Huskies Meier, Okabe and Krannila Await 2019 NHL Draft

Consensus #1 Draft Pick Jack Hughes (Photo Prout)

Vancouver, British Columbia – The 57th NHL Entry Draft takes place on June 21-22, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia. This years draft is marked by an abundance of top-ranked American players including the possibility that five could go in the first ten choices. Leading the pack is the USA Hockey National Team Development Program’s Jack Hughes who appears to be headed to the New Jersey Devils and maybe an appearance in the NHL as early as 2020.


Collegians that could be chosen in round one are Matthew Boldy (Boston College), Cole Caufield (Wisconsin), Spencer Knight (Boston College), Alex Newhook (Boston College), Alex Turcotte (Wisconsin), Alex Vlasic (Boston University), Cameron York (Michigan) and Trevor Zegras (Boston University).

Closer to home, St. Cloud State University has three players that could be selected in this years draft. The players are listed according to their ranking on the NHL’s Central Scouting list:

Jami Krannila | Forward (Central Scouting Rank #143) 

The Finnish born Krannila is an 18 year-old that will be joining the Huskies this fall. One of the top players in the  Finnish U18 league in 2017-18 he transitioned well to the very competitive United States Hockey League in 2018-19. The left-shooting Krannila posted 19 goals and 31 assists for 50 points in 72 games and was a key contributor to the Sioux Falls Stampede’s Clark Cup Championship. At 5’10” and 160 pounds Krannila will need to work on his strength if he is to continue to excel against much stronger competition in the NCHC. An effortless skater that can really get around the ice, he can be very creative with the puck and can surprise goaltenders with his shot. He has some deficits in his defensive game, partly due to his size and that’ll be something to work on at SCSU. Krannila has the opportunity to be selected anywhere from rounds 4-7.

Spencer Meier | Defense (Central Scouting Rank #170)

The 20 year-old Meier, who will enter his sophomore season at SCSU in 2019 was overlooked in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. For draft purposes he’s referred to as an “overager” as a result of being passed over in 2018 and having a birth date between January 1, 1999 and September 15, 2000. The 6’4″ 200 pound defenseman immediately earned his way into a very deep SCSU defensive corps as a freshman playing in 38 games last season. He finished with 1 goal and 9 assists for 10 points, 32 penalty minutes and was +2. An extremely hard-working and dedicated athlete, Meier has a promising upside and will continue to improve as a player at St. Cloud State. Meier is a player with a good hockey IQ, physical size and an outstanding work ethic with a desire to improve his game. Possibly the only knock on his game is the need to improve his foot speed and overall skating which he’s working on. Meier could be drafted in the latter rounds and possibly in rounds 5-7.

Zachary Okabe | Forward (Central Scouting Rank #201)

Despite having another year of eligibility in Junior hockey, the 18 year-old Okabe who began playing hockey in Australia will join the Huskies this season and will be the youngest player on the squad. He progressed quickly in the Alberta Junior Hockey League earning Rookie of the Year honors after the 2017-18 season. In two seasons consisting of 131 games, the crafty 5’9″ 168 pound right-shooting forward racked up 55 goals and 68 assists for 123 points. With soft hands, the ability to make plays at top speed and able to make precise passes, he’s an exciting player that will have a highly successful collegiate career at SCSU. His ranking is most likely a reflection of his physical size and he’ll have to improve his strength in order to compete effectively in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. With the NHL trending towards smaller, quicker, highly skilled forwards it’s quite likely he could be drafted in rounds 5-7.

The Huskies have had 66 players drafted in the Division One era. The highest drafted player was Dennis Cholowski who was the 20th pick in the first round in 2016. The other first-rounder was Ryan Poehling taken with the 25th pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

NHL Draft Picks from St. Cloud State University

Tony Schmalzbauer New York Islanders 1986 6/122
Tim Hanus Quebec Nordiques 1987 7/135
Jeff Saterdalen New York Islanders 1987 7/160
Dan Brettschneider Washington Capitals 1987 12/240
Lenny Esau Toronto Maple Leafs 1988 7/86
Shorty Forrest New York Islanders 1988 9/173
Jeff Kruesel Los Angeles Kings 1988 7/133
Chic Pojar Chicago (NHL) 1988 8/155
Bret Hedican St. Louis Blues 1988 10/198
Joe Larson Winnipeg Jets 1989 10/193
Greg Hagen Pittsburgh Penguins 1989 10/205
Noel Rahn Quebec Nordiques 1989 12/252
Tony Burns Detroit Red Wings 1990 5/87
Tony Gruba Detroit Red Wings 1990 9/171
Brett Lievers New York Rangers 1990 11/223
Bill Lund Philadelphia Flyers 1990 12/235
Eric Johnson Vancouver Canucks 1991 8/161
Jay Moser Boston Bruins 1991 8/172
Dan Reimann New Jersey Devils 1991 9/187
P. J. Lepler Montreal Canadiens 1991 11/237
Dan O’Shea Minnesota North Stars 1991 5/14
Jason Stewart New York Islanders 1994 6/142
Brian Leitza Pittsburgh Penguins 1994 6/142
Mike Rucinski Hartford Whalers 1995 8/217
Matt Cullen Anaheim Mighty Ducks 1996 2/35
Josh DeWolf New Jersey Devils 1996 2/41
Mark Parrish Colorado Avalanche 1996 3/79
Brian Gaffaney Pittsburgh Penguins 1997 2/44
Tyler Arnason Chicago (NHL) 1998 7/183
Ryan Malone Pittsburgh Penguins 1999 4/115
Doug Meyer Pittsburgh Penguins 1999 6/176
Jeff Finger Colorado Avalance 1999 8/240
Matt Hendricks Nashville Predators 2000 5/131
Doug Meyer Pittsburgh Penguins 1999 6/176
Brock Hooton Ottawa Senators 2002 5/150
Bobby Goepfert Pittsburgh Penguins 2002 6/171
Tim Conboy San Jose Sharks 2002 7/217
Matt Gens Vancouver Canucks 2002 9/278
Jonathan Lehun St.Louis Blues 2003 6/189
Joe Jensen Pittsburgh Penguins 2003 8/232
Casey Borer Carolina Hurricanes 2004 3/69
Andrew Gordon Washington Capitals 2004 7/197
Andreas Nodl Philadelphia Flyers 2006 2/39
Nick Oslund Detroit Red Wings 2006 7/191
Jase Weslosky New York Islanders 2006 4/108
Aaron Marvin Calgary Flames 2007 3/89
Dan Dunn Washington Capitals 2007 6/154
Garrett Roe Los Angeles Kings 2008 7/183
Ben Hanowski Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 3/63
Mike Lee Phoenix Coyotes 2009 3/91
Oliver Lauridsen Philadelphia Flyers 2009 7/196
Cam Reid Nashville Predators 2009 7/192
Nick Jensen Detroit Red Wings 2009 5/150
Nic Dowd Los Angeles Kings 2009 7/198
Nick Oliver Nashville Predators 2009 4/110
Kevin Gravel Los Angeles Kings 2010 5/148
Judd Peterson** Buffalo Sabres 2012 7/204
Jonny Brodzinski Los Angeles Kings 2013 5/148
Ben Storm** Colorado Avalanche 2013 6/153
Will Borgen** Buffalo Sabres 2015 4/92
Mikey Eyssimont** Los Angels Kings 2016 5/142
Dennis Cholowski** Detroit Red Wings 2016 1/20
Ryan Poehling Montreal Canadiens 2017 1/25
Nick Perbix Tampa Bay Lightning 2017 6/169
David Hrenak Los Angeles Kings 2018 5/144
Sam Hentges Minnesota Wild 2018 7/210


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