DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints have acquired the first overall pick in Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft from the Youngstown Phantoms. With the first overall pick in Phase II, the Fighting Saints will select Justin Janicke, who spent last season with the National Team Development Program’s Under-18 squad.
“We are very happy to add Justin Janicke to next year’s team. His experience in the USHL and international competition will allow him to make an immediate impact for us,” said Fighting Saints GM Kalle Larsson. “Furthermore, his personality and drive to develop aligns with what we value in Dubuque.”
Janicke, from Maple Grove, Minnesota, finished the regular season as a B-ranked skater on NHL Central Scouting’s list, and is slated to be selected by an NHL club in the upcoming 2021 NHL Draft. The Notre Dame commit posted 10 points in 18 games against USHL competition as part of the NTDP U18s.
“I’ve obviously played Dubuque a lot in the last two years, and I really have enjoyed the atmosphere in the rink and the fanbase and the intensity they bring,” Janicke said. “The Saints have always been a good team. This upcoming year there are a lot of younger guys with a lot of potential returning, and I’m excited to add on to that core. It feels like the right place to be.”
Scouting reports peg Janicke as a tenacious forechecker, and as someone who possesses a high-end skating ability. He spent two seasons as part of the NTDP, and showcased a strong goal scoring and playmaking ability by scoring 67 points in 95 games in the development circuit, and 30 points in 49 games against USHL competition.
He represented the United States at the World Under-17 Tournament in 2019 and helped Team USA capture the silver medal. Janicke also represented the United States at the World Under-18 tournament earlier this month.
“My biggest strengths are my skating and speed, and I like to win races to pucks. I’m a two-way forward who is trustworthy defensively,” Janicke said of his game. “When I gain more confidence, I can score some goals and be really exciting to watch.”
Janicke’s brother, Trevor, also played for the NTDP, and is currently playing at Notre Dame. Trevor was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Draft. His father, Curtis, played four seasons at Notre Dame in the early 1990s.
Phase II of the 2021 USHL Draft kicks off at 1:00 p.m. Live coverage will be provided on Twitter.