The Esmark Stars are pleased to announce that former Stars goaltender Jake Kucharski was recognized by the National Hockey League (NHL) in the ‘November Prospects to Watch’ list for 2018 draft-eligible players and the release of NHL Central Scouting's "players to watch in North America and Europe."
Kucharski, who skated for the 16U Esmark Stars during the 2015-16 season, was one of three former NAPHL alumni recognized by the NHL's November Prospects to Watch’ list.
This continues the recent trend of NAPHL alumni garnering recognition by NHL teams. Earlier this summer, two former players, Jeremy Swayman and Cole Hults, were selected in the 2017 NHL Draft. During the past five NHL Drafts a total of 23 NAPHL alumni have been selected.
Kucharski, who is currently skating for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL, manned the nets for the NAHL's Austin Bruins during the 2016-17 season.
Earlier this season, in September, Kucharski, a 6'4", 205-pound 18 year-old netminder, was selected, along with 41 other American-born NHL draft-eligible players, to participate in the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y.
The NHL Central Scouting list, comprised of "A," "B" and "C" players for the upcoming season in each of the major junior hockey leagues, are sent to NHL team scouts for the purpose of tracking the top draft-eligible players entering the 2017-18 season. All "A" skaters have been identified as potential first-round picks, while "B" players are considered second- or third-round candidates. The players on the "C" list are thought to be fourth-, fifth- or sixth-round possibilities. Central Scouting's preliminary rankings were revealed in November. That list included the top 25 prospects for each of the various leagues throughout North America and Europe.
NHL Central Scouting will release its midseason rankings of 2018 draft-eligible players in January, followed by its final rankings in April. The Dallas Stars will host the 2018 NHL Draft at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Next year's Draft will be held over two days on June 22-23.
Kucharski’s plan moving forward will take him from Des Moines, to Providence, Rhode Island, next fall, where he will be a member of NCAA Division I Providence College’s 2018-19 freshman class.
But he would appreciate taking a detour through Dallas in June. “I always believed I could (get drafted), and always thought it would be awesome if I could,” he said. “To have made it to this point is a big accomplishment. But I know I’ve got a ways to go if I want to fulfill the ultimate goal.”