Thursday, January 05, 2012

Four 'Jacks named to prospects game

The Muskegon Lumberjacks are proud to host the inaugural USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game presented by CCM, and four of their own players will take the ice along with the rest of the league’s best.

Jordan Masters, Mark Yanis, Matt DeBlouw and Adam Chlapik will all represent the Lumberjacks franchise Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 7:15 p.m., as the USHL’s top NHL draft-eligible players will share the L.C. Walker Arena ice sheet in the league’s premier showcase.

“Ultimately we’re about developing high end players and getting them to the NHL, with college as a stepping stone,” Lumberjacks coach-GM Kevin Patrick said. “We’re very excited to have four young men that wear our jersey recognized in this way.”

Fourteen USHL teams will send at least one player to Muskegon, but only the Waterloo Black Hawks, with five representatives, will have more prospects than the Jacks at this influential event. The selection process for the players was completed in cooperation with USHL general managers, NHL scouts and decision makers, and NHL Central Scouting.

“Seeing this many of our players chosen tells me that we as an organization are doing a great job developing players toward their NHL careers,” said Lumberjacks owner/CEO Josh Mervis. The four Lumberjacks chosen to participate were all ranked on NHL Central Scouting’s “Players to Watch List” last fall.

Masters, a native of Rochester, N.Y., is in his second year with the Lumberjacks. A hard-charging winger, the 5-foot-10 Masters had 11 points (four goals) last season and has nearly matched that total this winter already; he has accumulated 10 points in just over a third of the season. He has committed to play for the University of New Hampshire in the competitive Hockey East conference.

Yanis, a 6-foot-3 defenseman from Grosse Pointe Woods, is also one point shy of surpassing last season’s offensive production, but much of his value lies in his physical play. The Penn State recruit has accumulated 200 penalty minutes in 75 USHL games, and he is durable despite his rugged nature; like Masters, Yanis has only missed one contest this season.

Michigan native DeBlouw has quickly risen up draft lists in recent months, largely on the strength of his skating ability. The fleet-footed forward from Chesterfield bounced back from serious injury last year to lead Muskegon in playoff scoring and has emerged as a top-line stalwart for coach Patrick this season, contributing 10 points thus far in 20 games played. He will attend Michigan State University.

Chlapik, a 6-foot forward whom the Lumberjacks plucked from the Tri-City Storm in a November trade, has been highly regarded by NHL scouts since coming over from his native Czech Republic three years ago. Now in his second USHL season, the gifted Chlapik was ranked as the seventh-best prospect in the league by the Red Line Report this summer.

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