.

Stork, 18, is in his second season with Phantoms and is currently fourth on the team in scoring with 8-2-10 in 18 games. A versatile, two-way forward, Stork is tied for fourth in the USHL with four power-play goals while and leads the Youngstown with two game-winning. The 6-foot, 185-pound forward from Pittsburgh notched 12-18-30 while playing in all 64 games for Youngstown last season and was voted an assistant captain prior to the start of the 2013-14 campaign. The Phantoms selected Stork in the third-round of the 2011 USHL Futures Draft and he is committed to The Ohio State University.

The Phantoms return to action this weekend when they travel west to take on the Lincoln Stars Friday, Nov. 22 at 8:05 p.m. EST and the Sioux City Musketeers Saturday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. Both games will be broadcast on Sports Radio 1240 and webcast online on FASTHockey. Pregame coverage begins 15 minutes prior to puck drop.

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