BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Central Illinois Flying Aces added to its list of picks in the 2018 USHL Draft with a series of trades prior to the start of the two-day event, which begins on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
As part of three separate trades, the Flying Aces acquired two fifth-round selections and one sixth-round pick in Wednesday’s Phase II Draft, along with three additional picks in the 2019 USHL Draft.
Central Illinois received half of those six total selections in a deal with the Omaha Lancers. In a move that sent affiliate forward Jerry Harding and an 11th-round pick in the 2018 Phase II Draft to Omaha, the Flying Aces received a fifth-round pick in the 2018 Phase II Draft, a fourth-round selection in the 2019 Phase I Draft, and a first-round choice in the 2019 Phase II Draft.
Central Illinois’ other trade involving a fifth-round pick in the 2018 Phase II Draft came from the Lincoln Stars. That transaction sent Flying Aces forward Caleb Rule, who posted two assists in 22 games in the 2017-18 season, to the Stars for Lincoln’s 76th overall selection in Phase II.
The Flying Aces’ final move brought in two more draft picks, one in both of the next two USHL Drafts. Central Illinois secured a sixth-round pick in this year’s Phase II Draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2019 Phase II Draft from Sioux Falls in exchange for affiliate forward Lucas McGregor.
With the two recently added fifth-round picks in this year’s Phase II Draft, Central Illinois will now choose three consecutive times in the fifth round with overall picks No. 77, 78 and 79. The Flying Aces also have five first-round selections in Phase II.
The 2018 USHL Draft begins with Phase I tonight at 6 p.m. and concludes with the Phase II Draft on Wednesday. Follow the Flying Aces on Twitter (@ciflyingaces) for live draft coverage throughout the two-day event.
Known as the Bloomington Thunder from 2014-17, the newly-rebranded Central Illinois Flying Aces are a member of the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL). The only Tier I junior hockey league in the country, the USHL has become renowned for developing the next stars of both Division I college hockey and the NHL. At the start of the 2017-18 season, there were 128 active USHL alumni on NHL rosters, with at least one USHL alumnus playing for each of the 31 teams. In total, there have been 253 USHL players who have gone onto NHL careers, including Patrick Sharp, David Backes, Johnny Gaudreau, and Joe Pavelski, among others. The players in the USHL range in age from 16-20 years old, 95 percent of whom will go on to play college hockey at the Division I level. For more information, visit flyingaceshockey.com or ushl.com or download the USHL Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play.