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Kaden Shahan’s Plans Keep Changing for the Better

By Sean Shapiro, 01/15/24, 8:00AM EST


The University of Connecticut commit is set to play for Team White at the Chipotle All-American Game

In many ways, Kaden Shahan owes his hockey career to the Everett Silvertips. 

Growing up in Everett, Washington, his family had season tickets for the Silvertips. He learned to skate as a 4-year-old and started playing hockey a year later. 

For Shahan, the long-term plan always included eventually playing in the WHL. That was the league that introduced him to hockey, and some day he could be the first Everett native to play in the NHL. 

But Shahan’s plans changed when he got invited to play a handful of games for the NAHL’s Chippewa Steel during the 2021-22 season. 

Shahan acquitted himself well, scoring three points in four NAHL games, and that exposure led to him accidentally being scouted by Sioux City Musketeers general manager Sean Clark, who was watching Chippewa footage for another player. 

“I had always promised my mom I would go to school and college, but I was always planning on doing the WHL route,” the 18-year-old Shahan said. “Then I played a couple games for Chippewa, and I learned about my USHL options, and the chance to play college hockey directly and I changed my plans.”

Shahan had 31 points in 55 games in his first USHL season, scoring 20 goals and adding 11 assists. He was a hard-working, effective forward deeper in the lineup who could both create on the forecheck and play smart defensive hockey in his own zone. 

And then this season his offensive spark ignited.  

Through 27 games, Shahan already has 21 goals and six assists. He’s tied for the league lead in goals with Austin Burnevik from the Madison Capitols. 

At the World Junior A Challenge in December, Shahan tallied six points for Team USA as he helped capture a bronze medal. 

And now Shahan will have a chance to prove himself again as part of Team White at the 2024 Chipotle All-American Game on Monday at USA Hockey Arena. 

For NHL scouts, it’s a chance to see what they might have missed with Shahan last season when he went undrafted. He’s eligible again as a re-entry player for the 2024 draft in Las Vegas, and it seems unlikely his name won’t be called this time. 

“It didn’t happen last year, and honestly, I’m not thinking about it too much,” Shahan said. “Everyone has their own path, and it’s about embracing that and finding your own. If it happens this year [with the draft] that’s great, but it’s not the most important thing.”

Wise words from a player who understands that plans change and originally went from WHL visions to USHL leading scorer. 

Shahan will play his college hockey at the University of Connecticut next season, a program that has gained a reputation in recent years for being accommodating and open to giving freshmen a chance to play a large role early in their careers. 

Buffalo Sabres forward Tage Thompson went from UConn to NHL All-Star. The Nashville Predators selected prospect Matthew Wood 15th overall last season out of UConn after a strong freshman season. 

“I saw a program that’s on the rise and one that is giving chances to players like me to be part of that right away,” Shahan said. “It’s also a great school and culture that I’m really looking forward to.”

It’s also a long way away from Washington and the WHL, which is fine with Shahan, who has been happy to embrace change and adjustments on his hockey journey. 

Other Team White notables:

James Hagens: Not eligible for the NHL Draft until 2025, Hagens has been one of the hottest names in USA Hockey. He was the youngest player invited to the World Junior Showcase and is considered a front-runner for No. 1 pick status at the 2025 draft. He already has 44 points in just 29 games with the NTDP and will play at Boston College next season. 

William Felicio: A University of Denver commit who was just traded in the USHL from the Madison Capitols to the Waterloo Blackhawks, the smooth-skating defender has yet to play for Waterloo, but he has recorded 13 points in 23 games from the blue line for Madison. 

Teddy Stiga: Another Boston College commit, Stiga has taken a major leap offensively for the NTDP this season with the Under-18 Team. After scoring just 12 goals in 49 games last season, Stiga already has 19 goals in 32 contests this season. 

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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