The NAHL announced the rosters for the annual Top Prospect Tournament on Tuesday afternoon. Two IceRays have found their way onto the roster. Nathan Butler and Jude Kurtas have been selected to represent the IceRays at the event in Pittsburgh on February 7th and 8th.
IceRays captain Jude Kurtas has held his title since the week following the NAHL Showcase in September. While holding that title, the New Jersey native has been a crucial piece to the IceRays puzzle, as he sits in third in points for Corpus Christi. His success is not limited to what he has done on the offensive end of the ice, though, as he has dropped back and play defense for multiple games this season. This will be Kurtas’s second Top Prospects appearance as he was on the 2021 East Team representing the Maryland Black Bears.
IceRays head coach Mike Lysyj had the following to say about Kurtas being named to Top Prospects. “I actually got to see him (at Top Prospects last year). I’ve known Jude a long time, and he’s a worker. With his speed and his skill, he’s that fringe division one guy, and hopefully getting in front of a lot of D-1 scouts, he’ll get an opportunity there. He’s been a great leader for our team, and I’m really happy for him.”
Kurtas is not the only Rays player attending the league’s premier mid-season event. He’ll be joined by forward Nathan Butler. The Texas native currently leads the IceRays in scoring with 27 points on the season. Butler has averaged a point per game over his last twelve games propelled by a four point series in El Paso last weekend. Butler is the lone Corpus Christi player to be named the division’s first star of the week following a three goal weekend against Odessa. This is Butler’s first Top Prospects appearance in his third season in the NAHL.
Coach Lysyj said, “(Butler) has come a long way with his game. He’s really dialed into playing the right way right now, and I think you see that with his point production in the last ten or so games. He’s been a big-time, impact player for us, and he’s got the speed, the skillset to score goals, can create and hang onto pucks. I think he’ll open up some eyes at Top Prospects. I’m really happy for him.”
In the league’s words “The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly scouted events of its kind, featuring almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. it continues to provide the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts in attendance with a look at the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, as well as some potential NHL Draft picks.”