Thursday, January 12, 2017

Three Dogs draft picks appear in USHL Top Prospects Game

Three Saint John Sea Dogs prospects recently took part in the USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game.

Like the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, the the game featured the best draft eligible prospects from around the league.

Despite not recording a point, Shane Bowers of the Waterloo Black Hawks was one of the stars of the show. According to, Bowers was the lone A-rated prospect (going by NHL Central Scouting's rankings) to play in the game.


"He is a difference maker because he is a highly skilled power forward who has an excellent work ethic," Central Scouting's David Gregory said. "He handles the puck very well and is an effective passer. He plays a power-forward game and can create turnovers and scoring chances using his size and strength. He has deceiving speed when carrying the puck on the attack. When combining this with his work ethic and puck skills he can have an impact on every shift and projects very well as a NHL prospect."

Bowers, who has 10 goals and 12 assists in 30 games in his second USHL season, is projected to be a mid to late first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. He was a second-round pick of the Sea Dogs in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft. He is committed to Boston University for next season.

17-year-old defenceman Ben Mirageas, a ninth-round pick of Saint John in the 2015 draft, was also held pointless in the game. He has seven assists in 29 games with the Bloomington Thunder this season, his first full year in the USHL.

Mirageas is committed to Providence College for 2018-19.

Lastly, 17-year-old forward Marc McLaughlin, a sixth-round pick of Saint John in 2015, took part in the game and was held pointless as well. A Boston College commit for 2018-19, McLaughlin has one goal and four assists in 31 games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders this year.

If the Sea Dogs do plan on quickly turning things around after this season to contend for the 2019 Memorial Cup, it'd be great (and ideal) to see a few of these guys report to Saint John. However, given recent history, it's difficult to be optimistic that any will show.

Moncton and Halifax seemingly have much greater success at recruiting American players, which is no doubt frustrating for Sea Dogs fans. If the Sea Dogs do want to quickly return to contender status following this season, they'll have to get a little creative, and finding some solid American players would help.

Saint John selected two US players in the 2016 QMJHL Entry Draft, forward Matthew Gould and goaltender Derek Fournier.

Gould, a sixth-round pick, plays for the Boston Junior Bruins and, according to Elite Prospects, has already committed to Providence College for 2019-20.

Fournier, a 13th-round pick, has been playing with Bangor High School.

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