Sunday, December 24, 2017

Mr. Hockey Tracker

As we approach the halfway point of the high school hockey season, here is an early look at how Minnesota Mr. Hockey candidates stack up thus far with current scoring statistics among the top seniors in the state.

1. Sammy Walker, Edina, Minnesota commit - 9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points (2.75 PPG)

The only player to be drafted by an NHL team on this list (Tampa Bay), the highlight of the season so far for Walker is the five goal performance against Elk River, scoring half of the team's goals. Walker takes over games with his speed, zipping by defenders, and setting up scoring opportunities. This kid is a lot of fun to watch, whether you are a fan of Edina or the opposition. At this point in the season, Minn Puck believes that it is Walker's award to lose.

2. Ben Almquist, Holy Family, Wisconsin commit - 15 goals, 12 assists, 27 points (2.70 PPG)

The speedy and patient playmaker, Almquist, is Holy Family's scoring leader with 27 points over 10 games, as the Fire look to be a contender in Section 2AA this season despite much offseason movement. Almquist netted his first hat trick of the season in a lopsided 15-2 victory against Waconia, while scoring three assists.

3. Lucas McGregor, Centennial, uncommitted - 9 goals, 9 assists, 18 points (2.57 PPG)

McGregor decided to return to Centennial for this senior year just before the season started, and it has paid off so far as the Cougars have been ranked in the top ten in the statewide coaches poll all year long. He possesses strong skating ability and awareness on the ice.

4. Demetrios Koumontzis, Edina, Arizona State commit - 5 goals, 11 assists, 16 points (2.29 PPG)

Koumontzis returns back to Minnesota to finish his prep hockey career.  He left for Arizona after playing bantams in Edina. The crafty Koumontzis has scored at least a point in the games played so far this season. He suffered an injury on an away-from-the-play hit against Eden Prairie, believed to be in retaliation to a five-minute major penalty he was assessed early in the contest for contact to the head of an Eden Prairie player in what became an emotionally-charged third period. He missed the game versus Cretin Derham-Hall from the injury, as reported by Tony Scott of Youth Hockey Hub's HS Hockey Podcast on 12/20/17. His return is unknown as of the date of this post.

5. Ray Christy, St. Thomas Academy, Colorado College commit - 5 goals, 10 assists, 15 points (2.14 PPG)

Christy is good at creating scoring opportunities with his awareness on the ice, leading the Cadets with 15 points as he as scored points in every game. He and his teammate Payton Matsui will likely battle it out for St. Thomas' goals and overall point total this season as the team makes a strong push to be a contender for the state title this year sitting in the top tier of the rankings.

6. Garrett Worth, Duluth East, uncommitted - 11 goals, 6 assists, 17 points (2.13 PPG)

Worth, one of the scoring weapons on the WMD Line that has the majority of the points for the Hounds this season, shares his success with linemates Ryder Donovan and Ian Mageau, another candidate on this list. The Duluth East boys probably will not win the award since they like to spread the wealth around, but having the team chemistry in place gives Duluth East a very good chance of making it to state this year and playing for a championship.

7. Carter Randklev, Moorhead, North Dakota commit - 12 goals, 9 assists, 21 points (2.10 PPG)

Despite Moorhead's recent woes that have knocked the Spuds out as one of the top five teams in the state, Carter Randklev is a tough player, and sensational on creating scoring opportunities with such ease to get around defenders. An example of this is the game against Brainerd in which one of his goals made SportsCenter's Top 10 list of excellent plays. Check it out for yourself below. The ceiling is high for Randklev, as he is capable of finishing in the top three of finalists.
8. Ian Mageau, Duluth East, uncommitted - 7 goals, 8 assists, 15 points (1.88 PPG)

Mageau brings physicality to the top line for Duluth East, while contributing offensively by being second on the team in goals. While it is unclear who the standout player is for Duluth East, the prize for them is the state championship and not an individual award.

9. Payton Matsui, St. Thomas Academy, uncommitted - 7 goals, 5 assists, 12 points (1.71)

Second in points to Ray Christy, Matsui is a smart hockey player with a great two-way presence on the ice. He is not the biggest player, which creates difficulty being recognized by scouts, but manages to be an offensive contributor, leading the Cadets in goals with seven, to be noticed on the ice.

10. Luke Loheit, Minnetonka, Minnesota-Duluth commit - 6 goals, 6 assists, 12 points (1.50 PPG)

Loheit's size and playmaking ability makes him one of the stars for the Skippers. He does not stand out above other teammates, but as one of the top offensive seniors on the roster, he is not a player to be overlooked.

Other notables:

Luke LaMaster, Duluth East, Wisconsin commit - 3 goals, 8 assists, 11 points (1.38 PPG)

The only defenseman to make the list, which is quite an accomplishment in itself since the Mr. Hockey award tends to be given to forwards. While the WMD line may get all of the attention in Duluth, LaMaster is one of the top blueliners in the state, who is sure-handed with the puck in the offensive zone.

Colin Schmidt, Wayzata, Minnesota commit - 4 goals, 4 assists, 8 points (1.00 PPG)

As Wayzata's biggest scoring threat with his size, puck-handling, and play-making ability, Schmidt began the season in a bit of a slump, correlating with the Trojans slow start. His first points of the season finally come in the fourth game against Duluth East with a goal and assist. He followed up that performance with at least a goal and assist in the next two games against Benilde-St. Margret's and Cretin-Derham Hall. A strong second half will help Schmidt get back into serious Mr. Hockey contention.

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