AA Preseason Rankings 2016-2017

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AA Preseason Rankings 2016-2017

Post by karl(east) » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:54 pm

Another season, another set of preseason rankings. Thanks, as always, for coming along for the ride. The first in-season rankings will come out on December 4, so the “schedule” portion includes all of a team’s games before that date.

1. Eden Prairie
-The Eagles have two Mr. Hockey winners in their history, and two state championships; both happened in the same year. With Casey Mittelstadt ready to claim the former, is the latter just around the bend? With a solid core in back anchored by Nick Leivermann (a front-line star in his own right) and improved goaltending, they’re the team to beat, and I say that with a little more confidence than I did in November last year. The forward depth is good but not great, with Jack Jenson a key to filling the hole left by Michael Graham’s graduation. The X factor: can they channel their edgy play in healthy ways, as Wayzata did last year? The schedule is fairly forgiving before it ramps up with the Edina Holiday Classic.
Schedule: 12/1 at Cretin-Derham Hall, 12/3 vs. Farmington

2. Stillwater
-The stars are aligned for the Ponies, with great returning talent on both ends of the ice. The top unit, with Noah Cates and Luke Manning leading the way, should be right up there with Eden Prairie and Grand Rapids among the best in the state. They may be a little thinner than last year, but it’s not a huge drop-off, and they have a capable netminder taking over as well. With a favorable 4AA, they have the easiest road of anyone to a high seed at State, and it’s hard to ask for much more than that. The schedule is a bit more difficult than last season’s cakewalk, though Lakeville South in the first week is their only game against a ranked opponent before Christmas.
Schedule: 11/29 at East Ridge, 12/1 vs. #11 Lakeville South

3. Wayzata
-The defending champs lose a lot, but with a solid defensive core intact, the Trojans should still be able to play that tough, tight brand of hockey that has become synonymous with the program under Pat O’Leary. The scoring probably won’t be as balanced, but if players like Colin Schmidt and Griffin Ness can step into the void, they should still have a pretty potent offense. Their typical tough start should show us if there will be growing pains, or if they can pick up right where they left off.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/25 vs. Maple Grove, 11/26 vs. #6 Holy Family/#9 Edina; 12/2 vs. Hermantown, 12/3 vs. #14 Duluth East

4. Elk River
-This Elks group has fantastic forward depth, and if Jax Murray’s Elite League is any indication, his resurgence could give them a Mr. Hockey finalist. The defensive depth isn’t phenomenal, and their past 7AA struggles loom large, but on paper, I think this is the most complete team in the section. Their easier Northwest Suburban games, which in the past two years were all backloaded, have now been moved to the front, making for some easy opening weeks.
Schedule: 11/26 vs. Champlin Park, 11/29 at Armstrong/Cooper, 12/1 vs. Coon Rapids, 12/3 at Spring Lake Park

5. Grand Rapids
-The Thunderhawks’ top line of Gavin Hain, Micah Miller, and Blake McLaughlin will be the best in the state, and they’ve got one elite defenseman and a good situation in goal, too. The questions begin after that: it’s hard to win a tougher AA section without depth and they lost a very good line to graduation, so they’ll need a few of last year’s role players to step up. Another key is the defense beyond John Stampohar: it’s been a weakness in recent years, but it does have experience now, so if the other defenders can at least avoid mistakes, they’ll have a solid shot at a repeat trip to St. Paul.
Schedule: 12/2 at #8 Minnetonka, 12/3 at Benilde-St. Margaret’s

6. Holy Family
-The Fire are deep across the board, and there’s a lot to like about the way they’re built: they’ll have several solid lines, a very strong defense led by Matt Anderson, and like Rapids, they go two deep in goal. What separates them from Eden Prairie—and perhaps Minnetonka, depending on how their young guns come along—is the lack of some dominant offensive talent. If players like Ethan Mesler and Patrick Reddan can provide that, the Fire will be as good as anyone out there. Still, they have yet to make a AA section final. The Turkey Trot is a chance to make an early statement as to where they stand.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/25 vs. #9 Edina, 11/26 vs. #3 Wayzata/Maple Grove; 12/3 at Hopkins

7. St. Thomas Academy
-The Cadets don’t overwhelm in any one area, but they are pretty good at every position, with two strong returning lines, a few solid defensemen, and an Elite League goalie. If some of the younger forwards can take the next step, they’ll be in the conversation among the state title contenders. No one has an easier road to State, though we said that last year, too; for all the talent, we’re still really waiting for this club to do something of significance in AA. They have two top teams in their first three games.
Schedule: 11/26 at #9 Minnetonka, 12/1 vs. Eastview, 12/3 vs. #10 Lakeville North

8. Minnetonka
-The Skippers are the wild card in the top 10, with great potential but a lot to prove. They return a solid core from a team that (lest we forget) won the Lake Conference last season, and add in some state champion Bantams who will make an immediate impact. But they’ll still face an uphill battle in 2AA, and with a lack of playoff success in recent history, they’re not getting the benefit of the doubt. The openers against St. Thomas Academy and Grand Rapids should tell us how much growing up they have to do.
Schedule: 11/26 vs. #7 St. Thomas Academy, 12/2 vs. #5 Grand Rapids, 12/3 vs. Duluth Marshall

9. Edina
-Offseason losses bumped the Hornets down a ways and drained their scoring depth. There’s an awful lot of young talent on defense, so their hopes likely rest on that core. They won’t be able to steamroll teams the way they did a couple of years ago, but they still have a pair of experienced D-I forwards in Sam Walker and Bram Scheerer, and if that defense jells and they come together as a unit, 6AA is winnable. As usual, the Turkey Trot will give a good bearing on where they stand.
Schedule: Wayzata Turkey Trot—11/25 vs. #6 Holy Family, 11/26 vs. Maple Grove/Wayzata; 11/29 vs. Farmington, 12/3 vs. St. Louis Park

10. Lakeville North
-Henry Enebak and Keaton Pehrson give the Panthers two front-end seniors to lead the way, and while the other big names from their recent dominant run are all gone, they are at least a fairly experienced group. I have them ahead of South for now mostly due to balance, but that could easily change. Their opener against the Cadets will be a good test of their depth, especially if they do decide to play a number of their young guns.
Schedule: 12/3 at #7 St. Thomas Academy

11. Lakeville South
-The Cougars are excellent on defense, with three Elite League defensemen back in the fold. They also return a bunch of forwards, but will need a few of them to step up and shoulder the scoring load if they’re going to get back to State for the first time in five years. The early schedule is not easy, as they face Class A’s top two programs and a top-five AA team.
Schedule: 11/26 vs. Breck, 12/1 at #2 Stillwater, 12/3 at Hermantown

12. Prior Lake
-A year after breaking through into a section final, the Lakers bring back a solid senior class that includes a bunch of solid defensemen, and sophomore forward Jackson Jutting will look to break out offensively. Once again, they’re buried in a deep section, and while it’s possible to see another semifinal upset, making it to State would be a tall feat. They start later than most, and have a fairly tame early schedule.
Schedule: 12/3 at Chanhassen

13. Centennial
-On paper this team isn’t overwhelming, but they don’t need to be to win their section, and this group did have a lot of success in youth hockey. If they can translate that to the high school level this season, they could sneak up on some people and at the very least give 5AA a shot at a first round upset at State. With Maple Grove still on the raw side, this is their window. They open with a road trip to the north.
Schedule: 12/2 at Roseau, 12/3 at Brainerd

14. Duluth East
-The Hounds return just one senior skater from last season, though the top unit is still pretty experienced, and should provide some good chemistry. If a young but skilled defense can come along, they’ll have the deepest blue line in 7AA. Goaltending and scoring depth loom as possible concerns, though neither is insurmountable, and poaching yet another a section title is well within their power. Their first week features the defending state champs, whom they did beat last season.
Schedule: 12/2 vs. White Bear Lake, 12/3 at #3 Wayzata

15. Moorhead
-The Spuds have a couple of quality veteran players, and now add a very strong bantam class that should have them back in the statewide conversation over the next few years. The question is how quickly they can arrive, and an early clash with Bemidji will give us a quick take on the state of the 8AA race.
Schedule: 11/26 at Andover, 12/1 vs. Bemidji, 12/3 vs. Buffalo

The Next Ten

Bemidji
-Graduations sapped the depth that was one of the keys to the Lumberjacks’ back-to-back section titles, but their top unit headlined by Alex Pollock, Brady Tatro, and Chase Hartje should keep them competitive. Their first three games are all against section opponents, so they’ll have to be on their game early for section seeding purposes.

Hill-Murray
-The Pioneers suffered heavy offseason losses, and were thinner than they usually are last season, too. Still, there’s a respectable defensive core returning, a D-I commit in Ben Helgeson, and a hot Jake Begley could pose a threat to Stillwater if he’s on. Still, the Pioneers are clearly the chaser in 4AA right now.

Maple Grove
-The Crimson quietly return a lot of players from a team that snuck into a section final last season, and the youth program keeps pumping in decent talent. Centennial may be the conventional choice in 5AA, and the Crimson don’t really have history on their side, but they’ve got good depth. The Turkey Trot will be trial by fire, as they’ll collide with a couple of top ten opponents.

St. Michael-Albertville
-The Knights return a productive top line, some capable defensemen, and a quality goaltender. They’re not deep, but they may not need to be to win 8AA, and it’s worth buying high on this group with Bemidji down from where it was the past two years, and Moorhead not quite where it will be in the future. This is their chance. An early game with Benilde could help set the tone.

Cloquet
-You could do a lot worse for a dark horse pick than the Lumberjacks, who return a decent number of players and bring in the first wave of several strong Bantam classes that should put them back in the 7AA conversation over the next couple years. They’re probably a year away from being a serious threat, but it’s not hard to see them knocking someone off if the stars align.

Blaine
-The Bengals are in reload mode now that Riley Tufte and Luke Notermann have moved on. The defense is in respectable shape, and some quality incoming young talent should keep them within striking distance in a weaker section. The first week provides a warm-up act.

Burnsville
-Despite heavy graduation losses, the Blaze are still one of the better teams in 3AA, and have a few capable talents who give them at least some chance of skating with St. Thomas Academy. Up first: a visit to Hill, which will be a chance to prove themselves against another team that lost a lot.

Benilde-St. Margaret’s
-Few teams lost as much as last year’s regular season #1, and the early departures on defense and in goal sap what would have been their biggest strengths. There’s still a passable stable of decent forwards on hand, but Benilde teams can be shaky in back even when they have experienced talent, and there will be a lot of growing this season. Early games against other bubble teams will tell us just how daunting their task is.

Duluth Marshall
-A couple intriguing talents here, but they just don’t have the depth to run with the big guns of 7AA. This will likely be an ongoing problem for the Hilltoppers. They have a tough opening weekend, with a road trip to face Benilde and Minnetonka.

Roseau
-Like STMA in 8AA, the Rams have a couple of quality players who could put together productive years. They may not have the depth to get beyond the middle tier of this section, but on a good night they could be a thorn in someone’s side.

And now, the sections:

1AA
10 Lakeville North
11 Lakeville South
-After Farmington’s breakthrough a year ago, this one reverts to the Battle of the Lakevilles this season. They’re both pretty good, and more evenly matched than they have been for a while, so I anticipate a tight race and an entertaining section final in Rochester. With Farmington losing nearly everyone outside the goalie, it’s probably a two-team race. Further south, Rochester Century returns nearly everyone from a very young team a year ago, and should contend for a higher seed.

2AA
1 Eden Prairie
6 Holy Family
8 Minnetonka
12 Prior Lake
-The state’s toughest section will make Eden Prairie earn it if they want that title. With four good teams, seeding is less important than in some other sections, though avoiding Eden Prairie in the semis will probably make life easier for a few teams here. The real questions: how quickly can Minnetonka grow up, and how can Holy Family handle the spotlight?

3AA
7 St. Thomas Academy
22 Burnsville
Bloomington Jefferson
-There’s a gulf between STA and the chase pack here. Like last year, Burnsville and Bloomington Jefferson appear the closest to the Cadets, and Eastview returns a decent core also, though it lacks overwhelming talent.

4AA
2 Stillwater
17 Hill-Murray
-Everyone is chasing a bunch of Ponies here. When was the last time Hill’s odds were this low? Despite the Pioneer drop-off, I think they’re still #2; White Bear is also down, and Mounds View and Woodbury have a few okay parts, but need to show more to be section finalist candidates.

5AA
13 Centennial
18 Maple Grove
21 Blaine
-5AA is now 1-14 at State since 2010. Can someone break that ugly run? Centennial is the default frontrunner, while Maple Grove has some elements that could make them interesting, and if Blaine can reload fast enough, they’ll be there, too. Defending champ Anoka probably won’t be a factor.

6AA
3 Wayzata
9 Edina
23 Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Cretin-Derham Hall
-With Benilde dropping off, this looks like a two-team race between West Metro giants. With two to four regular season meetings before a likely final clash and longstanding rivalries going back a long ways, this should be a lot of fun, and could set up a thriller at Mariucci. Benilde, still probably the third-best team here, looks to spoil that party, as does Cretin; the Raiders lost a lot, but still have a strong goalie and some good upcoming talent, and did it a year ago.

7AA
4 Elk River
5 Grand Rapids
14 Duluth East
20 Cloquet
24 Duluth Marshall
-Intriguing, as always. Rapids has the front-end talent but may lack the depth; Elk River has the depth but needs to prove it in the playoffs; East has the track record but is young, and Cloquet is on the rise but has some distance to climb to join the big three. The opening weeks are tame in terms of section games, but East does play Cloquet and Marshall before Christmas, both of whom have been able to upset East in recent years.

8AA
15 Moorhead
16 Bemidji
19 St. Michael-Albertville
25 Roseau
-This could be an interesting year in 8AA: the top two on paper are clear, but there’s a very deep second tier here, including St. Michael-Albertville, Roseau, the new St. Cloud co-op, Brainerd, and maybe Rogers all hovering in there. With Bemidji down some and Moorhead still young, this could open up some potential upsets We’ll get a very early look at where the Spuds and Lumberjacks stand, as they face off in Moorhead on December 1. The second meeting doesn’t come until the last week of the season.

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Post by GoldenBear » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:46 pm

Well done Karl!!! Thanks for the late night reading After reading your summary...my pick to win it all is St Thomas....Can't under estimate the Vanelli Boys with a good defensive squad and goalie and they took their lumps for two years and are ready to accomplish! Would love to see Wayzata repeat but need to see if Coach O thinks he can run four lines again with or without the talent to do so and concerned about leadership. Will see. Thanks Karl. GB

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Post by edgeless2 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:38 pm

No offense Karl but any line not including CM cannot by definition be the best line in the state. Though it was GR that won the Bantam title in their respective heads up years. It just seems insane the way CM has torn up the USHL that there can be a better line than whatever line he may be a part of. Either way the Gophs sure are looking scary in the next couple years.

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Post by Bonin2121 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:43 am

edgeless2 wrote:No offense Karl but any line not including CM cannot by definition be the best line in the state.
Yes it can

hockeygirl2
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Post by hockeygirl2 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 6:28 am

Great analysis. Don't agree with all of it but it was nicely done.

The GR line is without question the best line in the state with those three on the same line. Wayzata demonstrated last year in the championship game how to knock CM off his game. EP does not have two other forwards in the same category to the talent of the 3 GR forwards. CM is good and will get his fair share of goals but it will be a 1 man line.

PuckDaddy
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Post by PuckDaddy » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:03 am

Great review Karl.

Section 2AA will be tough and it will most definitely be an interesting post season.

To be successful EP must find a way to control emotion and channel that. I agree that the two senior goaltenders will work much better to make the team more cohesive on the ice and in the locker room. Coaching and goaltender consistency will be key this year for EP.

Gonna be an interesting year.

elliott70
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Post by elliott70 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:21 am

FYI

Bemidji's Pollock will be out for 4 to 8 weeks with an injury.
He will be able to skate so his recovery will only be hampered by healing and strengthening of the bone.

redtundra
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Post by redtundra » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:08 am

I will respectfully disagree. Have watched this age group through the years, and have a pretty good feel for the talent AND ability to play the game in this group (they are not the same thing, BTW). For one, we don't know what the lines will be - coaches often do not put the three top forwards on the same line and are not required to do so... More importantly, I would put Nolan Sullivan and Jack Jensen (along with CM) in absolutely the same category as Micah, Gavin and Blake. Jack Jensen is a Wisconsin commit. Played with Blake in the summers on the 2000 Machine. By far the top Bantam last year as far as a goal scorer. Very comparable to Blake in every aspect. Nolan Sullivan is absolutely one of the top 99's in the state and always has been. Just ask the kids. He has never gotten the top honors that others get I assume mainly because he is not your typical flashy forward who stacks up the points against lesser competition. He's just the top power forward in the state who plays 200 feet and NO ONE wants to play against him. As they get older (USHL, College, etc.) he will emerge ahead of some of the other kids who got more points in high school. Also wanted to give props to Karl for an extremely good preseason look. The rankings seem fair and well thought out. I really believe there is no clear favorite, and any one of 8-10 teams could hoist the trophy in March. Again, like Bantams 3 years ago where EP was the favorite and lost to Edina in the 1st round, there's a lot of very good teams but no truly great teams.

hockeygirl2 wrote:Great analysis. Don't agree with all of it but it was nicely done.

The GR line is without question the best line in the state with those three on the same line. Wayzata demonstrated last year in the championship game how to knock CM off his game. EP does not have two other forwards in the same category to the talent of the 3 GR forwards. CM is good and will get his fair share of goals but it will be a 1 man line.

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Post by TheHockeyDJ » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:17 am

Klatt stated in an interview on KOZY radio that the top line will be Hain, McLaughlin, and Miller.
YouTube.com/BarbellMedicine

redtundra
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Post by redtundra » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:40 am

I'm sure that's true. Just saying lines tend to change more than they stay the same throughout the year. And I would put EP's top 3 forwards on a par with GR's top 3 forwards.
TheHockeyDJ wrote:Klatt stated in an interview on KOZY radio that the top line will be Hain, McLaughlin, and Miller.
.

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Post by TheHockeyDJ » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:48 am

redtundra wrote:I'm sure that's true. Just saying lines tend to change more than they stay the same throughout the year. And I would put EP's top 3 forwards on a par with GR's top 3 forwards.
TheHockeyDJ wrote:Klatt stated in an interview on KOZY radio that the top line will be Hain, McLaughlin, and Miller.
.
We won't have to wait long to see em go head to head. EP was salty about losing to GR in the summer tourney at Edina. One of their players was qouted as saying "We'll see in a few months". Only a month away now.
YouTube.com/BarbellMedicine

kniven
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Post by kniven » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:04 am

TheHockeyDJ wrote:
redtundra wrote:I'm sure that's true. Just saying lines tend to change more than they stay the same throughout the year. And I would put EP's top 3 forwards on a par with GR's top 3 forwards.
TheHockeyDJ wrote:Klatt stated in an interview on KOZY radio that the top line will be Hain, McLaughlin, and Miller.
.
We won't have to wait long to see em go head to head. EP was salty about losing to GR in the summer tourney at Edina. One of their players was qouted as saying "We'll see in a few months". Only a month away now.
Good stuff! I'll always pull for 218 hockey. Objectively though......if a team isn't very deep at forward talent wise, i've seen to many times where the top 3 are split up in the lines. EP/GR - which team is deeper in regards to forward lines. Boy oh boy! Having that Head Coach back on the bench in Grand Rapids is huge! That guy is a difference maker for sure. And which team has a bumpier road to state in the section quarters this year? I don't know. 2AA and 7AA seem to be crazy with talent this year. All I know is that I can not wait to see CM and Eden Prairie in Cloquet this winter. That kid can ball!!! I'd have to say Gavin Hain is my favorite player on the ThunderHawk roster this year. And for Cloquet/Esko/Carlton - all the boys on the Lumberjack roster this year are always my favorite players ever! Underdogs again this year - but we'll compete to the end absolutely!!!!!! I am ready for some minnesota high school hockey boys! PS. Thanks Karl for the pre-season write up. You are pretty amazing with your knowledge and passion for your Hounds! I love it! Some day....you and I need to shake hands and say "hello". Maybe talk some Cloquet/Duluth East banter too!

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Post by TheHockeyDJ » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:57 am

Kniven, have you considered decaffeinated coffee?
YouTube.com/BarbellMedicine

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Post by kniven » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:15 am

TheHockeyDJ wrote:Kniven, have you considered decaffeinated coffee?
LOL. Yea I get that a lot...when it comes to Minnesota high school hockey. i actually don't need caffeine during the high school hockey season. I'm pretty jacked without any added fuel.

Bonin2121
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Post by Bonin2121 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:22 am

redtundra wrote: Jack Jensen is a Wisconsin commit.
Minnesota

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Post by @hockeytweet » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:44 am

Good stuff as always Karl.

I like the 5AA prediction, I expect Centennial and MG to rise to the top this year. Maybe 1 of them can break the State Tourney jinx.

It will be interesting to see BSM in an underdog role. How long has it been since they've really seen a talent gap as large as it is now in 6AA?? 7 or 8 years?

I don't usually read redtundra and find myself nodding, but as to the point about Nolan Sullivan for EP: spot on. Thru youth hockey, the one player my son has always said is the "toughest" player to play against is that kid. He just wears out other players. If he has a big year, EP will be hard to beat.

I look forward to the banter between the 7AA board members all winter.

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Post by PuckDaddy » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:55 am

Nolan is a beast and fun to watch. Is always battling and plays for the love of the game. He is a great kid as well. Hope nothing but the best for the kid.

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Post by @hockeytweet » Wed Nov 16, 2016 3:10 pm

How about that Edina Holiday Classic in a month?
#1, #4, #5, #9 teams in your preseason ranking, playing over 3 nights at Braemar!!

Is it just individual games sales? Or does Braemar sell a pass?
It would be fantastic hockey.

Could Edina finish last? Has it ever happened?

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Post by Doc Holliday » Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:17 pm

@hockeytweet wrote:How about that Edina Holiday Classic in a month?
#1, #4, #5, #9 teams in your preseason ranking, playing over 3 nights at Braemar!!

Is it just individual games sales? Or does Braemar sell a pass?
It would be fantastic hockey.

Could Edina finish last? Has it ever happened?
I'm not sure about a pass, but 1 ticket is good for both games each night.

Under the same 4 team format, I doubt Edina has gone 0-3. Other teams used to play in the classic (Jefferson & Hill-Murray in the late 90s), so I don't know about those years. They did go 1-2 last year, so it's not like 0-3 would be earth shattering.

Obviously, things will have to play out, but this could be the best overall collection of the 4 teams, where all of them have it going on at the same time. Seems like usually, at least one of the teams is kind of down. Doesn't appear to be the case this year. Crazy to think Edina, with 2 Gopher recruits & at least 1 other D-I player, plus probably what will end up being more, would be the "underdog."

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Post by WestMetro » Wed Nov 16, 2016 5:09 pm

Great writeup Karl! Very close to my earlier predictions. As you know, I have GR at #2 myself.

Speaking of "When Was the Last Time......" I will add: neither Blaine, BSM, Duluth East , nor Hill Murray is in the top 10, and only 1 barely in top 15 ! (and Im not entirely sure on that one. )

Agree Rapids has the best first line in the state , unless Sullivan and Jensen will both be skating with CM,in which case Id have to think a little more...

I do agree with Tundra that Sullivan is perennially underreported and underrated! There was a time last year for several weeks that he led both CM and MG in scoring, and everyone had to do a double take. Maybe we can also get our friends over at Youth Hockey Hub and Follow The Puck to take a closer look at Nolans production and make sure he gets the recognition that he is due.

West Metro (in the west metro, but not in EP)

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Post by redtundra » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:30 pm

Yeah I saw that announcement today. Does anyone know what happened? Last I knew he was headed to Madison. He can still change his mind of course. Wherever Jack goes he will provide much needed grit at the next level. EP will be a tough out if they can get solid defense outside of Leiverman. They will score the puck as well as anyone. Top offenses should be EP, Rapids and Elk I would think. Top defenses Holy Family, Wayzata and Lakeville South. Stillwater seems like the real wild card. Weak section, I assume a softer schedule than most, but if they can find the balance that others may not possess this could very well be their year.
Bonin2121 wrote:
redtundra wrote: Jack Jensen is a Wisconsin commit.
Minnesota

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Post by gorilla1 » Wed Nov 16, 2016 8:03 pm

Awesome job Karl that was great. one thing for sure is that there are probably 6-8 teams that have a legit chance to win state. Couple more if they get some breaks and everything falls right. Grand has the top three forwards collectively in the state.

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Post by rainier » Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:49 pm

I agree with Karl that GR's main issue will be offensive depth, as they lost a ton of forwards to graduation. However, I am much more bullish on their defense. I think Heitkamp takes a big step this year as a junior, giving them two top flight defensemen, and I think Huson and Anderson are quality players that will be better as seniors this year. I also expect the goaltending to be better this year, which means it will be really, really good.

Yes, the overall forward depth may not be there, but the top end of it may be so good that it won't matter.
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Post by YouthHockeyHub » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:47 pm

thanks for the read...terms like "gulf" keep me coming back. Looking forward to having your weeklies on YHH this year.

I found a flaw (only one) in your report.

You said the Elks lack defensive depth...hmm. Nick Perbix is already a D1 commit, Benton Maas is a certain D1 commit. They also return Mitch Stroh, Taiyo Larson and Logan Gacke - who all have a year + of experience on a varsity blue line. They have a young kid, Joey Foss, coming up who is very skilled. I saw him this summer, he is easily 6 foot 2 and looks very comfortable for a 10th grader.

The only rub on the Elks might be between the ears, not their ability on the ice.

TheNightman
Posts: 572
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 2:41 pm

Post by TheNightman » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:05 pm

I think people are sleeping on Edina a bit, even with the losses that will still be a very talented team.

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