Name: Mike Lee
Team: Fargo Force(USHL)
2008-2009 stats: 48 games played, 26 wins, 15 losses 3 shutouts, 2.40 goals against average, .918 save percentage.
Mike Lee is a quiet, humble kid from a tiny town in the far outreaches of Minnesota that lets his play do all of his talking for him. As a high school sophomore, Lee posted outrageous statistics while splitting time with an older, more experience senior goalie for the Roseau HS Rams. But when it came down to crunch time in the state tournament, Roseau turned to Lee in goal, and he led the Rams to the state title. The following year, Roseau was the state's top-ranked team and Lee was absolutely dominant once again, but the Rams fell short in the state tournament semifinals.
For his senior season, Lee made the difficult decision to leave Roseau and head to the expansion Fargo Force in the USHL. It was a good move for his career, because while he was very good at Roseau, there were some questions about how he would handle better competition. Lee answered all of those questions by leading a young Fargo team. Despite being consistently outshot game after game , Lee helped lead Fargo to the USHL Clark Cup finals. For his efforts, Lee was named the USA Hockey Goalie of the Year.
Not only is Mike Lee tremendously talented physically, he's got some great mental attributes. He's near unflappable in goal, which is huge for a goalie, he's very competitive, and is regarded as a very nice kid.
Lee will continue his hockey career at St. Cloud State next season where he'll compete with incumbent starter Jase Weslosky for the starting role. St. Cloud chose to bring him in next season rather than waiting until Weslosky graduated in anticipation of him signing a pro contract within the next four years. Lee is also a near lock to be the starting goaltender for the US World Junior Team next season.
Strengths: Mental toughness, positioning
Needs to Improve: More experience against better competition
Links of Interest:
Year of the Ram: On St. Cloud Nine-The Hockey News December 2007
Lee Making A Name For Himself with USA Hockey-August 2008
Prospect Pulse: Mike Lee- November 2008
USHL Player Feature- February 2009
Fargo Force: Player Spotlight-February 2009
Taking Shots at Mike Lee- WDAY Sports Blog February 2009
The Hot List-Hockey News April 2008
Draft Combine Blog-The Pipeline Show June 2009
Michael Lee Commits to St. Cloud- December 2007
Mike Lee article for ROI- December 2007
Goalie is by far the toughest position to project because it takes goalies much longer to develop, but all signs point to very good things for Mike Lee. Prior to this season, I was a little skeptical because he hadn't faced much in the way of competition at Roseau, but he wasn't just good in his first USHL season, he was great, and he should only get better from here on out. There is some concern, justifiably, about drafting American goaltenders over goalies from the CHL that see more game action, which could push Lee down some draft boards, but I still see him being selected in the second round, third at the latest.
One of the nice things about Lee is that because he is going to college, teams will get the opportunity to let him develop for up to four years before having to bring him into their organization, so he would be a great pick, even for a team that doesn't have a big organizational need in goal at the moment.