BY WARREN KOZIRESKI —
There aren’t as many native New Yorkers as usual among those projected for the upcoming 2021 National Hockey League Entry Draft to be held virtually July 23-24, but the ones who are listed made huge advances compared to the earlier listing released in March.
Huntington native Matt Coronato tops the list. Originally listed as a B by Central Scouting, he now is listed ninth among North American skaters making him a likely mid-to-late first round selection. The Harvard University commit finished his second season with the Chicago Steel in the United States Hockey League (USHL) where he finished with 48 goals and 85 points in 51 regular season games. The 5’10”, 183 lb. left wing has added 13 points over eight playoff games as well.
Fellow Long Island native (Smithtown) and Chicago Steel teammate Ryan Ufko was listed as a C prospect for the draft, but has jumped to 43rd among North American skaters, which projects to a second or third round pick. The 5’10”, 181 lb. right-shot two-way defenseman had 39 points in 53 games with ten goals. He is committed to the University of Massachusetts next fall.
Rockville Centre product Jeremy Wilmer is also listed at 194th, which projects as a seventh round selection. A small, play-making center with the U.S. National Team Development Program, he stands 5’7” and 141 lb. and will surely add some weight next fall at Boston College. He has combined this season for 53 points in 61 games including 14 goals.
Williamsville native Chase Clark jumped onto the final rankings at 23rd among North American goaltenders. Standing 6’6” and 202 lbs. the lefthander put up a sparkling 1.92 goals against average and .935 save percentage in 22 games with the New Jersey Hitmen this past season.
And Rochester (Aquinas HS) goaltender Grant Riley was slotted in as a C prospect in March, but was not listed among 32 North American goaltenders in the final rankings. Standing 6’4” and 203 lb. already, he split this past season with Tri-City and Omaha in the USHL after a December trade, but did not receive a lot of playingtime. He is committed to Boston College, but not until 2022-23 so he’ll have another year to develop in juniors. Since the trade, he has appeared in five games with a 4.10 goals against average. Some team may take a late flyer on him with his frame.