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USHL: Five steals from the Phase II Draft

By Peter Odney , 05/11/24, 2:00PM CDT

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Five players picked in the fifth round or later in the Phase II Draft that could pay off for their respective USHL franchises.

Player: Zach Wooten 
Round: 5 
Pick: 67 
Team: Omaha Lancers

Over the course of his high school career, Wooten has sprouted to a USHL-ready 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, and his production has steadily climbed since he was a sophomore. 

Wooten recorded 25 points as a sophomore for Eastview, then 35 points as a junior. In his senior season, Wooten led the Lightning in assists with 32 and was second in points with 50, as Eastview won 18 games before falling to Cretin-Derham Hall in the Class AA, Section 3 semifinals. 


Zach Wooten, Eastview

Player: Sam Peckham 
Round: 6 
Pick: 92 
Team: Waterloo Blackhawks

Watching Edina's Peckham during the 2023-2024 season, one could be forgiven for assuming he was a senior defenseman with multiple varsity campaigns under his belt. It would be easy to forget that the poised, polished, and patient Peckham was only a sophomore. 

Peckham dished out 23 assists for the Class AA state champion Hornets last season, his first at the high school level. At 5-foot-11, he’s not a redwood, but he’s also not a waterbug. Peckham earns bonus points for captaining the Edina Bantam AA team during the 2022-2023 season, and his ceiling is among the highest of any of the Minnesotans drafted.  


Sam Peckham, Edina

Player: Luca DeCubellis 
Round: 7 
Pick: 96 
Team: Lincoln Stars

DeCubellis's numbers won’t blow you away - three goals and 11 points in 31 games - but he may be ideally suited for the junior game, given his feistiness and competitiveness. 

The Orono defenseman racked up 49 penalty minutes last season and isn’t afraid to throw his weight around, a trait valued by USHL teams looking for a little sandpaper to go with their Husqvarna DM 540i Cordless Core Drill. 

DeCubellis could also just be scratching the surface of his potential. He played top-four minutes as a freshman while playing through a shoulder injury that required surgery as soon as the season ended. If he stays healthy, DeCubellis could pay off big for the Stars.  


Luca DeCubellis, Orono

Player: Brent Solomon 
Round: 10 
Pick: 143 
Team: Sioux Falls Stampede

Since he was a rink rat potting goals for Hometown Hockey during YHH summer tournaments, Solomon has always had a nose for the net and a knack for scoring. Despite missing five games this season for Champlin Park, the 2007-born Solomon registered a team-high 34 goals and could have surpassed 40 had he not missed those five contests. 

Solomon’s production in arguably the toughest conference in Minnesota offers solid evidence that he can score against top competition. Again, despite missing five games, his 34 goals ranked second in the Northwest Suburban, just four behind Centennial’s Heath Nelson.  


Brent Solomon, Champlin Park

Player: Hans Hedlund 
Round: 16 
Pick: 230 
Team: Des Moines Buccaneers

Like DeCubellis, Hedlund’s injury history has played a role in production, as Hedlund’s junior season was cut short after five games for Rosemount. In those five games during the 2022-2023 season, Hedlund notched four goals and nine points after a promising 14-goal, 23-point debut as a sophomore. 

Healthy for his senior season, Hedlund led the Irish to 19 wins and an appearance in the Class AA, Section 3 semifinals, pacing the team in both assists (28) and points (41). He recorded three or more points in a game six times and led the Irish in plus/minus at +32. 

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