Best of the West #6: Zach Budish, Minnesota

Zach Budish, Forward, 6-3 229 lbs., Edina(MN) High School

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Role he'll likely play: It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Gophers ease Budish into game action simply because he missed all of last year with a knee injury. In fact, Minnesota seriously considered having him play this year in the USHL because he missed all of last season. But eventually, he could prove to be a valuable asset on one of the team's top lines, and as a big body in front of the net on the powerplay; something Minnesota sorely lacked last season.

Why he is ranked here: Budish could be the most talented player in this group with his tremendous size and exceptional play-making ability, but a few questions still surround him. How will he rebound after missing all of last season with a knee injury? And perhaps more importantly, what kind of a role will he play on Minnesota’s team with so many other, older forwards ahead of him on the roster.

Why he'll be great: Budish gives the Gophers a big body to stick in front of the net, as well as a player that has the hands to make pretty passes and score pretty goals. They'll be adding toughness to their lineup while not sacrificing the huge skill advantage they have over most other teams.

Why he might not: It may take Budish a few games to get up to "game speed" regardless of how hard he rehabs, and it could be difficult for him to earn quality minutes for the Gophers, especially on the powerplay. Also, a number of talented power forwards have gone to the Gophers and became enamored with making skill plays on the perimeter rather than making gritty plays in front of the net.

Contrived Rivals-style star ranking: 5 stars


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