Both set to join the Eagles in 2022, center Matt Argentina and defenseman Lukas Gustafsson head into this year’s NHL Draft hoping to be picked up by teams in late rounds.
Matt Argentina is currently projected to be on the bubble, potentially being picked up in the late 7th round. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked #173 amongst North American skaters.
Argentina, a 5’10 center, plays for the USHL’s Waterloo Black Hawks. He recorded 19 points last season, which included doubling his assists total from 6 to 12. Between his low offensive numbers and his trouble staying out of the penalty box (he had 87 PIM last year), NHL teams may see him as too much of a project at this point. However, he’s a tough player who isn’t afraid to get gritty, so if he can prove that he can play physically while not taking unnecessary penalties, he could be a good get for a team that needs 4th line talent.
Lukas Gustafsson is another player who has a chance of getting picked up in late round. The son of former UMaine forward Marcus Gustafsson is a 5’11 defenseman who split last season between Cushing Academy (where he was captain) and the USHL’s Chicago Steel.
Gustafsson played just 18 regular season games in 2020-21, but in 2019-20 he recorded 15 goals and 29 assists for Cushing, giving him 44 points in 34 games. He is a strong two-way defenseman who, despite his smaller size, could add a lot to a team that wants some scoring defense.
If Gustafsson and Argentina are looked over in their draft eligible years, they both are the type of players who are likely to be signed by teams upon graduation.