Minnesota Discussion: The More Impressive Preseason

Blake McLaughlin, a Grand Rapids Thunderhawk, is University of Minnesota commit, who played this fall with the Chicago Steel in the USHL.

Demetrios Koumontzis, an Edina Hornet, is Arizona State University commit, who played this fall in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League.

Two great players, two future Mr. Hockey finalists, two future Division One hockey players, and two impressive preseasons. But whose is better? Whose is more impactful? Which Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) senior will benefit more from what they did this preseason?

I created a Twitter poll for this discussion and after over 700 votes the results were so close that I had to continue the talk.

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 2.59.08 PM

To recap, in the High School Elite League, Koumontzis had 49 points (16G 33A) in 21 games. McLaughlin, on the other hand, had 7 points (2G 5A) in 8 USHL (which includes 3 USHL preseason games).

The argument for McLaughlin: The USHL is by far the best development league is in the United States and is now considered a top-3 junior league in the world. For Blake, a 17-year-old, to be playing in a league filled with 19 and 20 year-olds is impressive itself but to have an impact by adding scoring for the Chicago Steel makes it even more impressive. To compare, Casey Mittelstadt had 8 points in his first 8 games for the Green Bay Gamblers. McLaughlin is one point off the pace of a guy that went 8th overall in the NHL Draft, yeah I’d say that’s pretty good. McLaughlin could have played in the Elite League if he wanted to, I mean he did have 27 points in it last year as a junior, but instead, he challenged himself to go play with the best of the best in the USHL. He improved as a player playing against bigger, better, stronger players in games and even practices too.

The argument for Koumontzis: The Upper Midwest HS Elite League is a league built for high school aged kids to impress scouts with their skill set. The league has a lot of high-end offense, limited defense, and minimal checking. A perfect league for Koumontzis to dominate in, who is a forward who sees the ice very well and has great speed. Koumontzis took advantage of a league that is a perfect fit his playing style and he exceeded at it at a pinnacle level. He is playing against some of the best kids at his aged and is 8 points ahead of the next point getter, who just happens to be Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, Sam Walker. Koumontzis, who played in the Tier 1 Elite League (T1EHL) for the past few season with Phoenix Jr. Coyotes came into the HS Elite league and showed he’s here to dominate the MSHSL. He has light up eyes all over Minnesota and hockey fans can’t wait to see him in an Edina Hornets’ jersey.

In my opinion, Blake McLaughlin had a more impressive preseason and it not even close. It is a hell of a lot more impressive to get out of the state of Minnesota and challenge yourself in the USHL. McLaughlin did that. Open your eyes a look outside the MSHSL and experience hockey at its highest level. Minnesotans are sometimes blinded because of how loved high school is in the state but seriously it’s time to set out and see what else is out there. Minnesota has by far the best youth development across the country but when a high-end player gets to the age of 17-18 it’s time develop your game at the junior hockey level. The game is different when step outside Minnesota, some people just don’t even know that they don’t realize how different Minnesota is to rest of the hockey world. Sorry, but the high-end junior hockey is here to stay, high-end high school hockey is not. The USHL, the North American Hockey League (NAHL), T1EHL, you pick, its incredible hockey world outside the State of Hockey you just have to let yourself see it. It’s time to take off the blinders that Minnesota Hockey brings. There’s much more to hockey than packing the Xcel Energy with 20,000 fans for a State Tournament.

-Bicks

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Minnesota High School All-Leave-Early Team

A topic many Minnesota high school hockey fans hate to discuss or that matter, do not want to hear about. That of players who left the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) early to take a different pathway in their hockey career, whether that is major juniors in Canada (WHL, OHL, Etc.), the USA National Team Development Program (US NTDP), or another junior hockey league such as the United States Hockey League (USHL) or the North American Hockey League (NAHL). I’m not going to argue about which pathway is better or bash one side or the other but I am going to put together a 1st and 2nd of “Minnesota High School All-Leave-Early-Team”. These teams will consist of the incredible amount of talent that played in the MSHSL and would have graduated this year (2018) but left year to go elsewhere in their hockey career. It is crazy to think about the amount of talent that has left the MSHSL but hope these teams will give you a better perspective on the talent the Minnesota hockey class of 2018 once had.

First-Team

Forwards:

Gavin Hain (Grand Rapids)

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Gaven Hain (PC: Kyle Nelson Grand Rapids Herald-Review)

Gavin was a huge part of Grand Rapids winning the state championship last year but will not be back for the Thunderhawks. Hain is a gifted individual that will leave the MSHSL to play with US NTDP this season. Hain is a commit of the University of North Dakota and is likely to be a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.

Jaxon Nelson (Luverne)

As a sophomore, Jaxon Nelson led the state in points with 113, not to mention 83 as a freshman and 62 as an eighth grader! After that great season, he packed his bags and headed to Sioux Falls in the USHL. Nelson will wear the maroon and gold next year and is expected to an NHL draft pick next summer.

Devlin McCabe (St. Paul Academy)

Dev McCabe had 60 points and was the captain for St. Paul Academy last year. This season, he will take his talents to Lincoln and play for the Stars in the USHL. McCabe is a future Bulldog and might be a late round NHL draft pick.

Defensemen:

K’Andre Miller (Minnetonka)

K’Andre Miller once laced it up for the Minnetonka Skippers but has recently been playing for the US NTDP. Miller is a 6’3 defenseman who is likely to be late 1st or 2nd round selection in the upcoming draft. He will be heading to the University of Wisconsin next season.

Clayton Phillips (Edina)

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Clayton Phillips (Sun Sailor staff photo by John Sherman)

2017 NHL Draft, the Pittsburgh Penguins selected Clayton Phillips with their third-round pick. Phillips is a former Edina Hornet but has played the last season with the Fargo Force in the USHL. He will play another year with Force before heading to the University of Minnesota next year.

Goaltender:

Keegan Karki (St. Cloud Cathedral)

From Sartell, Keegan Karki used to be the goaltender for St. Cloud Cathedral but after his sophomore season to play for the US NTDP. This year he will play for the Omaha Lancers in the USHL and he was committed to UND but recently decommitted. He could be choosing a new school soon or head to the WHL after this season.  He is also a prospect for the 2018 NHL Draft.

 

Second-Team

Forwards:

Xander Lamppa (Rochester John Marshall)

This one might be a little under the radar but Xander Lamppa is an incredible talent that left Rochester John Marshall (RJM) this season to play with the Austin Bruins in the NAHL. He had 46 points for RJM last season and don’t be surprised if he late-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

Dylan Mills (Hill-Murray)

Dylan Mills was a member of the of 2014-15 Hill-Murray Pioneers team that went state, he had 27 points as a sophomore. His junior year he played with the Minnesota Wilderness in the NAHL and this season you can see him playing for the Waterloo Blackhawks in the USHL.

Ben Ward (Monticello)

Ben Ward was the leader and best player of that incredible Monticello team that made it all the way to the state championship game last year against Hermantown. Ward had 78 points for the Moose last year including 14 in the sectional playoffs and seven in the state tournament. Ward will be playing in the NAHL this season with the Minnesota Wilderness and recently made a commitment to play his college hockey at St. Cloud State.

Defensemen:

Mikey Anderson (Hill-Murray)

It is crazy to think I have an NHL draft pick on the Second-Team… The LA Kings drafted Mikey Anderson in the 4th round this summer, and yes he would have been a senior in high school this year. He left Hill-Murray high school to play in the USHL with the Waterloo Blackhawks and earned his high school degree early. He is already enrolled at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and will be a regular in the lineup for the Bulldogs this season.

Grant Anderson (Wayzata)

Grant Anderson won a Minnesota state championship with the Wayzata Trojans in 2016. This season Anderson will be a member of the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL and is a commit of the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Goaltender:

Zach Stejskal (Grand Rapids)

Zach Stejskal, who was teammates with Gavin Hain last year in Grand Rapids, won a state championship and decided to move on. He will play for Central Illinois in the USHL and has made his commitment to UMD to play college hockey.

 

Honorable Mentions:

Isaiah Dilaura Lakeville South  –> Prince George WHL

Jared Moe Holy Family –> Waterloo USHL

Lucas McGregor Centennial –> Central Illinois USHL

Chase Hartje Bemidji –> Moose Jaw WHL

Peter Tabor Holy Family –> Waterloo USHL

James Marooney Holy Family –> Waterloo USHL

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Bicks’ Preseason Top-5 MN-HS 2018 NHL Prospects

High School hockey is just a few months away and we all know the State of Hockey can’t wait for it. It’s preseason, things happen and players change but right now here are my top-5 2018 NHL draft prospects.

 

  1. Blake McLaughlin, Forward, Grand Rapids
Blake McLaughlin

Blake McLaughlin (Grand Rapids Herald​ )

Blake Mclaughlin is my #1 ranked prospects because of his speed and his hockey sense. Blake plays a 200ft game and at the high school ranks, he is dominating. The Grand Rapids native had 55 points (17 goals and 38 assists) for the Thunderhawks last season on their way to winning a state title. Blake is a player that is not afraid to get to the dirty areas on the ice. He works hard in the corners with the ability to escape anyone and will scrap and grind with the best of them in front of the next. This summer Blake represented Team-USA U18 in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament, where he had three points in four games. Blake is an affiliate with the Chicago Steel in the USHL where he is playing before and after the high school season. Blake is a commit of the University of Minnesota and will likely join the Gophers next season.

2. Jack Jensen, Forward, Eden Prairie

 

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PC: Rick Olsen EdenPrairieNews.com

Jack Jensen was teammates with McLaughlin of Team USA in the Hlinka Tournament and McLaughlin’s Grand Rapids team defeated Jensen’s Eden Prairie team in the state semifinals. Jack produced 40 points (17 goals 23 assists) for the Eagles last season. He is a big frame (6-2 195) kids that uses his body well in all aspects of the game. Jack is a prime example of a power forward who has impressive offensive skills. Currently, he is playing is HS Elite League where he has 13 points in eight games. Jack is a draft pick of Tri-City in the USHL and will likely play there next season before heading to the University of Minnesota.

 

3. Jack Perbix, Forward, Elk River

Jack Perbix is quick forward who has incredible vision/hockey sense and has the ability to make elite-level passes to an open teammate. Now he has size too, 6-1 180 there’s no pushing around this kid on the ice. Perbix had 40 points (17 goals 23 assists) last season for the Elk River Elks. Now, a member of Team Northwest in the HS Elite League he has 12 points in seven games. Perbix is a commit of Notre Dame and draft pick of Green Bay in the USHL. Expect for him to head to Green Bay after the high school season is over and depending on how he does there will decide how fast he heads to South Bend.

4. Ben Helgeson, Forward, Hill-Murray

Ben Helgeson is another power forward on to add to the list. Ben best skill is his shoot, he has a rocket. Last season for the Hill-Murray Pioneers, Ben had 28 points (13 goals 15 assists) was a huge factor in H-M getting to the state tournament. He’s a draft pick of Waterloo in the USHL and we likely head there before crossing on over into Wisconsin where he is committed. Ben also playing in the HS Elite League where he has six points for Team Southeast.

5. Demetrios Koumontzis, Forward, Edina

Demetrios Koumontzis is a newcomer to Minnesota high school hockey. He has spent the last two season Phoenix Jr. Coyotes in the T1EHL (Tier 1 Elite Hockey League). He is a native of Edina and decided to come back for his senior year. Demetrios has high-end offensive skills and his first three strides might be the best in high school hockey. He is leading the HS Elite League in points, with an impressive 21 points in nine games. He a player that can take over a game when he wants to and will be a huge lift to already stacked Edina Hornets lineup. Demetrios is a draft pick of Green Bay in the USHL and is committed to Arizona State University.

Honorable Mention:

Colin Schmidt, Wayzata

Luke Loheit, Minnetonka

Bryce Brodzinski, Blaine

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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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