Four prospects with Chicago Steel connections drafted in 2022 NHL Draft

After tying a franchise record with eight players selected last year, the Chicago Steel saw four players with ties to the team taken on Day 2 of the 2022 NHL Draft.

The Chicago Steel-Toronto Maple Leafs pipeline continued with the selection of forward Nick Moldenhauer with the 95th overall pick in the third round. The Mississauga, Ontario native missed the first two months of the season with a mononucleosis-like illness and another month after taking a skate to the face in his first shift back on the ice. Despite the adversity faced, Moldenhauer had a breakout season in his first full campaign with the Steel, scoring 18 goals and 25 assists. His 43 points were eighth-most on the Chicago roster. He will join former Steel GM Ryan Hardy, who was recently promoted to Assistant General Manager, Minor League Operations.

The Pittsburgh Penguins took forward Zam Plante with the 150th overall pick in the fifth round. Plante, who turns 18 in August, scored ten goals and 11 assists for 21 points in his first year with the Steel. As is common with players from the State of Hockey, Plante left the Steel in mid-November to play for Hermantown High School. There, he potted 24 goals and 40 assists in only 22 games, coming up eight points shy of the team lead in points, which his brother, Max, led all skaters.

Fifteen picks later, and the Philadelphia Flyers took left-shot defenseman Hunter McDonald in the fifth round. A native of Fairport, New York, McDonald came over to the Steel in February in a trade with the Omaha Lancers. With Chicago, he put up one goal and three assists in 21 games.

“We’re thrilled that Nick Moldenhauer, Zam Plante, and Hunter McDonald were drafted today,” said Steel General Manager Mike Garman via the team’s press release. “All three of these players have very bright futures. We can’t wait for Nick and Zam to return to the Steel next season and wish Hunter the best as he begins his collegiate career at Northeastern University. We’re grateful to work with so many great young players and know there are numerous other Steel that could have been selected today. Our goal is to provide an environment for our players to develop into pros, and we have no doubt Nick, Zam, and Hunter, as well as their teammates, will continue their work to become the best that they can be.”

Quinn Finley, who played with the Steel during the 2020-21 season, was selected by the New York Islanders with the 78th overall pick in the third round. The Madison Capitols, his USHL club, opted out due to COVID-19-related issues, and Chicago took Finley in the 2020 dispersal draft. With the Steel, the Suamico, Wisconsin native, potted one goal with five assists for six points in 39 games.

Perhaps one of the more surprising notes on Day 2 of the NHL Draft was Steel defenseman Jake Livanavage going undrafted. The University of North Dakota commit was ranked 54th among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting’s final list. Livanavage proved to be an excellent facilitator and finished with a Steel franchise-record 42 assists, including 24 helpers on the power-play.

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