KEARNEY, NE. – Five players with ties to the Tri-City Storm organization were recently named to the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s “Players to Watch” list for the 2022 NHL Draft. The list includes three current Tri-City Storm players (Vinny Borgesi, Aiden Dubinsky, Shaun McEwen), one Storm prospect (Cale Ashcroft), and one former Storm player (Hunter Strand). The 2022 NHL Draft will be held on July 7th & July 8th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Six players with ties to the Tri-City Storm organization were selected at the 2021 NHL Draft.
The NHL Central Scouting Bureau is a collection of NHL staff and scouts who rank prospects for the NHL Draft as a service to the 32 member clubs. In this initial “Players to Watch” list, players are given an “A, “B”, “C”, or “LV” rating. A player with an “A” rating indicates a 1st Round candidate. A player who is given a “B” rating is judged by the bureau to be a candidate for the 2nd or 3rd Round. A player given a “C” rating indicates a 4th, 5th, or 6th Round candidate. An “LV” rating (Limited Viewing) is reserved for injured players who have not had sufficient viewings to be categorized. With each updated ranking this season, players will be added or be removed from the list based on their performance throughout the 2021-2022 season. A player not ranked by the service may still be drafted by an NHL member club provided the player is eligible to be drafted.
Vinny Borgesi, 17, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, scored two goals and recorded ten assists in forty-nine games played during his debut season with the Storm last year. Borgesi was signed by Tri-City to a tender agreement on March 31st, 2020. He made his USHL debut with Tri-City on November 7th, 2020, in the Storm’s 5-1 road win over the Sioux City Musketeers. Borgesi netted his first career USHL goal on December 15th, 2020, in Tri-City’s 4-2 road loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers. Borgesi has notched four assists in nine games to this point in the 2021-2022 regular season. He previously announced a commitment to play collegiate hockey in the future for Northeastern University.
Aiden Dubinsky 17, of Highland Park, Illinois, was acquired by the Storm in a trade with the Omaha Lancers on August 24th, 2021. Dubinsky scored one goal and notched eleven assists for twelve total points in forty-nine games played for the Lancers last season. He made his USHL debut on November 13th, 2020, in Omaha’s 5-1 home win over the Tri-City Storm. Dubinsky scored his first career USHL goal on January 3rd, 2021, in Omaha’s 5-2 road loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers. He has recorded two points through the opening nine games of the 2021-2022 regular season. Dubinsky previously announced a commitment to play collegiate hockey in the future for the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Shaun McEwen, 17, of Hadley, Massachusetts, was selected 40th overall by Tri-City in the 3rd round of the 2020 USHL Phase I Draft. McEwen appeared in twenty-five games last season for the Seacoast Performance Academy’s 16U (AAA) team. McEwen scored seven goals and recorded ten assists for the Spartans’ offense. He also skated in two games with the Maine Nordiques (NAHL) during the 2020-2021 season. McEwen made his USHL debut on September 24th, 2021, in Tri-City’s 2-1 overtime victory over the Madison Capitols at the 2021 USHL Fall Classic. He has skated in seven of Tri-City’s nine games played to this point in the 2021-2022 regular season. McEwen previously announced a commitment to play collegiate hockey in the future for the University of Massachusetts.
Hunter Strand, 18, of Anchorage, Alaska, is currently a freshman at the University of Notre Dame (NCAA) and was the only former Storm player who was named to the initial “Players to Watch” list by NHL Central Scouting. Strand was selected 2nd overall by the Storm in the 1st Round of the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. He previously skated for the United States National Team Development Program’s Under 17 and Under 18 teams (Team USA). He made his debut with the Storm in the opening game of the 2020-2021 regular season on November 7th, 2020, in Tri-City’s 5-1 road defeat of the Sioux City Musketeers. Strand netted his first career USHL goal on January 3rd, 2019, in Team USA’s 5-4 shootout victory over the Storm. He scored twenty goals and notched twenty-nine assists in fifty-one regular season games played with Tri-City during the 2020-2021 regular season. Strand appeared in 104 USHL games in his career. He was one of three players to represent the Tri-City Storm in the 2021 BioSteel All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan on April 7th, 2021. Strand has scored two goals in seven games played for the University of Notre Dame this season.
Cale Ashcroft, 17, of St. Albert, Alberta, is currently skating for the Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL) and was the only Storm prospect who was named to the initial “Players to Watch” list by NHL Central Scouting. Ashcroft was selected 76th overall by the Storm in the 5th Round of the 2021 USHL Phase II Draft. He is currently on Tri-City’s Affiliate List for the 2021-2022 regular season. Prior to his time with the Crusaders, Ashcroft skated in multiple seasons for the Northern Alberta Xtreme Prep organization in Edmonton, Alberta. Last season, Ashcroft scored three goals and recorded eight assists for eleven total points in nineteen games played. He has notched one assist in six games played for the organization to this point in the 2021-2022 regular season. Ashcroft previously announced a commitment to play collegiate hockey in the future for the University of Denver.