Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Minnesota Players in the Upcomng NHL Draft

The NHL Draft is quickly approaching, and as with every year, there are some Minnesota grown players that will be chosen. Here is the list of Minnesota players who made the final NHL Central Scouting list:

Brady Skjei, Defense (19), Lakeville- Skjei played the last two seasons with the USNDTP. The smooth skating defenceman is a likely first round pick, and will play for the University of Minnesota next fall.
Zach Stepan, Forward (53) Shattuck St. Mary's- Stepan has spent most of his time playing for Shattuck-St. Mary's, and previously the Wisconsin Fire. Stepan will play for Ohio State, and the cousin of NHL'er Derek Stepan has a good looking career ahead of him.
Logan Nelson, Forward (73) Rogers- Played this season in the WHL instead of returning to the USHL with Des Moines in hopes of playing college hockey. A great season in the WHL for a would be senior in high school. Regardless of where he goes in the draft, I would expect him to return to Victoria for another season in the WHL.
Adam Johnson, Forward (82) Hibbing- Johnson is highly skilled, smart, and quick. Like Kyle Rau, Johnson is undersized, which is a concern for his NHL potential. I don't see him going this high in the draft because of his size, and he still has another year in high school before he starts his collegiate career at UMD.
AJ Michaelson, Forward (87) Apple Valley- Michaelson didn't have the season he would have hoped for in Waterloo, but that doesn't take away from his potential. He's a smart player who will be playing at the University of Minnesota in the fall. Although, I think his development would be best served with another season in the USHL.
Jacob Montgomery, Forward (105) Shattuck St. Mary's- Haven't had a chance to see Montgomery play, but he will be spending his collegiate days playing for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
John Draeger, Defense (106) Shattuck St. Mary's- Draeger is described as a shutdown defenceman with pretty good size. Committed to Michigan State.
Teddy Blueger, Forward (116) Shattuck St. Mary's- The Latvia native is committed to Minnesota State.
Will Merchant, Forward (130) Eagan- Merchant is a hard-working gritty player, who shows flashes of goal scoring too. Committed to the University of Maine.
Jake Bischoff, Defense (147) Grand Rapids- Bischoff is following in his father's footsteps and playing his college hockey for the Gophers. Will be a senior this fall, but might jump to the USHL.
Dom Toninato, Forward (149) Duluth East- Toninato is a skilled player and playmaker, committed to UMD. Will likely spend next season in the USHL.
Justin Kloos, Forward (173) Lakeville South- This year's Mr. Hockey capped off a great high school career with style as he finally led the Cougars to the state tournament, and a third place finish that included a huge quarterfinal upset of #1 seeded Duluth East. Kloos will be a a Gopher in the fall.
Grant Besse, Forward (187) Benilde St. Margrets- Besse will forever be remembered at the state tournament for his 5 goal state championship game. He is a pure goal scorer and it will be exciting to see how he performs his senior season, where he will be a Mr. Hockey favorite. Committed to the University of Wisconsin.
Louie Nanne, Forward (188) Edina- Nanne is a bit of a gamble in the draft. He didn't have a spectacular season, and will have to truly prove himself after the draft next season in Penticton of the BCHL. Committed to the University of Minnesota, technically as a walk-on. Good penalty killer, makes plays, but I'm not sure he has a ton of NHL potential.
Grant Opperman, Forward (191) Breck- Opperman has a big frame and a big shot. The Dartmouth commit will play in the USHL next season with Tri-City.
Jay Dickman, Forward (203) St. Paul Johnson- Dickman has NHL size, but his skating is an issue. He proved he can score goals at the high school level, and performed well after the high school season with Fargo of the USHL. It will be interesting to see where he plays his college hockey, which will determine how much NHL potential he really has.
Sam Wolfe, Defense (206) Eagan- Wolfe is committed to Maine. A smart defenceman who makes the right play and plays a gritty physical game.
Eli May, Defense (207) Eagan- May played a few games in the USHL after the state tournament. Unsure if he'll spend next season in the USHL or head to Minnesota State as a true freshman.

List of the first round draft pick order:
1. Edmonton
2. Columbus
3. Montreal
4. N.Y. Islanders
5. Toronto
6. Anaheim
7. Minnesota
8. Carolina
9. Winnipeg
10. Tampa Bay
11. Washington (from Colorado)
12. Buffalo
13. Dallas
14. Calgary
15. Ottawa
16. Washington
17. San Jose
18. Chicago
19. Tampa Bay (from Detroit)
20. Philadelphia
21. Buffalo (from Nashville)
22. Pittsburgh
23. Florida
24. Boston
25. St. Louis
26. Vancouver
27. Phoenix
28. N.Y. Rangers
29. New Jersey
30. Los Angeles


  1. Is Louie Nanne for sure going to Penticton? I saw that he was at Lincoln's (USHL) camp a week ago in Minneapolis.

  2. I saw that also, but I saw earlier in the year an interview with him where he said that's where he planned to play. I think he would fit in better in Penticton, but Lincoln could be a better preparation for the Gophers.

  3. It is not 100% certain, but very close to that, that Kloos is going to Waterloo in the USHL this fall and will join the Gophers for 2013/2014. Only if Bjugstad leaves for the pros would they have a roster spot/scholarship money for him, and even if Bjugstad were to sign now (which is unlikely due to the NHL labor uncertainty), they still might not bring him in - he isn't enrolled in summer school and working out with the team like the incoming freshmen for next year are.