AA Preseason Rankings

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moosepaw
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AA Preseason Rankings

Post by moosepaw » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:51 pm

AA Preseason Ranking:
1-Edina-Loaded team, great transfer,
2-Andover-Very good team, losing Jamie Nelson, Little, Pelkey could hurt more than I think.
3-BSM-Most underrated team in the state
4-Holy Family-surprise team of the year, exciting cant wait. Great nucleus of players.
5-Wayzata-Best 1st line in the state
6-Minnetonka-great transfers, still many talented players
7-Maple Grove-This has to be the year to do it.
8-Lakeville South-Best transfer of the year award.
9-Eden Prairie-still many good base of players.
10-Hill Murray-very solid team with great d
11-Blake- will quietly be very tough team


State Tourney winner: Wayzata 2021

j4241
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by j4241 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 12:31 pm

Thanks for starting the discussion - we need more of that here given there are games less than a week away! And interesting choices and comments. You’ve inspired an entertaining diversion for me on this Saturday morning! Here are my opinions.

I'd swap 1 and 2, but these two are CLEARLY in a class by themselves. Elite high end talent and very few holes in both cases. But in regards to your comments for Andover, I think you can make a case Skavnak is an upgrade over Pelkey, and young Hemp and young Mumm probably make Andover's D better this year than last. Your Nelson point is on target though. Given her start at Mankato, it's fair to wonder how much of her passing ability was what made Andover's offense so potent last year. It looks from their social media like Boerger is being given a chance to center Hemp and Krause, and I think that competes for the best first line in the state. Their depth is also insane - a freshman transfer who led her AA team in scoring as an 8th grader is starting on JV, a transfer from NoDak who led the state in scoring as a 8th and 9th grader starting on the third line - yikes!

Edina will be very good. At some point Sami's magic in managing Edina egos has to falter, but she's been amazing so far - out coached every opponent she's faced - in my view only losing (including against better teams) when her goalie is leaky or a super top-end opponent plays out of their minds. Their top line to start the year of Chorske, Conner and Roberts will be very strong, though I'm curious to see how well they mesh, and if Roberts remains in that role. Second and third lines filled with D1 prospects. Clearly the top D pairing in the state, and by a lot (although Guilday is equally clearly better than both of them individually). And if you get through all of that, you have to beat Corneia.

The next crop of teams in my book are Tonka, Wayzata and BSM. BSM will be very good, but I’d put them at 5 behind Tonka and Wayzata. They return basically everybody, which is really impressive, but don't seem to have much offensive punch. Hard to have a tippy top team with D among your top four scorers, unless they are Maddy Wethington level. Peschel is really, really good, but not at that level. They got first line minutes last year so expecting a big jump seems unlikely but if Zavoral, Hoen and Haag can make a jump to more than a point/game level, putting them at 5 will be too low.

I'd put Holy Family at around 8, given my understanding is Kaiser will play JV this year (will be interesting to read the Gophers bios for the '22s in a few years). Blair is a very good goalie, Kelly and Morgan are two good D1 commits at D, two good sophomore D, and a top line of sophomores (with two D1 prospects and a D1/D3 prospect, in my opinion) that are talented but probably not yet strong and fast enough to create consistent offense against top end AA teams. Their depth includes some talent, but that will struggle to contribute offense against the harder portions of their schedule. They will probably steal some wins against good AA teams, though. If Kaiser somehow is able to play, that bumps their skill level up meaningfully, but only to 6. Even with her they aren’t at the Tonka, BSM, Wayzata level.

Wayzata is 4 for me. They have a terrific buy-in to their coaching staff and identity, but they don’t have the best 1st line in MN. I like Branton and Matthews games (who will play with them?), but they aren't the best line in the Lake (Edina), and wouldn't be a top 2 line in single A (Breck and Chisago). Andover's top line will be better, and I'll be curious to see how strong the Blake sophomores look. That said, they get a ton out of them - Wayzata will lean on those two more than most do, they play very well together, and their team seems to embrace the roles they are all asked to play. Very well coached team.

Tonka is 3 for me - a great goalie and the best D in Minnesota is a pretty good starting point for success. They lost a ton of scoring, but still look a little like BSM if you squint - great D and G, but not a lot of scoring punch that's returning. Crawford will be asked to play a Martin like role in leading the scoring - probably not the same level of talent, but a strong player. But they have meaningfully more talent in their depth than a BSM. Sadura taking a step up, Avar (clear #1 '24 in Minnesota, in my view), Distad who can fly and shoot, along with a lot of solid players in depth. 3 may be a little high for them, but I'm a believer in their youngsters, especially since they'll be slightly protected by being tilted more to playing second line roles. They will succeed with a very low goals against average - won't take much offense for them to win most of their games, even against good teams.

Maple Grove at 6 - they will go as far as Tatur takes them, and that's probably pretty far! She's terrific - Quinnipiac will be interesting to watch in the next few years with her and Mobley. Stenslie, Tatur and Retrum are certainly worth being in the conversation for best line in Minnesota (assuming they play together), though I don't think quite at that level. They didn't look like a top, top team in the fall bridge league (in my opinion), but that's probably not a fair basis for evaluation. Return a very good goalie, too.

Lakeville South at 7 - Another team with a potential “best line” claim. Otremba, Enright (transfer, and assuming healthy and eligible to play) and Ryann Wright will be a strong trio, and they return some depth scoring. Goaltending will be new this year. I don’t think their D will be strong enough to contend against top teams, unless they can win some 6-5 games. But I’d put them at 7 ahead of HF given their much stronger top line.

I don’t think the gap is that large between Lakeville South and Holy Family, and this next group, which includes teams like EP, Hill Murray, and Blake, (and probably also Stillwater, and certainly Breck, Chicago, Gentry, and Warroad if you opened it up to an all class ranking - maybe an Apple Valley or Roseau?).

Eden Prairie - hard to put them outside the top 10, given how strong they have been for a long time, but last year they scored 86 regular season goals, and Langseth had points on 63 of them, and there aren’t young super stars ready to step up like at Andover, Minnetonka or Blake. Kuipers is a top-end player, but I’d expect her to generate less offense playing without a talent like Langseth. They are solid in depth, but it will be tough to succeed without more offensive talent to round out their top end.

Hill Murray is tough to count out (like EP), and probably similar to a BSM or Tonka (but not at the same level) - very good returning top D in Franco and Hause, a solid potential top forward trio in Stinnett, Boyer and Stinnett, some depth returning, but not collectively the same level of talent as the top teams. I understand they have a new goalie from China - if that’s correct, she’s very good, and will be a great addition.

Blake has the most turnover of any group on the list. They scored 113 regular season goals last year, and lost 92 to graduation. That is… a lot. But a highly credentialed and regarded new coach and staff, returning all but one of their D (including D1 commits Blum and Kasica, D3 commit Pettygrove, and the next Wethington as a sophomore D1 prospect), a very good (and under rated) goaltender in Haag, some solid seniors providing leadership and complementary scoring - those are all reasons for some optimism. How far they go, though, will depend on how ready their super sophomores (Broz, Higuchi and Morrison) are to score like a top line. My bet is there will be some growing pains, but the answer will be “very” by the end of the season. Depth is a major issue at forward, though. They have a very challenging schedule - probably one of the hardest in the state outside of the Lake teams. They may not get top 11 credit in rankings as they move through this schedule, but should be dangerous in sections against any opponent.

Since you finished with a state champ prediction, I’ll follow suit. I respect you trying to be provocative with yours, but I'll stick with the obvious - Andover again in another thriller over Edina.

slowD
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by slowD » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:34 pm

j4241 you bring up an interesting topic - what would your top 20 all class rankings be?

Eagles93
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by Eagles93 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:43 pm

I love the predictions. Great time of year, glad we're actually discussing this at all this year.

1. Andover
2. Edina
....
3. Maple Grove
4. Minnetonka
5. Lakeville South
6. Wayzata
7. BSM

After that, I could pick between a bunch of teams for the next 3 spots that are all interchangeable to me at this point. (Blake, Blaine, Burnsville, Eden Prairie, Hill-Murray, Holy Family, Stillwater)

Agree that it's a 2-horse race again this year between Andover and Edina. The only thing I see stopping that inevitable state championship game (assuming we're fortunate enough to have a state tourney) is another Brainerd game from a couple years ago with a goalie standing on her head to knock off Andover. Tonka, maybe? Andover losing Nelson hurts but that program is so deep.

South Suburban should be deep this year. Lakeville South should end up on top with Burnsville close behind. Apple Valley could surprise if someone fills Allen's skates, Eastview returns a lot. Can Pellicci carry Prior Lake to a handful of wins?

Langseth was so much of the EP offense. Goergen will have to (and can) carry them.

Looks like we'll know by early February if Holy Family should be mentioned among top 10. As I said in a previous post, they're hyped up every year at the start of the season so I'll wait for them to prove it on the ice. I too am interested to see if a loophole is found to allow Kaiser to play.

Ultimately, I'd be surprised if we see a different final 4 this year than last year. Andover, Edina, Tonka, Maple Grove. Maybe Lakeville South sneaks by Tonka or MG depending on the seedings. I can't see Wayzata/BSM/Blake coming out of the 6AA gauntlet.

Section Winners:
1AA: Lakeville South
2AA: Minnetonka
3AA: Burnsville
4AA: Stillwater
5AA: Maple Grove
6AA: Edina
7AA: Andover
8AA: Alexandria (Roseau loses a lot. So does Brainerd. Alexandria returns most of their scoring and goalies, they'll be my dark horse.)

Annual gripe: Breck continuing in class A is dumb.

j4241
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by j4241 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:45 pm

slowD, for top 20 all class, I'd point out from looking at historical all-class rankings that it's rare for there to be more than two single A programs in the top 20, or more than 3 when Blake was still A. Some years the third ranked A program is below 30 in an all-class ranking. I think you could make a good case for all of Breck, Warroad, Chisago, Gentry and Procter this year, though. Those, along with all the other names listed here, should roughly round out a top 20. I'd be willing to bet there will be some other AA schools that will push one or two of those single A schools out, though.

Eagles, I like your taking a state tourney view (my ranking opinions was not, and I agree it's unlikely Edina gets knocked out of the 6AA state spot). Burnsville and Alex strike me as probably top 20 teams. And I agree on Holy Family.

jg2112
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by jg2112 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:06 pm

My thoughts.

I think the final four this year will be Andover, Edina, Tonka, and Roseau, with Andover repeating.

The case for Breck to move up to AA becomes weaker after Couser, Zumwinkle and the older Lindsay sister graduate this May. I don't think it's out of bounds to suggest Chisago, Gentry and Warroad have comparable/better rosters this season.

The best hockey night this short season will be the evening of the 6AA section semi-finals. BSM, Blake, Edina and Wayzata will play 2 excellent games.

My potentially silly prediction for Ms. Hockey - Jungels, due to Hemp and Krause splitting the vote. But that's only if Jungels and Conner don't split the Edina vote.

bodyup88
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by bodyup88 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:11 pm

Uh, I don't believe they award Ms. Hockey to juniors. How about Guilday?

jg2112
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by jg2112 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:18 pm

bodyup88 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:11 pm
Uh, I don't believe they award Ms. Hockey to juniors. How about Guilday?
From the Breakdown Sports 2020-21 annual girls' hockey digest for Jungels:

"Question: Can you tell us one unusual thing about yourself that others may not know?

Answer: I am planning to accelerate."

Confirming what many folks have heard for 2+ years.

Guilday should be top 4-5 as well.

PhunnsieMcHockeyDad
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by PhunnsieMcHockeyDad » Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:42 pm

"The best hockey night this short season will be the evening of the 6AA section semi-finals. BSM, Blake, Edina and Wayzata will play 2 excellent games."

I'll have to let our Cretin-Derham Hall girls know they've already been knocked out. :wink:

Eagles93
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by Eagles93 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 3:38 pm

jg2112 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 1:06 pm
The case for Breck to move up to AA becomes weaker after Couser, Zumwinkle and the older Lindsay sister graduate this May. I don't think it's out of bounds to suggest Chisago, Gentry and Warroad have comparable/better rosters this season.
I don't think good players will stop going to Breck. No different than BSM, Blake, CDH, Holy Family, Hill-Murray who all opt up.

One thing I've heard, maybe in Breck's defense, is that both the boys and girls have to be in the same class for hockey? If true, I guess I can understand the reluctance there since the boys program is no longer very good. Also, if true, I'd like to understand the logic behind the rule. Also, this is true for Warroad, they should opt up too even if their boys don't.

j4241
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by j4241 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 4:41 pm

No requirement for boys and girls to be in same class.

Direct quote from Breck girls parent: “We want to win a few more title before we move up.” Perspectives may differ on that quote.

moosepaw
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by moosepaw » Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:55 am

Brecks run is over, they might make it to state but it won’t be the same circus they came with last year. The privates are having a tough time with getting the higher end players excluding HF.

jg2112
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by jg2112 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:23 am

moosepaw wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 7:55 am
Brecks run is over, they might make it to state but it won’t be the same circus they came with last year. The privates are having a tough time with getting the higher end players excluding HF.
That's an interesting development to watch going forward. For example, Blake's roster has no freshmen and only one 8th grader and remember, they don't have a JV. I wonder what that roster looks like in 2023-24. Maybe a AA co-op with Breck is in their future?

j4241
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by j4241 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:37 am

Could be. But Blake's new coaches will probably re-build some interest, and the school will always be a top consideration for families that emphasize a top education. Think about this - Edina, one of the best public schools in Minnesota, was only able to get 1 of 3 verbally committed girls hockey players into Harvard in the last few years. If I had an elite middle school player and was interested in helping them use their skill to get into (and be prepared to succeed at) a highly selective school, that would be on my mind. Blake will most likely re-load and be fine.

But if not, and they do co-op with Breck, and it happens in the '22-23 season, it would be fun to watch a 4-1 power play with Kleppinger, Lindsay, Broz, Higuchi and Morrison - that would be bonkers.

jg2112
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by jg2112 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:53 am

j4241 wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 11:37 am
Could be. But Blake's new coaches will probably re-build some interest, and the school will always be a top consideration for families that emphasize a top education. Think about this - Edina, one of the best public schools in Minnesota, was only able to get 1 of 3 verbally committed girls hockey players into Harvard in the last few years. If I had an elite middle school player and was interested in helping them use their skill to get into (and be prepared to succeed at) a highly selective school, that would be on my mind. Blake will most likely re-load and be fine.

But if not, and they do co-op with Breck, and it happens in the '22-23 season, it would be fun to watch a 4-1 power play with Kleppinger, Lindsay, Broz, Higuchi and Morrison - that would be bonkers.
Apropos of nothing, the 2022 Gopher commit Rilee Winters is absent from this year's Blake roster. She transferred over last year as a sophomore from Pine City.

Update: now at Chisago Lakes but not on the varsity roster on the Hub. 3 high schools in 3 years!

I guess this means the Gophers have two junior commits playing JV this year. I guess this is the year to do it....
Last edited by jg2112 on Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

j4241
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by j4241 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:27 pm

I have a feeling the commitment landscape is going to be a lot more unsettled over the next three years then these kids may have been told when they committed in 8th grade. There will be a lot of grad transfers filling roster spots over the next few years at schools like Wisconsin and Minnesota, there will be kids returning for an extra year - not as many roster spots will be available as there would have been pre-COVID, or at least not starting at the time they thought. Conner already announced as a ‘22, Jungels no longer accelerating, there will be ‘22s asked to wait until ‘23, and who knows what will happen with the ‘23 class and beyond.

jg2112
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by jg2112 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:53 pm

j4241 wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:27 pm
I have a feeling the commitment landscape is going to be a lot more unsettled over the next three years then these kids may have been told when they committed in 8th grade. There will be a lot of grad transfers filling roster spots over the next few years at schools like Wisconsin and Minnesota, there will be kids returning for an extra year - not as many roster spots will be available as there would have been pre-COVID, or at least not starting at the time they thought. Conner already announced as a ‘22, Jungels no longer accelerating, there will be ‘22s asked to wait until ‘23, and who knows what will happen with the ‘23 class and beyond.
Yes, agree. Though I think Jungels is needed at MN next fall. They have 7 D this year, lose Brown and Knowles to graduation (5), and might also lose Wethington or Nicholson to the Olympic pool. If the USA takes 1 of those 2, they'll need Zumwinkle and Jungels just to fill 6 D spots.

As to roster issues, don't know if you saw the YHH post this morning, but one of the Helgeson sisters "de-committed" from RPI. I've heard numerous stories of rosters getting squeezed out East because players opted out this year to preserve eligibility (the Fillier sisters not at Princeton, for example). I wonder if this is related. RPI's roster is huge - 28 this year, including 11 freshmen. Only 4 graduating, 1 a goalie, and 5 2021 commits including Helgeson.

j4241
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by j4241 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:43 pm

From what I hear, there may even be mid-season transactions this year (and relaxing ethical standards by WCHA programs about poaching from others - Wisconsin may have a new player shortly). I've also heard the transfer portal is jam packed right now. And I have a feeling all of the top program coaches may be perusing rosters of programs that took this year off. I don't think Fillier is moving, though. And I'd bet a lot she'll be centralized with Canada next year - which means she might play through '24. I think Maddie Mills may be doing a graduate year at Northeastern after finishing at Cornell (if she's not cenralized with Canada) - to pick another example. Lots of movement going on and ahead. If I were a committed '22, I'd be a little nervous. Maybe even '21s (per the Helgeson example - although she's pretty good and RPI is terrible - wonder if something else is going on). And '23s and younger should be prepared for a narrower funnel to D1 programs than in the past, even with the growth in the number of programs. For example, I'd bet that the Gophers and Wisconsin will stand pat in June on the '23s. Maybe add one each. I'd be surprised if either took two.

As to the Gophers, I hadn't considered the roster and that math, but I'd still be surprised if Jungels was perceived as ready to play next year. She's a great skater, smart, good stick skills, wafer thin and will get rag dolled by 22 year olds. And Nicholson getting centralized? Sounds like you're plugged in and may know, but she's looked a little over matched in the couple Gopher games I've seen. A good player, but not a top three D on their team, not the best D on her high school team last year - really a candidate for the Olympics next year? Wethington will for sure be in the pool which, to your point, means they need someone apparently (I don't know her game well enough to predict, but... Helgeson?).

Are we a little off topic on AA rankings? Sorry.

Eagles93
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Re: AA Preseason Rankings

Post by Eagles93 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 6:40 pm

One of you has to change your name, they're too similar. I thought you were arguing with yourself until I looked at the names again. :lol:

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