An increasing number of players from Western Pennsylvania have made it to the NHL. The next crop of local players will eventually get their chance. Wednesday afternoon the NHL Central Scouting Service released final rankings of draft prospects for the 2020 NHL Draft and a handful of local players made the list.
CS named a pair of local players who grew up in western Pennsylvania but have moved to junior teams.
Aidan Campbell, G, Erie Otters
The top local prospect is goalie Aidan Campbell from Seneca Valley, who plays for the Erie Otters of the OHL. Campbell, 17, is a big goalie who is athletic. The 6-foot-5, 188-pound goalie played two games for the Team USA U-17 team this season and 26 games for Erie.
The rookie OHL goalie posted a 10-8-5 record with an .872 save percentage and a 3.65 GAA. He is the 28th ranked North American goalie.
Our friends at Pittsburgh Hockey Digest tell PHN that Campbell is the real deal and has a chance to play professionally, but is raw. Since he is only 17-years-old, he’ll be one of the youngest players in the NHL Draft, whenever it is held. He’ll also have a few more years of junior hockey eligibility.
Austen Swankler, C, Erie Otters
Swankler hails from Irwin, PA. After one season split between a pair of teams in the USHL, Swankler played for Erie in the OHL this season. He had a solid sophomore season away from home. Swankler scored 18 goals and 27 assists in 59 games.
The 6-foot, 185-pound center also has a couple of years of OHL eligibility remaining. He’s ranked as the 200th North American forward, so his draft prospects are probably late round at the NHL draft, at best. However, teams go off-book every year.
Our friends at Pittsburgh Hockey Digest say Swankler is a pass-first center who has the potential to be drafted but will need to improve his skating to play at the next levels.