Incoming Freshmen Breakdown

College hockey is loved in Minnesota and we all want to know the new faces that are joining our teams in the 2017-18 season. I have put together a breakdown of incoming freshman for all five college hockey teams in the beloved State of Hockey. This year there will be a combined 40 incoming freshmen between the five teams. I will break down each team’s class and give you highlights about each team incoming class. The season is just around the corner, hope you enjoy!


1280px-minnesota_golden_gophers_hockey_logo-svgMinnesota Gophers (7)

Nate Knoepke – Defenseman 6’ 3” 200lbs Hometown: Farmington, MN Last Team: USTNDP (USHL) Stats: 89GP 5G 18A

Brannon McManus – Forward 5’ 10” 180lbs Hometown: Newport Beach, CA Last Team: Chicago (USHL) Stats: 53GP 18G 20A

Casey Mittelstadt – Forward 6’ 0” 200lbs Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN Last Team: Eden Prairie (HS)/Green Bay (USHL) Stats: HS – 25GP 21G 43A USHL – 24GP 13G 17A

Cullen Munson – Forward 5’ 11” 180lbs Hometown: Edina, MN Last Team: Janesville (NAHL) Stats: 56GP 20G 35A

Scott Reedy – Forward 6’ 1” 205lbs Hometown: Prior Lake, MN Last Team: USTNDP Stats: 81GP 20G 35A

Sam Rossini – Defenseman 6’ 3” 200lbs Hometown: Burnsville, MN Last Team: Penticton (BCHL) Stats: 1GP (Torn ACL)

*Mat Robson – Goalie 6’ 2” 190lbs Hometown: Toronto, CAN Last Team: Penticton (BCHL) Stats: 49GP 1.94 GAA .930 SV%

*Mat Robson will join the team in the second semester.

Gophers are bringing in a nice recruiting class but this class is obviously highlighted by Mr. Hockey and first round draft pick, Casey Mittelstadt. Who knows how long he is going to stay there but he will have a huge impact right away for Minnesota. Also, don’t sleep on Nate Knoepke and Scott Reedy who played for USA National Development Program. Both guys are coming back home to their home state and can not wait to wear the maroon and gold.


35ce5f4451d7204b11d856a18f020e54Minnesota State Mavericks (8)

Connor Mackey – Defensemen 6’ 3” 190lbs Hometown: Barrington, IL Last Team: Green Bay (USHL) Stats: 60GP 6G 41A

Jack McNeeley – Defenseman 6’ 3” 185lbs Hometown: Lakeville, MN Last Team: Tri-City (USHL) Stats: 45GP 1G 11A

Jake Jaremko – Forward 6’ 0” 180lbs Hometown: Nowthen, MN Last Team: Chicago (USHL) Stats: 59GP 17G 29A

Jared Spooner – Forward 6’ 0” 185lbs Hometown: Bismark, ND Last Team: Green Bay (USHL) Stats: 56GP 19G 27A

Reggie Lutz – Forward 5’ 10” 175lbs Hometown: Elk River, MN Last Team: Chicago (USHL) Stats: 58GP 24G 23A

Walker Duehr – Forward 6’ 3” 205lbs Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD Last Team: Bloomington (USHL) Stats: 58GP 15G 19A

Dallas Gerads – Forward 5’ 9” 185lbs Hometown: Blaine, MN Last Team: Dubuque (USHL) Stats: 54GP 10G 29A

Riese Zmolek – Defenseman 6’ 1” 205lbs Hometown: Rochester, MN Last Team: Cedar Rapids (USHL) Stats: 45GP 4G 12A

Minnesota State is in-line to have another great year. In my opinion, their freshman class is highlighted by two former teammates at Elk River high school, Jake Jaremko, and Reggie Lutz. Both were apart of the USHL Clark Cup Champions Chicago Steel. Helping improve the blue line will be USHL Defenseman of the Year Connor Mackey, who had an impressive 47 points for the Green Bay Gamblers.


4054_bemidji_state__beavers_-alternate-2004Bemidji State Beavers (8)

Brendan Harris – Forward 5’ 9” 160lbs Hometown: Henderson, NV Last Team: Wenatchee (BCHL) Stats: 57GP 23G 75A

Ethan Somoza – Forward 5’ 11” 180lbs Hometown: Simi Valley, CA Last Team: Bloomington (USHL) Stats: 56GP 14G 18A

Charlie Combs – Forward 5’ 8” 190lbs Hometown: St. Louis, MO Last Team: Wenatchee (BCHL) Stats: 58GP 51G 33A

Aaron Miller – Forward 5’ 9” 170lbs Hometown: Superior, WI Last Team: MN Wilderness (NAHL) Stats: 44GP 15G 25A

Brad Johnson – Defenseman 5’ 9” 175lbs Hometown: Chesterfield, MO Last Team: Fargo (USHL) Stats: 60GP 9A

Tyler Vold – Defenseman 5’ 10” 170lbs Hometown: Andover, MN Last Team: MN Wilderness (NAHL) Stats: 59GP 6G 30A

Connor Brown-Maloski – Forward 6’ 1” 195lbs Hometown: Kamloops, BC, CAN Last Team: Trail (BCHL) Stats: 53GP 15G 39A

Henry Johnson – Goalie 6’ 1” 175lbs Hometown: Minneapolis, MN Last Team: Brockville (CCHL) Stats: 46GP 2.54 GAA .929 SV%

The Beavers will bring in eight freshmen this fall. Two guys that will jump out right away are Brendan Harris and Charlie Combs, who were teammates in Wenatchee and combined for 182 points in the BCHL. Ethan Somoza, from California, is junior hockey veteran and will likely have an impact in the Beavers’ lineup right away.

umdlogo6Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (10)

Mikey Anderson – Defenseman 6’ 0” 200lbs Hometown: Roseville, MN Last Team: Waterloo (USHL) Stats: 54GP 5G 29A

Dylan Samberg – Defenseman 6’ 4” 215lbs Hometown: Hermantown, MN Last Team: Hermantown (HS) Stats: 25GP 10G 18A

Louie Roehl – Defenseman 5’10 180lbs Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN Last Team: MN Wilderness (NAHL) Stats: 57GP 4G 30A

Scott Perunovich – Defensemen 5’ 10 170lbs Hometown: Hibbing, MN Last Team: Cedar Rapids (USHL) Stats: 56GP 6G 15A

Koby Bender – Forward 6’ 1” 200lbs Hometown: Cloquet, MN Last Team: Muskegon (USHL) Stats: 55GP 6G 16A

Kobe Roth – Forward 5’ 8” 175lbs Hometown: Warroad, MN Last Team: Des Moines (USHL) Stats: 42GP 12G 19A

Justin Richards – Forward 5’ 10” 195lbs Hometown: Columbus, OH Last Team: Lincoln (USHL) Stats: 59GP 10G 20A

Matt Anderson – Defenseman 5’ 10” 205lbs Hometown: Shakopee, MN Last Team: Holy Family (HS)/ Green Bay (USHL) Stats: HS – 20GP 5G 21A USHL – 16GP 3A

Nick Swaney – Forward 5’ 11” 180lbs Hometown: Lakeville, MN Last Team: Waterloo (USHL) Stats: 47GP 26G 25A

Ben Patt – Goalie 5’ 10” 175lbs Hometown: Brampton, ONT, CAN Last Team: Notre Dame (SJHL) Stats: 18GP 2.39 GAA .925 SV%

The Duluth will have the largest freshman class of the five Minnesota school. They will bring in 10 new Bulldogs to the group that lost in the National Championship last year. The Dawgs defensemen will be filled with freshmen, likely to dress six or more the first game of the year. Mikey Anderson and Dylan Samberg, who both drafted into the NHL this summer, will have control the back for the Bulldogs if they want to be National Championship contenders again.


stcSt. Cloud State Huskies (7)

Luke Jaycox – Defenseman 6’ 3” 190lbs Hometown: Warroad, MN Last Team: Lincoln (USHL) Stats: 59GP 1G 16A

Tyler Anderson – Defenseman 6’ 2” 200lbs Hometown: Winnipeg, MAN, CAN Last Team: Steinbach (MJHL) Stats: 53GP 12G 37A

Will Hammer – Forward 6’ 2” 210lbs Hometown: St. Cloud, MN Last Team: MN Magicians (NAHL) Stats: 60GP 18G 23A

Easton Brodzinski – Forward 6’ 1” 195lbs Hometown: Blaine, MN Last Team: Green Bay (USHL) Stats: 53GP 23G 14A

Blake Lizotte – Forward 5’ 9” 170 Hometown: Lindstrom, MN Last Team: Fargo (USHL) Stats: 56GP 23G 14A

Kevin Fitzgerald – Forward 6’ 0” 175lbs Hometown: Oak Brook, IL Last Team: Aberdeen (NAHL) Stats: 60GP 22G 37A

David Hrenak – Goalie 6’ 2” 188lbs Hometown: Povazska Bystrica, Slovakia Last Team: Green Bay (USHL) Stats: 33GP 2.24 GAA .923 SV%

The Huskies will bring in seven new freshmen but will look to two former USHL players to have an immediate impact on the team. Another Brodzinski boy is in town, this time it’s Easton. Like his brother, Easton loves to put the puck in the net. 23 goals in the USHL last year, I expect to get a couple this season for the Huskies. Another player I am excited about is Blake Lizotte, who was the captain for the Fargo Force last year. He is a quick and shifty player and will excite Huskies fans with his play.


NHL Draft Picks:

Casey Mittelstadt 1st Round 8th Overall Buffalo Sabres (UMN)

Dylan Samberg 2nd Round 43rd Overall Winnipeg Jets (UMD)

Scott Reedy 4th Round 102nd Overall San Jose Sharks (UMN)

Mikey Anderson 4th Round 103rd Overall LA Kings (UMD)

Nick Swaney 7th Round 209th Overall Minnesota Wild (UMD)


What leagues are they from?

USHL – 23

NAHL – 6

BCHL – 5

MN-HS – 3

CCHL – 1

SJHL – 1

MJHL – 1


Where are they from?

Minnesota – 24

Canada – 4

Illinois – 2

Missouri – 2

California – 2

North Dakota – 1

South Dakota – 1

Wisconsin – 1

Nevada – 1

Ohio – 1

Slovakia – 1




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Bicks’ 5 Teams to Watch (MN HS Hockey)

It is only September and I am ready to talk high school hockey. Last year was great; a regular season filled with upset and surprises, playoffs that were thrills right down to the wire, and a state title game that we saw two northern teams battle it. Can this top it? I think so! This year, I expect some big and historic team (like Edina and Duluth East) to get back to the promise land. But, who really knows it is Minnesota High School Hockey, anything can happen.

To kick off the high school hockey talk, I have my five teams to watch for the upcoming season. Yes, I would consider them my top-5 too but right now it is way too hard to rank them 1-5.

Hope you enjoy and this just the high school hockey fix you need in early September.


Edina Hornets

Last year: 20-7-1 Lost in the Section Finals to Wayzata. Leading returner – Sam Walker 24 goals and 28 assists.



Sam Walker – PC: Sun Current John Sherman

Players to Watch: Sam Walker (SR) – Drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Sam Walker is a force on the ice. 52 points in 28 games Walker has great intangibles to impact the game. Walker is likely to be the Mr. Hockey talk, come season end.


Demetrios Koumontzis (SR) – Koumontzis left after playing for Edina’s Bantam AA team in 2014-15 and has played the last few seasons in the T1EHL for the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes. His return is huge for Edina and just added to the talent they have in their lineup.

Jett Jungles (JR) – Of the many talented 01s birth years in the state of Minnesota Jungles is up there with the best. As a sophomore last season he tallied 43 points in 28 games. I expect Jungles to have an even bigger year for Hornets this season.

Commitments: Jake Boltmann (UMN), Ben Brinkman (UMN), Demetrios Koumontzis (ASU), Sam Walker (UMN)


Duluth East Greyhounds

Last year: 18-9-1 Lost in the Section Finals to Grand Rapids. Leading returner – Ian Mageau 9 goals and 28 assists.

Players to watch: Garrett Worth (SR) – A dynamic goal scorer, Garrett Worth and the Greyhounds might have the best first line in the state this season. Worth had 34 points, including 21 goals last year.

Ryder Donovan (JR) – Ryder Donovan is a 6’3” 180lbs centerman that controls the middle of the ice. He had 33 points last year and was a member of Team USA U18 this summer at the Hlinka Memorial tournament.

Luke LaMaster (SR) – Luke LaMaster is a defenseman that will make his presences felt at both ends of this ice. He had 17 points last season and he is 6’ 1” and a strong kid, he will have a huge role controlling the blue-line for Duluth East this season.

Commitments: Ryder Donovan (UND)


Moorhead Spuds

Last year: 24-3-3 Lost in the State Title game to Grand Rapids. Leading returner – Carter Randklev 33 goals and 27 assists.


jea 1001 lvs vs mh semi aa.JPG

Carter Randklev – PC: Pioneer Press: John Autey

Players to watch: Carter Randklev (SR) – Last year we knew Carter Randklev was a good player but watching him at the state tournament, he was extremely impressive. He is shifty, has quick hands and skates past most defensemen with his speed. Even though he’s a smaller kid, he knows how to get to the net. Randklev had 60 points last year, I think he can tally even more this year.


Kyler Kleven (JR) – Kyler Kleven was an impressive sophomore last year for the Spuds. He had 24 points including 15 assists. If the Spuds want to get back to the State Title game it’ll be young kids of Moorhead like Kleven to have an impact.

Ethan Frisch (JR) – Ethan Frisch has the great ability to make a strong first pass out of the d-zone. He is also not afraid to just up into the offensive rush either. With a strong work ethic, the smooth skating Frisch is only going to get better. He had 20 points in 31 games for the Spuds last year and I expect him to have even more ice time this season for the Spuds.

Commitments: Carter Randklev (ASU) and Ethan Frisch (UND)


Holy Family Fire

Last year: 22-5-1 Lost to Eden Prairie (And the great Casey Mittelstadt) in the Section Finals. Leading returner – Ben Almquist 22 goals and 35 assists.

Players to Watch: Ben Almquist (SR) – Ben Almquist is crafty centerman with good hands that loves to move the puck. He had 57 points last season and I look for him to increase that number this year.

James Marooney (SR) – James Marooney will hold down the blue line this year for the Fire. Last season, Marooney had 29 points in 28 games for Holy Family. He will also wear the “C” for Holy Family.

Garrett Pinoniemi (SO) – Garrett Pinoniemi transfer to Holy Family from Delano this summer. This will be a huge pick up for the Fire. As a freshman forward, he stuck out and had a large impact for Delano. He had 22 points and is a kid with tremendous speed and has a high hockey IQ.

Commitments: Ben Almquist (WISCO), James Marooney (OSU), Garret Pinonemi (SCSU), and Brady Ziemer Sr. (SCSU)


St. Thomas Academy Cadets

Last year: 22-5-1 Lost in the quarterfinals at State but won the Consolation Championship. Leading returner – Ray Christy 17 goals and 30 assists.

Players to Watch: Christy Brothers – Ray and Rob Christy combined for 87 points last season for STA. They are players that can take over a game at any point. This summer, younger brother Rob, was the 2nd round pick of the Des Moines Bucs in the USHL Futures Draft. They both have a bright future in front of them.

Payton Matsui (SR) – Payton Matsui is an extreme offensively gifted player. He had 35 points in 31 games for STA last year. Look for Matsui to be a spark on the Cadets’ power play this season (he had 11 PP points last year).

Atticus Kelly (SR) – One of the goaltenders in the state, Atticus Kelly will likely control the faith of the Cadets season. Kelly plays well they will be an extremely hard team to beat this season. Kelly went 11-2-1 last year with a 1.29 GAA and a .927%.

Commitments: N/A (But this will soon change)

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Potential Minnesota High School 2018 NHL Draft Prospects

Summer is almost over and it is time to start talking hockey again. In my opinion, it never too early to start talking Minnesota High School Hockey. We saw this summer during the 2017 NHL Draft, 17 Minnesotans taken including 9 players that played in the MSHSL their senior year. I have started a list of Minnesota players (players that I believe are staying for upcoming HS season) that I think may have the potential of being drafted in the 2018 NHL Draft. Now this isn’t set and stone and of course there will be changes made to it (Players will be added, players will be removed) but this gives you an idea who just might has a shot at making it to the next level.

For now, I am just going to get you a simple bio on each player. As the season goes along and when I see more of these players, I will go more in-depth on each players’ strengths and weakness.

Hope you enjoy!

EL = Elite League             HS = High School              T1EHL = Tier 1 Elite Hockey League

*List in no particular order


Blake McLaughlin58484ea0b16a9-image

Pos. Foward

Team: Grand Rapids

16-17 Stats: EL: 17GP 8G 11A HS: 25GP 16A 33A

USHL Affiliate: Chicago

College Commitment: Minnesota

Jack Jansen

Pos. Forward

Team: Eden Prairie

16-17 Stats: EL: 20GP 6G 10A HS: 25GP 16G 22A

USHL Affiliate: Tri-City

College Commitment: Minnesota

Colin Schmidt

Pos. Forward

Team: Wayzata

16-17 Stats: EL: 19GP 10G 3A HS: 25GP 9A 15A

USHL Affiliate: Waterloo

College Commitment: Minnesota

Bryce Brodzinski

Pos. Forward

Team: Blaine

16-17 Stats: HS: 25GP 17G 23A

USHL Affiliate: Fargo

College Commitment: St. Cloud State

Ben Helgeson

Pos. Forward

Team: Hill-Murray

16-17 Stats: EL: 21GP 3G 3A HS: 25GP 11G 10A

USHL Affiliate: Waterloo

College Commitment: Wisconsin

Carter Randklev

Pos. Forward

Team: Moorhead

16-17 Stats: EL: 16GP 4G 6A HS: 25GP 26G 20A

USHL Affiliate: Fargo

College Commitment: Arizona State

Jack Perbix

Pos. Forward

Team: Elk River

16-17 Stats: USHL: 5GP HS: 25GP 15G 20A

USHL Affiliate: Green Bay

College Commitment: Notre Dame

Brady Ziemer

Pos. Defensemen

Team: Holy Family

16-17 Stats: HS: 23GP 4G 18A

USHL Affiliate: Des Moines

College Commitment: St. Cloud State

Luke Loheit

Pos. Forward

Team: Minnetonka

16-17 Stats: HS: 24GP 6G 6A

USHL Affiliate: Madison

College Commitment: Minnesota-Duluth

Demetrios Koumontzis

Pos. Forward

Team: Edina

16-17 Stats: T1EHL: 11GP 2G 7A

USHL Affiliate: Green Bay

College Commitment: Arizona State

Levi Stauber

Pos. Forward

Team: Duluth Marshall

16-17 Stats: EL: 21GP 8G 5A HS: 25GP 27G 23A

USHL Affiliate: Dubuque

College Commitment: Michigan Tech

Brehdan Engum 

Pos. Defensemen

Team: Burnsville

16-17 Stats: EL: 21GP 2A HS: 25GP 5G 18A

USHL Affiliate: Sioux Falls

Tyler Borsch

Pos. Defensemen

Team: Maple Grove

16-17 Stats: HS: 23GP 6G 9A

USHL Affiliate: Tri-City

Blaine Warnert 

Pos. Forward

Team: Chaska

16-17 Stats: HS: 24GP 14G 18A

USHL Affiliate: Fargo

College Commitment: Nebraska-Omaha

Griffin Ness

Pos. Forward

Team: Wayzata

16-17 Stats: EL: 20GP 6G 17A HS: 25GP 11G 15A

USHL Affiliate: Waterloo

Jack Bayless 

Pos. Forward

Team: Minnetonka

16-17 Stats: HS: 25GP 5G 15A

USHL Affiliate: Sioux Falls

Chase Hamstad

Pos. Forward

Team: White Bear Lake

16-17 Stats: HS: 25GP 15G 27A

Tanner Glasrud

Pos. Defensemen

Team: Delano

16-17 Stats: HS: 25GP 3G 17A

Ryan Lesko

Pos. Forward

Team: Eden Prairie

16-17 Stats: NAPHL: 11GP 2G 3A HS: 25GP 5G 2A


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Minnesota USHL Team – Rochester Rams

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5 Minnesotan Draft Prospects

As the Stanley Cup Finals begin, the NHL Draft in quickly approaching. On June 23rd in Chicago, many kids from the State of Hockey will hope and wait for their names to be called. It is a moment in which a kids dream becomes a reality. I am going to give you a closer look at Minnesota’s top-5 prospects for the 2017 draft according to the final Prospect Rankings of North American skaters and goalies.

Casey Mittelstadt – Hometown: Eden Prairie – Current Team: Green Bay (USHL)/Eden Praire (HS) – Final Ranking: 3rd

cutIf you live in Minnesota, you have heard the name, Casey Mittelstadt. The electrifying Mittelstadt is the only player on my list to play in the Minnesota State high school league this season, where he dominated. He had 64 points in 25 games for the Eden Prairie Eagles. Not to mention he played before and after the high school season with the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL where led the league in points per game. Mittelstadt could go as high as 3rd in the upcoming draft and the team that takes him will love his complete game his bring to the ice. He is a player with great speed, high-skill, and tremendous hockey sense. Next year, Mittelstadt will be heading to the University of Minnesota, where Minnesota hockey fans can continue to watch his game grow before he makes the jump to the NHL.

Ryan Poehling – Hometown: Lakeville – Current Team: St. Cloud State (NCAA) – Final Ranking: 13th

Ryan Poehling was a part of the Lakeville North high school team that went a perfect 31-0 and captured the Minnesota State Title in 2015. Although Mittelstadt and Poehling are both likely to be first-rounders in the upcoming draft, they took different routes getting to this point. This season, Poehling decided to graduate high school early and join his brothers at St. Cloud State (Mittelstadt had the option to do this too). In his freshman year at SCSU, he tallied 13 points in 35 games for the Huskies. You will notice when you watch Ryan that he has acceleration that is impressive and vision/creativity to become a solid passer in the NHL. He is also a player that will play well in the defensive zone and his not afraid to kill penalties. Expect for Poehling to spend a couple more years at SCSU and I expect his point totals to climb year by year.

Grant Mismash – Hometown: Edina – Current Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) – Final Ranking: 24th

mismash_webGrant Mismash is a player that uses his big body and power to control the game. Mismash laced it up for USA U-18 team and had a great season, which saw him rise on a lot of draft boards. He played in 98 games with Team USA and recorded 93 points including 37 goals. Mismash is a perfect example of a player that loves to go to the dirty areas of the ice to score goals and he uses his size well to do it. We could see Mismash being a 2nd or 3rd rounder come June 23. Next year he will be heading to the University of North Dakota where he fit right in with the style of game that head coach Brad Berry likes to play.

Scott Reedy – Hometown: Prior Lake – Current Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) – Final Ranking: 40th

Scott Reedy was teammates with Grant Mismash for the USA U-18. Like his team, Reedy has an extremely solid frame listed at 6’2” 205. Reedy who is originally from Prior Lake, played at Shattuck St. Mary’s before heading to the USA Nation Development Program. That is where we first saw his offensive skill tallying 125 points in 65 games in his bantam season. Reedy has continued to use his strong playmaking ability at Team USA putting up 58 points in 89 games. Reedy will likely be a safe pick late in the second round or early in the third. Next year, he will be teammates with Mittelstadt at the University of Minnesota.

Jake Oettinger – Hometown: Lakeville – Current Team: Boston University (NCAA) – Final Ranking: 1st (amongst North American goalies)

cut1A former Lakeville North Cougar, Jake Oettinger was one of the youngest players to play college hockey this season but he looked like an experienced veteran in net for Boston University. His play at BU has put him at the top of the final draft ranking for North American goalies. Oettinger’s impressive year included a 21-11-3 record, 2.11 goals against average, and .927 save percentage. He was also apart on the USA world junior team that won gold this year. Oettinger has a stereotypical NHL built with strong mobility. With his stellar year, Oettinger is projected to go as high as late in the first round but in my opinion, he is likely to come off the board sometime in the second round.


Next five:

Mikey Anderson – Hometown: Roseville – Current Team: Waterloo (USHL) – Final Ranking: 51st

Dylan Samberg – Hometown: Hermantown – Current Team: Hermantown (HS) – Final Ranking: 67th

Nate Knoepke – Hometown: Farmington – Current Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) – Final Ranking: 79th

Robbie Stucker – Hometown: St. Paul – Current Team: St. Thomas Academy (HS) – Final Ranking: 88th

Isaac Johnson – Hometown: Andover – Current Team: Des Moines (USHL) – Final Ranking: 97th


If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the 3-part series of 10 players in each class to watch in the MSHSL next year: 





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Ten Sophomores to Watch in the MSHSL

Although the Minnesota High School seemed like it just ended, the hype of high school hockey never stops in Minnesota. I decided to break down the players and give you ten players to watch in each grade. After breaking down the seniors, which you can read about here, and the juniors, which you can read about here, it is time to talk about the young sophomores. As crazy as it sounds, it is the class of 2020. In no particular order, here are ten sophomores to watch in the upcoming high school season:

Garrett Pinoniemi – Forward – Delano (St. Cloud State)

hihtjt4yDelano broke through making it to the state tournament last season and although they had some star seniors on their team, freshman forward Garrett Pinoniemi stuck out and had a large impact. He had 22 points for the Tigers and is a kid with tremendous speed and has a high hockey IQ. The future St. Cloud Huskie is on his way to having a solid hockey career. Hopefully, he is adding weight to that slender 140 lbs. frame this summer.

Jake Boltmann – Defenseman – Edina (Minnesota)


Photo by: John Sherman


People rave about Jake Boltmann because he has the ability to push the puck up ice in the offensive zone using his speed. Last year he had 14 points including 11 assists for Edina’s varsity team. Already committed to the University of Minnesota, Boltmann has good size and will be a force on the Hornets blue line for the next couple of years.

Bobby Brink – Forward – Minnetonka (Denver)

Bobby Brink is one of two freshmen to play on Minnetonka’s varsity team last season. The other was Clay Hanus, who recently signed with the Portland Winterhawks in the WHL and will not be returning to Minnetonka. Brink is an exciting forward to watch who become a leader on the power play last year for the Skippers. He had 30 points as a freshman and the kid has so much talent, I would be surprised if he reaches the 50-point mark this season.

Jake Braccini – Forward – Buffalo

In 45 games at the Bantam level, Jake Braccini had an incredible 140 points. Braccini is a great skater who is always pressuring the puck. As you can see by his stats, he is always a threat to score and knows the areas of the ice to get to. Braccini was selected in the first round of the USHL Phase 1 Draft by the Bloomington Thunder, which seems to be his team of the future but this season he will jump on Buffalo’s high school team and have an immediate impact for the Bison.

Matt Gleason – Forward – Cretin-Derham Hall

Leading all high school freshman and his team, Matt Gleason had 43 points is 27 games for Cretin-Derham Hall last season. Gleason has a great motor and seems to never get tired out there on the ice. With his good hands and shiftiness, he finds scoring areas where he impacts the game with his great scoring touch.

Shane LaVelle – Forward – Chaska

Yesterday I mentioned, Mike Koster holding down the back for the Chaska, well today I’m going to tell about Shane LaVelle, who as a freshman, was Chaska’s best forward last season. Lavelle is a powerful kid that scored 17 goals for CDH last year. He is impressive with the puck and when he and Koster are on the ice together, Chaska is a very exciting hockey team to watch. LaVelle is uncommitted for now but I sense he will be getting some offers soon if he hasn’t already.

Blake Biondi – Forward – Hermantown

Many say that Blake Biondi could have played high school last year but no one moves up early in Hermantown. The kid is dominant at the Bantam level and should be a top-6 forward for Hermantown next season. I love his game and his ability to control the puck using his size to his advantage. Some say Hermantown is a bit down next year but if they do get back to the state tournament, Biondi will have a big say in doing so.

Ryan Mulrenin – Forward – Wayzata

Last year Ryan Mulrenin was just getting his feet wet at the high school level for Wayzata. A solid 11 points in 23 games for the Trojans. Mulrenin will have a much bigger role this season and turn a lot of heads. He is a good skater with a nice shot.

Carsen Richels – Forward – Blaine

Carsen Richels is another Bantam that I am excited to see what he can do at the next level. Richels is a fine skater with good hand and is good at finding the scoring areas on the ice. Blaine will look for Richels to play a big role right away for them and I could even see him playing on a line with Bryce Brodzinski at some point this season. They could be a deadly combination together for the Bengals.

Ethan Haider – Goalie – Maple Grovembe4bu_9

Ethan Haider led Maple Grove to state as a freshman net-minder with a 3-0 record, 1.33 goals against average, and .950 save percentage in the section playoffs last year. Haider has great size, already 6’ and is tremendously athletic for a young goalie. Haider can steal games and will need to have another great season for the Crimson to repeat as 5AA champions.


Honorable Mentions:

Zach Michealis – Elk River

Austen Humphrey – Elk River

Mitch Kohner – Lakeville North

Mack Motzko – St. Cloud Cathedral

Ben Troumbly – Greenway (St. Cloud State)

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Ten Juniors to Watch in the MSHSL

Although the Minnesota High School seemed like it just ended, the hype of high school hockey never stops in Minnesota. I decided to break down the players and give you ten players to watch in each grade. After already breaking down the seniors (Seniors to Watch), next up the junior class of 2019. In no particular order, here are ten juniors to watch in the upcoming season:

Jake Hale – Forwards – Minneapolis (Minnesota-Duluth)m7tqxkmw

When you put up 46 points in the MSHSL as a sophomore you are going to turn a lot of heads. That is exactly what Jake Hale did last year. Hale is the kid from Minneapolis to commit division one since the early 1990s. He has a high complete level with quick hands and is a beast when it comes to protecting the puck. Hale looks to continue to put Minneapolis back on the map this season.

Ethan Frisch – Defenseman – Moorhead (North Dakota)

Ethan Frisch was a big part of a Moorhead team that finished second in the state last season behind Grand Rapids. Frisch has the great ability to make a strong first pass out of the d-zone. He is also not afraid to just up into the offensive rush either. With a strong work ethic, the smooth skating Frisch is only going to get better. He had 20 points in 31 games for the Spuds last year and I expect him to have even more ice time this season for the Spuds.



Photo by John Sherman

Ben Brinkman – Defenseman – Edina (Minnesota)


The talent from Edina never runs dry. Ben Brinkman was one of Edina best defensemen last year as only a sophomore. He had 24 points in 28 games including an impressive 12 goals from the back end. Brinkman is a future Minnesota Gopher with good size and smooth skating ability but isn’t afraid to use his body every now and then. Watch for him and Sam Walker to team up to make for one scary-good power play unit for the Hornets next season.

Bryce Brodzinski – Forward – Blaine (St. Cloud State)

The fourth and final Brodzinski boy, Bryce Brodzinski is a pure goal scorer. He is a big body forward that can make plays for himself and others. As a sophomore for the Blaine Bengals, he had 45 points including 27 assists. An outstanding playmaker, Bryce will be the focal point of the Bengals offense this season.

Mike Koster – Defensemen – Chaska (Minnesota)

Mike Koster was easily the best player on Chaska varsity team last season as just a sophomore. The young defenseman had 35 points, which led the team! He is a good position player who is great at breaking the puck out for his team. The 2019 class is loaded with talented defensemen but Mike Koster might be one of the best in my opinion. He will one day be suiting up for the maroon and gold.

Ben Helgeson – Forward – Hill-Murray (Wisconsin)

Power forward with a heavy shot best explain Ben Helgeson from Hill-Murray. The future Badger had 28 points last year and will be one of the captains for H-M this season. With another solid season, we could see him playing for Waterloo in the USHL sooner, rather than later. He has the size, he has the skill, it just matters if he wants to leave high school early or not.

Jack Perbix – Forward – Elk River (Notre Dame)

The younger brother of former Elk River defenseman Nick Perbix who is heading to St. Cloud State, Jack Perbix is a smart but aggressive forward committed to the University of Notre Dame. Jack racked up 40 points in his sophomore season. Jack has been known as a player that loves the puck on his stick especially late in the game when it matters most. He thrives on being a difference-maker and likes high-pressure situations.

Jack Jensen – Forward – Eden Prairie (Minnesota)

While everyone was excited to watch Casey Mittelstadt last year for Eden Prairie they got to see another young talent for the Eagles in the process. Jack Jensen was definitely an impact player last year for the Eagles tallying 43 points in 30 games. He is a two-way forward that uses his big body well to get to the net. It will now be his team in Eden Prairie and I will be excited to see what he can do now that all the attention will be on him this season.

Landon Langenbrunner – Forward – Cloquet

Son of former NHLer Jamie Langenbrunner, Landon Langenbrunner is a very smart hockey player that has a wicked wrist shot. He known to be a good leader on and off the ice too. Last season, Landon scored 15 goals for Cloquet in 27 games, he also added 18 assists to go along with it. Cloquet is a young but very talented team and could surprise some people in 7AA this year.

Jackson Jutting – Forward – Prior Lake



Photo by Tom Schardin


If you don’t already know about Jackson Jutting from Prior Lake, get to know him. He had 29 points including 18 assists for Prior Lake last season. Without a doubt, Jutting is one of the best 2001 in the state of Minnesota. He is a threat every time he crosses the blue line in the offensive zone. Watch out for Jutting because he is about to become a household name in the state of hockey.


Honorable Mention:

Robert Christy – St. Thomas Academy

Ryder Donovan – Duluth East

Tyler Kostelecky – Maple Grove

Jack Bayless – Minnetonka

Shane Griffin – Lakeville North

If you would like to see the ten seniors I said to watch out for click here.

Sophomore to Watch coming soon!

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