2019 Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament
Steve Kournianos | 3/12/2019 | Nashville |
Greenway (Class A)
C/W Donte Lawson (2019 Draft | 5’10, 170 | Nov. 3, 2000 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
You’d be hard pressed to find a better story about a draft prospect than the yarn spun in early March by this magical puck dynamo, who single-handedly carried Greenway to not only its first state appearance since 2001, but all the way to the title game before bowing out to Cathedral. Lawson’s numbers during his team’s run is nothing short of mind-numbing — 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points, plus winning 63 percent of his draws in the six games. He was an easy choice for the Herb Brooks Award that is given to the tournament MVP, and it’s only a matter of time before he gets a well-deserved scholarship offer from a Division I program. Lawson’s elusiveness, playmaking, hockey sense and hand skills combine to form an unstoppable package that helps him get as close to the goal as possible. He owns a beautiful shot that he roofs from in tight via either side of the blade. Lawson’s speed and agility afford him a sizable cushion from defenders, who by the second period are backed in as far as their own circles every time he tries to enter the zone. He may not be the biggest kid on the ice, but Lawson plays with a lot of heart and his strong balance seems to surprise the bigger defenders who can’t knock him off the puck after multiple shoves.
RW Ben Troumbly (2020 Draft | 5’5, 130 | Nov. 21, 2001 | Shoots Right | NCAA: St. Cloud State)
The hero of the overtime win over top-seeded Mahtomedi is proving to be a dangerous forward playing amongst bigger opponents. He possesses a high IQ and very good speed, and his decision making off the rush leads to more scoring chances than not. Troumbly, a St. Cloud State recruit, generates a lot of power on his booming shot without requiring much backswing. He has very soft hands and good coordination to transition from skate to stick in an split second. Troumbly is an intense competitor who can dominate shifts. If he isn’t shooting or creating chances for his linemates, Troumbly will throw his weight around and apply intense pressure on the puck.
St. Cloud Cathedral (Class A)
C Jack Smith (2020 Draft | 5’11, 174 | July 6, 2002 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Minnesota-Duluth)
The complete package when it comes to high school standouts — quick, skilled, physical, competitive and incredibly smart. Earlier last year, Smith was invited to the NTDP U17 program but turned down the offer for another crack at a state title. The decision turned out to be a smart one, as the talented center led St. Cloud Cathedral to a 5-2 win the Class A title game against Greenway. Smith is a tremendous stickhandler and a beast on the puck, and his ability to deke, dangle and weave his way around traffic inside or out eventually creates swaths of open ice inside the offensive zone. He has a sweet set of hands and can fire pucks to the corners right off the pass, and his shots create rebound issues for goalies regardless of whether or not they can see them. Smith likes to throw his weight around, and his body checks pack a wallop for a player listed under 180 pounds. One thing that helped boost Smith’s draft stock was his dominant play while equally-talented teammate Nate Warner missed a good chunk of the season with an upper-body injury.
#TheTourney19: Beautiful touch by SCSU commit Jack Smith (2020/2002). Cathedral widens its lead to 4-2 heading into the second intermission.
Extended and elevated off the pass — incredibly difficult and I wish more players at every level tried doing this more than teeing it up. pic.twitter.com/iOrWXVqp2x
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) March 9, 2019
C/LW Nate Warner (2019 Draft | 6’0, 180 | Sep. 3, 2001 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Minnesota)
A quiet leader and key offensive player whose influence on play development radiates throughout every square inch of the ice. Teams have to get up real early in the morning to try and slow down this Minnesota-bound weapon, who bounced back from a lengthy stint on the disabled list from an upper-body injury to become one of the top players in the tournament. Warner has excellent instincts and is reliable around the net, but he does most of his damage as an open-ice assassin who uses top-end speed and sharp directional changes to expand the ice for his team. Warner can be the focal point on the power play, but he knows how to share the puck and allow his equally-talented linemates to dictate the flow of a given shift. This ability to switch from playmaker to finisher is one of several reasons why the Gophers see him as a possible cornerstone piece. He runs the first unit on the power play but also is a very good penalty killer who creates shorthanded scoring chances.
Edina (Class AA)
C Mason Nevers (2019 Draft | 5’9, 165 | Apr. 3, 2000 | Shoots Right| NCAA: Minnesota)
A crafty and elusive pass-first center who is the driving force behind the state’s premier three-man unit, Nevers is an offensive forward who can beat an opponent with his speed or from a completely static position inside the offensive zone. He has quick feet and displays confidence while stickhandling under pressure, thus allowing him to slice right into the optimal scoring areas for a cleaner look at the net. Nevers from the middle of the ice is a tough opponent to telegraph because he has very good peripheral vision to no-look a pass to an open linemate on either side of the goal. His quick-strike mindset keeps him driving to the net and looking to create chances immediately off of offensive-zone faceoffs. Nevers and his linemates mastered the art of the give and go, and the precision of his passes from in close led to multiple tap-ins into a yawning cage. There is more to his game than offense, however, as he takes a fair amount of defensive-zone draws and also anchors the top penalty killing unit.
LW Jett Jungels (2019 Draft | 5’9, 161 | July 14, 2000 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Northern Michigan)
An explosive skater with a pro-level shot and release, Jungels was part of Edina’s vaunted “BLITS Line” that sliced through competition like a hot knife through butter. He is a high-volume shooter from the wing but can also be a pass-first playmaker who uses his agility and quickness to hang on to the puck for extended periods before slipping a backdoor pass to a cutter. Still, the best way to classify Jungels is as a goal-scoring winger; one who likes to unload pucks at the net from any angle no matter the situation. Jungels is by no means a puck hog, and his shots always appear to be of the high-percentage variety, even if he fires pucks in his feet or if overextended. He has outstanding chemistry with his linemates and senses their presence either on the rush or during extended cycles inside the offensive zone. Jungles sees the ice on an elite level and can be counted on to make the right decision during a breakout or odd-man rush. He likes to set up inside the circles on the power play but can also run the unit from the half wall. He plays moderately physical and uses his quickness to avoid contact, especially in the corners, but he is an aggressive penalty killer who will get down to block shots. Playing on a line where all three forwards are of the diminutive variety is common for top scorers in high school, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the physicality of the college game.
RW Liam Malmquist (2019 Draft | 5’9, 160 | Oct. 8, 2000 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
A dizzying first-line goal scorer blessed with the clutch gene whose overall game radiates from his speed and quickness, Malmquist’s ability to combine top-end speed with a devastatingly accurate shot makes him a threat every time on the ice. There are dozens upon dozens of high-school varsity players who fill the scoresheet withy ease. But Malmquist is the type who doesn’t sit back and let the terms be dictated to him — he loves to be involved in every play and earns a lot of his fortunes through a high compete level, keen anticipation and an understanding of play development. He is an incredibly hard worker who is used in all situations. Whether it’s on the power play, penalty kill or at even strength, Malmquist can be counted on as a scoring threat that will also provide support for his defensemen; hustle on the backcheck and apply pressure on the forecheck. He is very strong on his skates considering his size, and he is tough to knock off balance when he makes sharp directional changes towards the inside. Malmquist plays with his head up as he takes the puck wide and displays strong edges on his glide leg, and delivers crisp, accurate passes while on the move. Truth be told, Malmquist’s finishing abilities serve as his bread and butter. He can score with the wrister, slapper or backhander, plus roof the puck from in tight.
RHD Jake Boltmann (2020 Draft | 6’1, 185 | Oct. 19, 2001 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Minnesota)
A smothering defenseman with very good mobility and a powerful upper body, Boltmann is an athletic puck rusher who knows when to turn the switch on and off from mashing opponents to jumpstarting the attack. Boltmann can be a mean, tough matchup for opposing top players, but he’s proven to be able to beat them with his wheels as well. He had to defer most of the puck-carrying duties to senior Mike Vorlicky, as well as minute-eating forwards Mason Nevers, Jett Jungels and Liam Malmquist. The fact that Boltmann as a junior on a state-winning squad was able to distinguish himself in all three zones proves how high his upside is. He was used as a net-front presence on the power play, but he also unloads a cannon of a shot from the point. It’s rare for such a young defenseman to be impactful in any part of the rink, but Boltmann’s thunderous hits and end-to-end rushes should place him on the upper tier of draft-eligible defensemen for the 2019 draft.
RHD Mike Vorlicky (2019 Draft | 6’1, 175 | July 17, 2000 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Wisconsin)
A quick and heady two-way defenseman who served as the captain and leader of Edina’s march to the state title. Vorlicky provided balance and stability to an attack fueled by a deep group of forwards. Vorlicky’s excellent skating abilities beyond his straight-line speed helps his maintain control of the pace of a given contest. He definitely is an on-ice general who makes a habit of keeping the puck on the good side of the red line. Vorilicky’s speed and quick feet come into play when he defends against one-on-one and odd-man scenarios. He maintains an incredibly tight gap and has excellent closing speed, and rarely will you ever see him look at the puck. These timing traits when combined with his high hockey IQ and first-step quickness leads to multiple counterattacks per game. Vorlicky anchors the top penalty-killing and power-play units. He patrols below the circles with confidence and pounces on opponents in the corner with an emphatic shove before he releases back to his slot duties.
LW Kevin Delaney (2019 Draft | 5’9, 165 | 2001 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
A hard-working senior winger with a high compete level and nonstop motor, Delaney proved to be the perfect yin to linemate Brett Chroske’s power-game yang. Although some would classify Delaney as a late bloomer since he wasn’t even on last year’s roster, this high-energy winger provides an instant spark and makes sound decisions like a grizzled veteran. Working tirelessly on and off the ice paid off in spades this year, as he finished fourth on the team in both goals (16) and points (28) without any significant time spent on the power play. No worries for this youngster, however, as all but one of his points came at even strength or shorthanded. His speed and agility are obvious from the second he hits the ice, but his quickness to the puck is done in a controlled and calculated manner. Delaney forces a ton of turnovers, and his 5-foot-9 frame doesn’t prevent him from outmuscling bigger players off the puck. Once he gains control, Delaney is capable of creating chances with a variety of accurate passes that rarely seem forced. He has an excellent shot, especially off the pass, and his stick always seems to be in the right position when he’s near the net. Delaney’s penchant for scoring big goals was evident in Edina’s comeback win over Eden Prairie in the state tournament championship, where he finished with four points in three games overall.
C Brett Chorske (2019 Draft | 6’6, 185 | May 25, 2001 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Undecided)
The son of former Stanley Cup champion Tom Chorske, Brett is a big two-way center with soft hands and high hockey sense. It’s no mystery that Edina’s title run was made easier by the presence of a capable second line that Chorske centered. At times he would join the BLITS line as a fourth forward for the top power-play unit, but he proved to be self sufficient as a playmaker who could score or create regardless of who his linemates were. Chorske is an excellent passer, especially in transition, and his long reach and strong balance allows him to gat as close to the goal without fear of being knocked off the puck. His skating is average but better than most power centers over 6-foot-2. Chorske is quick in the corners and quickly moves from defense to offense after winning a puck battle. He was Edina’s best face-off man in late and close situations.
Eden Prairie (Class AA)
C Jack Jensen (2019 Draft | 6’0, 201 | Aug. 31, 2000 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Minnesota)
A powerful two-way center who was Eden Prairie’s leading scorer, Jensen had a fantastic senior season as the focal point of the attack despite drawing all the tough matchups. Strong as an ox, Jensen is a powerful skater and an excellent stickhandler who likes to play an inside game and cause problems from the circles on down. Not only is Jensen an agile skater with lateral quickness, but he also is very tough to knock off the puck. This serves him well in open ice, where he is extremely dangerous, but he also can make mince meat out of defenders who try to keep a tight gap on him by going inside-out or a powerful direct routes to the net. Jensen has soft hands for a power forward, and he can corral a tough pass on the fly as well as anyone in his draft class. Strong on draws and sound positionally, Jensen is a versatile 200-foot player who likes to throw his weight around, deliver big hits and pressure the puck as often as possible. He deserves credit for improving his decision making with the puck once he crosses center, and owning a heavy shot is a good enough to excuse him for frequently taking matters into his own hands. Jensen may turn out to be better on the wing than at center, but he remains one of the top high-school forwards available for the draft.
Minnesota recruit Jack Jensen finishes off a night where he practically never came off the ice, winning it for Eden Prairie in the third over-time with his 12th shot on goal. Lakeville South goalie Henry Welsch (66/69) was outstanding for the Cougars. #TheTourney pic.twitter.com/wKfJoyvOMp
— Over the Boards (@overtheboards) March 7, 2019
LHD Keegan Langefels (2019 Draft | 6’0, 175 | Feb. 2, 2001 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
A two-way defender who shoots the puck as hard as he hits opponents, Langefels proved to be invaluable as Eden Prairie’s No. 1 rearguard during its march to the state tournament championship game. He can be both an effective and overpowering presence on the blue line, holding firm to his ground at the line and stopping entries with either a timely poke check or thunderous hit into the boards. Langefels can be matched up against any opposing top line, and he was a key contributor in stifling the vaunted attacks of both Blaine and Edina. He is a very good straight-line skater who quickly transitions from defense to offense and likes to join the attack, but he also is acutely aware of his primary role as a shutdown defender. Langefels isn’t your classic power-play quarterback, but he does play a significant role as a point man, mostly because he owns a blistering shot off the pass near the line. His wrister consistently sneaks through clogged shooting lanes, and his quick release and accuracy lead to rebound chances at the net. Everything Langefels does is hard and crisp, and you can count on him for at least a half dozen impactful plays a game.
#TheTourney19: Eden Prairie with two goals in 25 seconds to tie the score 2-2 early in the 2nd. LHD Keegan Langefels (2019/2001) got EP on the board with a wrister through a screen, and Garrett Smith (2019/2001) used his momentum to push the puck into the open goal. pic.twitter.com/OyE9YsKIeb
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) March 9, 2019
LHD Luke Mittelstadt (2021 Draft | 5’11, 185 | Jan. 22, 2003 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Minnesota)
The youngest of three brothers from an obviously talented hockey family, Luke is a quick yet cerebral puck-moving defenseman who can jumpstart the rush from as far back as his own goal line. He’s a very good skater who uses quick bursts and directional changes to create time and space. Mittelstadt is an excellent stretch passer and confident shooter because he whips the puck with decisiveness, authority and accuracy. He played forward for most of his young hockey life, which explains his playmaking and creativity while carrying the puck at full speed. But he’s more than just an offensive contributor, as Mittelstadt is a very good one-on-one defender who uses his leg drive to and maturing upper body to pin and hold opposing puck carriers to the boards. He will battle for positioning in front of his own net and deliver punishing hits in the corners, but he does so in a clean, disciplined manner. Strong on his skates with a low center of gravity, Mittelstadt’s poise and decision-making for a 16-year-old defenseman is at an elite level, almost to the point where he stands alone amongst all 2003-born defense prospects. It’s not often you see a coach lean on an underclassman in the biggest tournament of the year, but Mittelstadt logged big minutes in the state semifinals and title games while helping Eden Prairie keep the lethal attacks of Blaine and Edina mostly to the outside. The Gophers must be comping at the bit at getting him in the lineup.
RW Drew Holt (2020 Draft | 5’8, 165 | July 10, 2002 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Undecided)
A smaller player who casts a big shadow when he’s on the ice, Holt is an energetic 2002-born winger who plays a quick yet controlled style. Used up and down the lineup as either a top-line winger or support forward during the regular season, Holt stepped his game up during sections and state, scoring a combined five goals and three assists in six games. He’s an open-ice threat with a quick first step who controls the puck well in transition, and seems to favor shooting the puck more than looking for the open man. Holt scored several big goals off the rush by using well-place wrist shots from the right circle.
Blaine (Class AA)
LW Carsen Richels (2020 Draft | 6’2, 200 | Oct. 3, 2001 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
Powerful dual-threat winger with size, speed and excellent overall hockey sense, Richels was Blaine’s top-line mainstay along with senior Bryce Brodzinski and fellow 2020 draft prospect Cole Hansen. Richels made it difficult to determine whether if was he or Brodzinski who drove that bus because he was on the puck with his head up practically every shift. He was undoubtedly the benefactor of quality set-ups, but his finishing skills around the net are almost pro-like. Richels’ stick always is in the right position, and he finds a way to evade defenders in the slot even after they’ve marked him for coverage. As a primary goal scorer, Richels’ chemistry with his linemates and point men is excellent. He seems to know the precise moments when its time to either establish himself as a net-front presence or when to give-and-go his way to an opening for a one-timer. The conundrum he presents to opponents is his stickhandling and playmaking, especially off the cycle. Goalies are forced to respect his accurate shot, thus leaving the backdoor wide open for a clean, crisp pass.
RW Cole Hansen (2020 Draft | 6’1, 194 | Feb. 7, 2002 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Undecided)
An explosive winger with a high-end array of puck skills, Hansen improved his all-around game to be come a staple of what became one of the best line’s in all of high school hockey. Blessed with strength, size and speed, Hansen is an exceptional stickhandler on the move, using a sixth sense to detect back pressure or an oncoming hit. The type of controlled determination Hansen plays with is on the higher end of the prospect spectrum because he turns nonstandard situations into high-danger scoring chances near the net. He was by no means a passenger on the top line with Carsen Richels and Bryce Brodzinski, and quite often it was Hansen who drove possession by pouncing on every loose puck drawing opponents away from their coverage. It didn’t take long for them to respect his speed and trickery, which in turn allowed Hansen to exploit the open ice he was given by hammering pinpoint shots into the upper portion of the net. He is slippery once he crosses the blue line, using a deke or dangle to get himself in between the circles. Hansen not only is a breakaway threat, but he pulls moves on goalies that make them look foolish. Keep an eye on him in that left circle on the power play — Hansen is an accurate cross-crease passer but he also loves the one-timer.
C/W Bryce Brodzinski (2019 Draft | 6’0, 197 | Aug. 9, 2000 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Minnesota)
A skilled two-way forward with size, Brodzinski was a driving force behind Blaine’s dominance that came to an end with the loss to Eden Prairie in the state semifinals. Not only did he earn Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award after being the Class AA scoring champion with 76 points in 23 games, but he also did well in his brief stint with the USHL’s Omaha Lancers, scoring 10 points in eight games. Brodzinski is an unselfishly good set-up man with excellent vision and a soft touch. He can deliver the puck on the tape in a variety of ways — saucers, flips, bank passes — and you rarely see a linemate having issues receiving and controlling the puck in one motion. From a skating standpoint, Brodzinski is more North-South than nimble and shifty. He isn’t an explosive skater, but he maintains his balance and can change gears to catch defenders flat footed. He does generate a lot of power into his stride once he gets moving, but his first-step quickness at this point is average. While his passing acumen is a big component of his game, Brodzinski has an excellent shot with a quick release that helps him score from just about anywhere inside the offensive zone. In fact, the majority of his goals were scored with shots from 20-30 feet away from the net. Brodzinski isn’t just a contributor on offense, however, as he spends most of his time defensive-zone time helping out below the goal line, fighting for pucks in corners or covering gaps in the slot. He is a very good penalty killer and he wins a little less than half his faceoffs.
LW Will Hillman (2019 Draft | 6’0, 185 | Nov. 22, 2000 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
A hard-nosed and versatile forward with a high compete level, Hillman is a neutral-zone shark who is consistently matched up against opposing top lines in addition to the myriad of other tasks he performs well. He plays a rugged, abrasive style that helps him get under opponents’ skin, but mostly within every letter of the rule book. Hillman is relentless on the puck and will engage in the toughest of physical battles in order to achieve his objectives. Once he gets control of the puck, Hillman is a strong stickhandler and well-balanced skater who will attack through or around traffic. Hillman’s ability to create turnovers frequently lands him in prime scoring areas with the hammer cocked, and he owns an accurate wrister. He’s a real leader both on and off the ice, and his tireless work ethic and dedication to winning likely made him an easy choice for team captain. Hillman’s contributions on offense are centered more on tight-quarter playmaking and establishing a foothold on the areas near the opposing goal. On the power play, he can serve as either the facilitator from the half wall or the net-front presence, and he’s tipped a fair amount of point shots on goal. Although you would probably get more mileage out of Hillman in a defensive role (especially on the penalty kill), he’s more than capable of creating chances for both himself and his teammates.
LHD Nick Hauck (2019 Draft | 5’11, 181 | Mar. 11, 2001 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
The top-scorer among Class AA defensemen, Hauck was Blaine’s No. 1 throughout the season. He’s leaned on for all major situations at both even strength and on special teams, and his ice time climbed up into the high 20’s for most of the season. Hauck plays an aggressive style and looks to join the rush as often as possible. He carries the puck a lot and would rather skate the puck out than attempt long stretch passes. He stays within his role as a puck distributor and understands his forward group, specifically Blaine’s top line, like to handle as many exits and entries as possible. Hauck owns an average shot that he doesn’t use often, and although he plays the top of the umbrella on the power play, he is more of a facilitator than your classic quarterback. Hauck’s defensive play in several areas is about average, but his ability to lug the puck up ice and keep plays alive helps him limit the amount of mistakes he makes in a given game.
St. Thomas (Class AA)
RW Ryan O’Neill (2019 Draft | 5’10, 165 | Feb. 25, 2001 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Undecided)
O’Neill is a sniping forward who can play center or wing. He’s an excellent stickhandler who dominates the puck for long stretches, using his quick feet, fake-out moves and sharp turns to wear out bigger opponents. It’s completely justifiable for O’Neill to demand the puck in the scoring areas simply because he possesses a lethal shot-release combination. His goal-scoring abilities are rivaled only by a few high schoolers at any level in any state, and that includes the likes of Jett Jungels and Carsen Richels. O’Neill is a very good skater who shifts gears to get himself in between the circles. The respect his powerful shot commands as he motors down the wing forces defenders to cheat closer towards him, thus presenting him with the chance to make a sharp cut inside. O’Neill fires the puck with authority without needing the puck to be set up on a tee. On several occasions, he’s blistered shots into the top corners while the puck was at his feet.
C Brendan McFadden (2019 Draft | 6’1, 205 | Sep. 26, 2000 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Undecided)
A bulldozing power forward who can play center or wing, McFadden is a star football player who also serves as a top-line forward for the Cadets. Looking at his measurements and football background probably makes you think he’s some crease-crashing goal scorer. But McFadden has that playmaker gene, and the soft hands and vision to go along with it. He’s a very good stickhandler and quick with his pivots and directional changes, and he doesn’t like to give in during physical play along the boards. McFadden uses his reach and stick effectively with or without the puck, and his above-average speed allows him to strip pucks on the backcheck. He center the top penalty-killing and power-play units, and his passing and heads-up play was a perfect compliment to linemate Rob Christy’s speed game.
C/LW Rob Christy (2019 Draft | 6’0, 185 | Mar. 29, 2001 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Colorado College)
One of the vocal leaders of his team, Christy is a fast center with excellent balance who likes to play a power game. He’s a very good possession driver, using his pro build, strong balance and quick feet to ward off harassing opponents while keeping his head up to identify multiple options. Christy is a very good passer, especially off the curl after a clean zone entry. He can play the role of playmaker or finisher, and his uses a variety of pump fakes, shoulder jukes and no-look passes to keep the goalie zoned in on him. Christy definitely loves to shoot, which is understandable when you have the kind of shot and release he possesses. His compete level can be very high and he tries to impact his shifts without always needing the puck. Christy always seems to be in the middle of things, and he treats the neutral zone as an opportunity to strike.
C/LW Jackson Hallum (2020 Draft | 6’0, 165 | Sep. 8, 2002 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
A lightning-quick winger who plays with an edge and puts forth a strong effort every shift, Hallum played a key role as a sophomore a season after earning a depth role as a freshman. Hallum’s straight-line speed and first-step quickness are already at an elite level. He hustles and hits in both the defensive and neutral zones, and he stays balanced while moving with the puck in any direction. Hallum can be a real pain in the neck on the forecheck because he simply keeps moving while keeping his stick in the appropriate lane. If he’s pressing a defenseman, he’ll anticipate the direction of travel and cut off the easy escape routes.
Duluth-East (Class AA)
C/W Ryder Donovan (2019 Draft | 6’4, 190 | Oct. 10, 2000 | Shoots Right | NCAA: Wisconsin)
A jersey-flapping winger with size and a massive reach, Donovan is a smart playmaker with excellent puck-protection skills. He played on the top line and first units for both the power play and penalty kill. He puts forth a consistent effort every shift, and the intensity of his forecheck can at times mistake him for a depth-line checker than an offensive force. All areas of Donovan’s skating are outstanding — his first-step quickness, ability, balance, lateral movements and edge work work in concert to get him a least a stride or two out of an opponent’s reach. Donovan’s vision and passing abilities are advanced, and he is more than capable of turning any shift into a scoring opportunity. He times his backdoor or cross-ice passes perfectly, and he can stick fake an opening from a clogged lane. Donovan can play physical and finish his checks with authority, plus sacrifice his body in efforts to hunt down pucks.
LW Ricky Lyle (2019 Draft | 6’0, 165 | Aug. 21, 2000 | Shoots Left | NCAA: Undecided)
A tough customer who plays a lot bigger than his measurements reveal, Lyle and Ryder Donovan developed strong chemistry throughout the season, and there were times when it was Lyle who carried the attack and created time and space for Donovan. He is always involved in the play and will not back down from a challenge, so it should come at no surprise that the puck is on his stick quite frequently. Lyle likes to deliver solid body checks in open ice or into the boards. When he’s full flight, Lyle reveals a semi-hunched skating style and average speed. He plays with his head up and will slow things down at the line to wait for support. Lyle can deliver accurate passes through traffic and over long distances.