Skinner, Afanasyev, & Karki Selected for USHL Top Prospects GameDecember 6, 2018
The USHL released the East and West rosters for the USHL/NHL Top Prospects game. The games are to be hosted on the home ice of the Tri-City Storm – Kearney, Nebraska. Among those selected with the honors, three Muskegon Lumberjacks have made it on the roster. The roster includes 2019 NHL Entry Draft Eligible skaters, Hunter, Skinner and Egor Afanasyev along with 2018 NHL Entry Eligible goalie, Keegan Karki. Muskegon is currently 18-3-0 and leading the USHL with 36 points.
Egor has made an enormous impact in the USHL this season. Selected for the USHL player of the week and receiving quite a bit of NHL attention, Egor is a given. Having 26 points in 19 games played, he’s demanding attention across the leagues. A very large power forward, Afanasyev is considered a B-rated skater. He’s committed to Michigan State University, but if selected in the upcoming NHL draft, there’s speculation whether he’ll report to the NCAA or head to the OHL for development. Egor was selected in the OHL’s priority draft by the 67’s but that pick was recently traded to the Windsor Spitfires. If Afanasyev reports to Windsor in January prior to the deadline, he will continue his development in the OHL. No finalities have been announced. According to head coach, Mike Hamilton, he’s staying with Muskegon for the time being.
Hunter Skinner has been flying under the radar to many but is well deserving of the Top Prospects honor. Eligible for the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Skinner is having a big year with Muskegon. Skinner has 10 points in 13 games as a defenseman. Skinner is a B-rated skater, improved from a C-rated the season prior. He’s anticipated to go in the third to fifth round of the draft. He’s a skilled skater and very smart with the puck. Not to mention, very composed. After not recording a single point in 31 games last season with the Lumberjacks, Skinner is making tremendous headway. He’s committed to Western Michigan University – pending draft selection and developmental requirements.
Karki, who became draft eligible in the 2018 NHL Draft, has had a rough start to the season, but he’s a promising goaltender. Battling injury to get this season started, Brandon Bussi has been taking his place recently. However, Karki is a very skilled and confident goaltender. He went 24-16-0 in 41 starts in 2017-18 for Muskegon. Maintaining a 3.20 GAA during the regular season, he also appeared in the three first-round playoff games for Muskegon. He ranked fifth among North American goaltenders in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and is currently uncommitted.