The Minnesota boy's high school hockey season gets started tonight. Those of you that live within the Fox Sports North viewing area, or own a satellite dish can catch Edina taking on Burnsville tonight. I wonder if anyone on the FSN hockey crew attended Burnsville HS? There's a slight chance that may be mentioned once or twice tonight.
Anyway, it's about time for me to roll-out my preseason top ten list. I'm only doing a list for Class AA schools. There are a couple of Class A schools that I'd put in if I were making a true top ten list, but if they really wanted to be here, they should have played up a division like some of their private school brethren.
Here's the list:
1. Eden Prairie
3. Bloomington Jefferson
4. Benilde-St. Margaret's
7. Holy Angels
10. Duluth East
A few notes and comments after the jump...
I've had Eden Prairie and Minnetonka as 1 and 2 respectively all fall long, though I almost made the switch at the last second. Eden Prairie has a ton of talent, but most it comes from a ridiculously talented junior class, and they don't have that big senior as an X-factor like Nick Leddy was last year, while Minnetonka is loaded with seniors--seniors that haven't played in the state tournament and want to get there with their last shot. Both are great teams. You may as well flip a coin between the two.
I have Benilde a little higher than most people, but the struggle for me was whether or not to move them up to 3rd or not. They've got the best goaltending of any of the major players by a pretty wide margin, and their offense is potentially very exciting. In addition to some pretty good, established players, they've got some 9th graders that could be very exciting, and give them an extra element of depth.
After the top four, I think there's a pretty clear line of demarcation. Teams 5-10 are all very good, but just missing that little extra to be where the top 4 are.
I've got Centennial a little higher than a lot of people do. I think they're pretty under-rated for two reasons: They lost their two big name scorers in Tyler Pitlick and Willie Hess, and they seem to fall apart every year against Blaine in the section finals. As for point one, they'll have to replace a lot of scoring, but they've got a really underrated defense led by Brett Stern and Charlie Aus and their goaltending is pretty decent. Forward Jordan Lovick returns off that top line and is one of the better stickhandlers in the state. As for the second point, yeah, they'll probably get beaten by Blaine in the section final again.
Duluth East is the only out-state team I've got in the top 10. They've always got talent, but I think they lost too much off of last year's team to be much higher. I wanted to squeeze Roseau in there, but I think they're just barely on the outside looking in right now.