2018-19: Preseason SWEET SIXTEEN

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O-townClown
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2018-19: Preseason SWEET SIXTEEN

Post by O-townClown » Sun Mar 11, 2018 11:42 pm

This assumes no attrition, which obviously will occur. I reserve the right to adjust as we near opening day!

1.49 - Neck hurt yet? Heavy is the head that wears the crown and again Edina (28-3) is saddled with lofty expectations. Losing Mr. Hockey hurts, but they return talented players in Jungels, Nevers, Brinkman, Vorlicky, and more.

1.51 - Really splitting hairs here. Defending champions Minnetonka (27-2-2) shouldn't have much trouble getting by without Loheit, Koethe, Molenaar, and others as they return Brink, Docter, Luedtke, Glockner. Tied with Edina at 6-1 in the Lake Conference, they also won two head-to-head contests and fared better in the state tournament. There's really not much separating the top two on paper.

3 - Oh so close to reaching the state tournament, Andover (22-6) is poised for an ever better season as they lose McNamara and not much else and return a slew of players plus the goalie.

4 - Shed no tears for Duluth East (25-3-3) who will miss two-thirds of their top line and the Reed Larson winner. Donovan, Paine, Lyle, Baker, and more could be back and - you heard it here first - expect a breakout campaign from the sleeping giant, Jonathan Jones.

5 - If Jack Jensen returns watch out for Eden Prairie (10-15-1) because they don't graduate much. Konin, Erwin, Dietrich, Lesko, and Graen played big roles, but it seemed like everyone else was a junior and there are some Bantams moving up that can halp.

6 - Am I the only one high on Chaska (18-9)? They had a winning record with a JV age team, took out Eden Prairie in the playoffs, and went much of the season without big defenseman Warnert. Pitlick is a joy to watch like sophomores that impressed in the state tournament Brink & Laylin. I think Koster is incredible. Throw in the single best goaltending performance I saw all season from the C/C Bantam in the New Year's tournament and this group seems capable.

7 - From the bottom to the top of the St. Paul private school heap for Hill-Murray (13-13-4). Get used to seeing the Pioneers because of a loaded player pipeline that includes a gaggle of 8th graders on JV.

8 - I really like Cloquet's (17-8-1) chances to carry the northern torch next season. They obviously aren't going to back down from Duluth East and aren't heavily impacted by graduation.

9 - Don't count out any team with Gleason, so expect Cretin-Derham Hall (21-4-2) to remain relevant. Magnuson and others should return, so there's enough talent in the cupboard.

10 - Elk River (19-8 ) could have Perbix, Michaelis, Humphrey, and more.

11 - Bantam success is a great predictor and White Bear Lake (22-4-2) won in 2017. They'll need to replace a great deal of Varsity scoring, but should be able to do so. Will it be enough to get past Hill-Murray?

12 - Ten sophomores on the state tournament roster for Lakeville North (16-12-2) bodes well for a possible return.

13 - Maybe I'm a year off, but better early than never and I'm rolling the dice with Blake (16-9-1). If I had to pick two teams for the 2021 state final it would be Blake & Hill-Murray. Broz, Reid, Miller, Svendaal. These kids looked great in the section loss at PIC to Wayzata.

14 - Can St. Thomas (27-3-1) remain on top ahead of Cretin & Hill-Murray? To do so they'll have to replace three players about as good as you'll find anywhere: Matsui, Foley, Kelly. A big hole on paper at each position.

15 - Maple Grove (13-12-3) has enough high-end talent to improve greatly from what was basically a .500 season.

16 - Another chance I'm a year away by giving the last slot to Lakeville South (14-12-2), but there are enough returning freshmen to ensure a great rivalry with North for many years to come.

Interested in thoughts from people more familiar with these teams and their sections.
Last edited by O-townClown on Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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BlueLineSpecial
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Post by BlueLineSpecial » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:13 am

Fun read, thanks for sharing, OTC. Having spent most of the year traveling I didn't get a chance to see any hockey this last year. Hoping to see more during the upcoming season. Nice to get folks perspective on teams.
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ThatMNHockeyGuy62
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Post by ThatMNHockeyGuy62 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:22 am

As stated, much depends on who stays and goes, but this is a pretty good list.

Tonka and Edina will both be good either way, but if some top players leave early it’s the difference between top 2 in state and closer to 8-15 range.

EP and Chaska have a similar story. Jensen and Koster staying means potential top 5 for each, either of them leaving puts their respective team in 15ish range. Even without these players both teams have a lot coming back. Goaltending could be a question for EP.

Maple Grove could be top 5 depending on how this bantam crop transitions to high school and if Haider stays. Putting them where you have them seems a safe bet before knowing answers to these questions.

You could be missing Rosemount. Good young core and a Bantam AA team in state. They are losing a great goalie.

Overall, it appears 7AA and 2AA could be the big battles again, but with a couple slightly newer teams than previous years. Already excited!

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Post by Section 8 guy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:48 am

You apparently assumed the Northwest quarter of the state seceded to North Dakota.

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Post by ThatMNHockeyGuy62 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:04 am

Section 8 guy wrote:You apparently assumed the Northwest quarter of the state seceded to North Dakota.
You’re right that Moorhead should probably be on this list with Frisch and HH returning, along with a solid supporting cast. That’s about it for section 8 it appears. Roseau could make things interesting.

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Post by Section 8 guy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:20 am

ThatMNHockeyGuy62 wrote:
Section 8 guy wrote:You apparently assumed the Northwest quarter of the state seceded to North Dakota.
You’re right that Moorhead should probably be on this list with Frisch and HH returning, along with a solid supporting cast. That’s about it for section 8 it appears. Roseau could make things interesting.

Bantams may or may not be an indicator......but FWIW Brainerd was rated in the top 5 in the state late in the year in Bantam AA when this years juniors were second year Bantams, before losing out to Moorhead and Cloquet in Regions. Moorhead was in the Bantam AA state championship game that season also, losing to a big chunk of the Minnetonka team that won last night in double overtime. Cloquet finished third that year losing to Tonka in triple OT in the semis. seems like any of those three have top 10 kind of potential.

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Post by O-townClown » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:40 am

Section 8 guy wrote:You apparently assumed the Northwest quarter of the state seceded to North Dakota.
Wrong. Moorhead was right on my bubble. Losing Randklev, Stetz, O'Connell, and Larson hurts when they don't have a lot of proven scorers returning. I loved Frisch when I saw him in the Five Nations almost two years ago.

It's a hard list when you don't know all the programs. My approach was to look at the key losses and returning scoring.

Let me ask you this. On paper are you more impressed with Moorhead or Chaska?

I'll be the first to admit I'm wrong if Wayzata, Moorhead, and others linger all season in the Top Ten.
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ThatMNHockeyGuy62
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Post by ThatMNHockeyGuy62 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:50 am

O-townClown wrote:
Section 8 guy wrote:You apparently assumed the Northwest quarter of the state seceded to North Dakota.
Let me ask you this. On paper are you more impressed with Moorhead or Chaska?.
On paper, Chaska. Looking at head to head this year it was a 2-1 Moorhead game until an empty netter with something like 5 seconds left, and Chaska was without Warnert and Pitlick. Next year’s Chaska team returns everybody and as you mentioned, Moorhead loses some key players from this year.

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Post by ryguyMN » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:36 am

Chaska and Andover will be the two up-and-coming teams from this year to watch next season. They’ll be staples in the top 20 all season.

I’m approaching Eden Prairie with caution as a top ten team at this point, even if Jensen returns. I think they are at least another year away from being top ten material with the incoming group of solid, younger players. They lose Erwin, the best d-man on the team, but Luke Mittelstadt should be able to fill that role if he is indeed varsity ready. I think they’ll have depth issues like this year until the incoming players get one season under their belt. Ben Bullis only played six games in goal this past season and had a 2-3-1 record, so there is a question mark there. I’d put them around the 10-15 range at this point.

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Post by Section 8 guy » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:01 am

O-townClown wrote:
Section 8 guy wrote:You apparently assumed the Northwest quarter of the state seceded to North Dakota.
It's a hard list when you don't know all the programs. My approach was to look at the key losses and returning scoring.

Let me ask you this. On paper are you more impressed with Moorhead or Chaska?.
One comment is that I'd think it's pretty difficult to accurately assess returning scorers when teams played very different schedules difficulty wise. To use your example, Chaskas returning scoring numbers would probably look much different had they played Moorheads schedule this season, and vice versa.

On one hand, you put White Bear in the middle of the list and reference that is because they were a top Bantam team last year and that Bantams is a great indicator, but then completely overlook two teams that had top Bantam teams for the actual classes that will be primarily involved at the Varsity level next season. That just seems a little inconsistent.

Blaine is also a solid candidate here as well with a very good junior class, some high end seniors and a ver good goalie.

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Post by Traxler » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:07 pm

If your predictions hold true section 7 will be very deep again as you have 4 teams in the top 10

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Post by MrBoDangles » Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:47 pm

Blaine should be in the mix.. This group was ranked in the top 5 most of the season when bantams.

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Post by yesiplayedhockey » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:10 pm

St Thomas and Maple Grove could be a little higher

St Thomas has some nice kids coming up from JV

Maple Grove has now made the State Bantam tourney last year and this year.

I think Edina will be there in the end assuming they get good goaltending

Tonka, Chaska, EP and HF all fighting for that one spot will make this conference a fun one to watch.

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Post by Slap Shot » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:51 pm

Early departures could hurt and I don't know how much a typical roster is filled by which team, but Tonka has a team in the state tournament in Bantam AA, Junior Gold A and B, and their JV team only lost 4 games. They do lose 5 of their top 10 scorers but return 3 of the top 4 if everyone returns.

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Post by O-townClown » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:23 pm

Section 8 guy wrote:One comment is that I'd think it's pretty difficult to accurately assess returning scorers when teams played very different schedules difficulty wise. To use your example, Chaskas returning scoring numbers would probably look much different had they played Moorheads schedule this season, and vice versa.

On one hand, you put White Bear in the middle of the list and reference that is because they were a top Bantam team last year and that Bantams is a great indicator, but then completely overlook two teams that had top Bantam teams for the actual classes that will be primarily involved at the Varsity level next season. That just seems a little inconsistent.

Blaine is also a solid candidate here as well with a very good junior class, some high end seniors and a ver good goalie.
For sure. My final comment about welcoming input and seeking comments from people familiar with regions or programs is because of exactly that. When it comes to Chaska, they pretty much leaned on all sophomores and the ones that weren't seemed like juniors. As for Moorhead, I'd say you are spot on from looking at this "on paper" as both lose a lot and return some very good individual players. There's not much difference between 11th (where I have WBL) and the top outside 16 (where I have Moorhead).

Blaine is another good pick if they have the big names back. In the end, a starting point for this analysis was their bad record and fresh-in-my-mind recollection of how badly they got dusted by Minnetonka and Edina.

It's interesting your quibble seems to revolve around one Section 8 team that I have right on the cusp of being listed. The real variable is going to be who leaves and who stays. Moorhead could be #1 with a bullet if all the USHL drafted, NAHL tendered, and NTDP selected kids choose something other than Minnesota HS.

People have noted how many Section 7 teams appear poised for a strong season. I think that's the story of the north as much as whether one Section 8 team hits the Top 10. I don't see 2-3 teams from Section 8 being viable contenders to make something happen at state.

Best of luck to all the schools! Always fun for those of us that love HS sports.
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Post by ryguyMN » Mon Mar 12, 2018 8:25 pm

The beat reporter for the Chaska paper doesn't think Koster is sticking around for his senior year.

http://www.swnewsmedia.com/chaska_heral ... 2acbe.html

ThatMNHockeyGuy62
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Post by ThatMNHockeyGuy62 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:21 pm

ryguyMN wrote:The beat reporter for the Chaska paper doesn't think Koster is sticking around for his senior year.

http://www.swnewsmedia.com/chaska_heral ... 2acbe.html
I think this reporter was just speculating. From what I've heard from reliable sources, at the end of the season (same time this article was written) he was 95% sure he was returning. Who knows though how a spring and probably next fall in the USHL could change that.

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Post by Section 8 guy » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:56 am

O-townClown wrote:
Section 8 guy wrote: It's interesting your quibble seems to revolve around one Section 8 team that I have right on the cusp of being listed.
No quibble at all. You wanted input. Just providing some. No beefs on my end at all.

My comments aren't based on one team fwiw. Just look at my screen name. My guess is that at the end of the day, based on consistent historical results at this age group, 3 teams from the North will fare better than shown above.....specifically Cloquet, Moorhead and Brainerd. Personally, I think it's likely there won't be near the drama in section 7AA as many people seem to think. I think it's Cloquets section.

Time will tell. And as always, It'll be fun!

That's all I've got.

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Post by O-townClown » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:54 am

Section 8 guy wrote: I think it's Cloquets section.
This will be popular with at least one member of the forum.
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Post by WestMetro » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:59 am

I dont see a Section 7AA 2018-19 thread started yet, Im sure it will be started soon , but I will just say it could be a more even 3 (or 4) way race than was the case this year. Depending on early departs .

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Post by kniven » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:32 pm

O-townClown wrote:
Section 8 guy wrote: I think it's Cloquets section.
This will be popular with at least one member of the forum.
Absolutely!!!!!

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Post by hockey59 » Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:44 pm

kniven wrote:
O-townClown wrote:
Section 8 guy wrote: I think it's Cloquets section.
This will be popular with at least one member of the forum.
Absolutely!!!!!
I see Andover as the favorite in 7AA. Aside from one key senior graduating forward, they have their ENTIRE varsity team back, including their goalie. I expect both Cloquet & DE to give them a run for their money & if Perbix returns, ER will also be a factor, but next season is the best chance for a TC team to go to State out of 7AA since Jaremko & ER in 2015

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Post by TheNightman » Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:25 pm


kniven
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Post by kniven » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:03 pm

TheNightman wrote:Hockey Hub's rankings: https://www.mnhockeyhub.com/news_articl ... r_id=32760
That was a fun read :). I can wait for next year. Half the fun is the buildup to the following year.

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Post by TheNightman » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:16 pm

I hadn't realized how insane that Edina defense could potentially be. If Reiners commits to a D1 school they could have all six D1 defensemen next year!

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