Friday, June 29, 2012

High School Seniors Leaving Early 2012-2013

Every year there are high school players who will leave for Major Junior Hockey, USHL, NAHL, or AAA-Midget hockey. Here is a list, to the best of  my knowledge on those who are leaving for sure, and also those who are in question. I would also guess that within the next few months, more players will announce their departure from high school hockey.

Jordan Gross
Photo by Helen Nelson
Jordan Gross (Maple Grove)- Gross finished off his junior season and hockey career at Maple Grove being a big part of the first Crimson Hockey Team in school history to make it to the State Tournament. He ended up with 17 goals and 30 assists for 47 points in 30 games. Being a junior defenceman putting up numbers like that, one might ask "What is there left to prove?" and I think Gross is thinking the same thing. He will spend next season either with Green Bay of the USHL or with the USNDTP before heading to play collegiately at Notre Dame.
Michael Brodzinski
Photo by Helen Nelson
Michael Brodzinski (Blaine)- Brodzinski has been known for the past couple seasons as the go to guy for Blaine when looking for shots on the power play. He has a cannon of a wrist shot, and scores pretty frequently for a defenceman. He ended his junior season with 16g-20a-36pts in 28 games and like Gross, doesn't have a whole lot left to prove. He will likely be with Muskegon in the USHL for a season before heading to the University of Minnesota. 
Jake Guentzel in the 2012
State Tournament
Jake Guentzel (Hill-Murray)- The youngest Guentzel may have the most potential. While his older brothers who both played Division-I hockey are larger in size, Jake has outstanding playmaking abilities. He put up 75 points as a junior with a scoring line of 23g-52a-75pts in 31 games. Guentzel is an uncommitted prospect, but has several schools interested. He will play in Sioux City (USHL) next season and likely make his college decision then.

Blake Heinrich in the 2012 State
Tournament. Photo by Helen
Blake Heinrich (Hill-Murray)- Heinrich wasn't an unknown player going into the 2012 State Tournament, but he made a name for himself to those who didn't know him by being possibly the most noticeable defenceman throughout the tournament. Heinrich's physical game was unlike any high school player I have seen. His hits are brutally hard, but clean hits. He also can add a bit of offense to his game as well with 11g-24a-35pts in 31 games in his junior season. Shortly after the season ended, Heinrich committed to UMD. Although it is not confirmed he is leaving, I suspect that with Guentzel's departure that Heinrich will strongly consider leaving. If he leaves he will be playing with Sioux City in the USHL before heading to UMD.
Louie Nanne with Edina in 2012
Photo courtesy of Golden Sports

Louie Nanne (Edina)- Nanne totalled 15g-12a-27pts in 28 games as a junior. Not spectacular numbers, but Edina plays a pretty difficult schedule. Nanne is committed to the University of Minnesota as a walk-on as he will be paying tuition. Nanne will spend next season in Penticton of the BCHL, a team that rostered many Minnesotans in 2011-2012.

Vinni Lettieri
Photo by Helen Nelson

Vinni Lettieri (Minnetonka)- Lettieri is the cousin of Nanne, and is also a University of Minnesota commit. In his junior season, Lettieri put together a scoring line of 23g-37a-60pts in 28 games. Before playing for the Gophers, he will spend at least one season with Lincoln in the USHL, where he finished out the 2011-2012 season.

Connor Valesano (Duluth East)- Valesano was overshadowed on an incredibly deep Duluth East team last season, but still managed 12 goals and 24 assists on the season. As an uncommitted prospect, Valesano will likely play more than one year of junior hockey before attending a college. He will be playing next season in Sioux Falls of the USHL.

Wiitala celebrating a goal against
Duluth East in the State Tournament
Quarterfinals. Photo by Helen
John Wiitala (Lakeville South)- Wiitala is a player I am not familiar with, but he is listed as F/D meaning he may play either forward or defense. He scored 9g-18a-27pts in 31 games as a junior. His statistics aren't incredibly impressive, but he shows potential. He is listed as 5'11" and 155 lbs., so he needs to add a little weight to his frame before heading off to juniors. He plans on playing for Waterloo in the USHL next season.

1 comment:

  1. the new rule changes regarding the physical part of the game will chase even more away