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USHL Futures Draft Phase 1 Preview: Minnesota Prospects

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The USHL will hold their “Phase 1” Futures Draft on Monday evening, selecting players born in 2001. This is our look at some of the players from the state of Minnesota that might hear their name called this evening.

Overall, it isn’t a particularly strong birth year in the state of Minnesota. Only one Minnesotan was selected for next year’s NTDP U17 team. But while the high-end talent might not be there at this point, I do think this is a fairly deep group, especially at forward, and there are likely to be some very good players when all is said and done.

Forwards

Jake Hale-Minneapolis-Committed to Minnesota Duluth-Hale has elite speed and skating ability. He easily could have made the NTDP team for next year. He still needs to fill out a bit, but should be a very high pick in tonight’s draft.

Bobby Brink-Minnetonka HS-Committed to Denver-Brink can be a bit inconsistent, but has the ability to make highlight reel play with his incredible hands. He has potential as an exceptional offensive player.

Garrett Pinoniemi-Delano HS-Committed to St. Cloud State-Pinoniemi still needs to fill out quite a bit and sometimes struggles with physical play, so he’s likely a ways away from playing in the USHL, but he’s a really exceptional puck-handler with a ton of offensive upside.

Matthew Gleason-Cretin-Derham Hall-Gleason is a smaller forward but he’s got good quickness and anticipation and has really nice balance and body control. He’s always very involved in the play, and has nice potential as a scorer.

Jackson Jutting-Prior Lake HS-Jutting didn’t have a spectacular season, but is still among one of the most talented players in this age group. He doesn’t project as an elite scorer, but is a really smart, solid overall player that does everything pretty well.

Jacob Braccini-Buffalo HS-Braccini is a strong, athletic skater, with explosive quickness. If his hockey sense can match his physical abilities, he could be a home run pick.

Grant Silianoff-Shattuck-St. Mary’s-Committed to Notre Dame-Silianoff was one of the first players in this age group to make a college commitment and was dominating as a bantam player. The rest of the field has started to catch up to him a bit, but he’s still likely to go very high—possibly first overall—in this draft. Silianoff plays a power forward game mixed with nice skill to create offense.

Shane LaVelle-Chaska HS-LaVelle has a decent-sized frame that still has a lot of room to fill out. He’s got great athleticism and skating ability and some decent skill. In a year or two, he could be one of the best players in this age group.

Kaden Bohlsen-Shattuck-St. Mary’s-Committed to Minnesota-Bohlsen skates and handles the puck really well for a player with his size. That hasn’t led to the production those types of asset would suggest yet, but he’s still a younger player with a very high ceiling if he can put all that together.

Tyler Kostelecky-Maple Grove HS-Kostelecky has a lot of tools to be a successful USHL player. He’s a very skilled player with good hockey sense. The biggest thing he’s lacking right now is that he’s not particularly strong, but once he fills out, he could be a very good player.

Aaron Huglen-Roseau HS-Huglen is almost impossible to stop when he’s bringing the puck down the wing 1-on-1. He’s got very good speed and elite ability to stickhandle through defensemen while at top speed. He’s still a bit raw, but has good upside if he can add more dimensions to his game.

Nik Norman-Shattuck-St. Mary’s-Committed to Minnesota-Norman is another player that made a very early commitment, then struggled a bit with the jump from bantam hockey to U16. He’s got a strong stick and is willing to go to tough areas and take contact to make plays offensively. He should be a solid USHL player eventually.

Mack Motzko-St. Cloud Cathedral-Motzko is a good skater that is very active and involved in the play at all times, and has the ability to contribute a bit offensively as well.

Ben Troumbly-Greenway Bantam-Committed to St. Cloud State-Troumbly is really small, but has excellent speed and a low center of gravity that makes him tough to push around. He doesn’t play with the puck on his stick a lot, but has a knack for getting into the right place at the right time to make a play.

Robert Christy-St. Thomas Academy-Christy has a really strong frame and handles the puck well for a player with his size and strength. His skating isn’t terrific, but he is a decent scoring threat.

Shayne Griffin-Lakeville North-Griffin had a quiet high school season while playing for a deep Lakeville North team, but he’s got a big frame and is a good skater, giving him potential as a solid two-way forward at the USHL level.

Mason Nevers-Edina HS-Nevers is a really good skater that still has room to fill out physically. His dad was drafted in both the NHL and MLB drafts, so he comes from a really athletic background. He’s not super-skilled offensively, but was productive with Edina this year just by being so quick and active to make plays.

Defensemen

Mike Koster-Chaska HS-Committed to Minnesota-Koster is a small, puck-moving defenseman. It may take some time before he’s ready for the USHL, but he has potential as a game-changing offensive defenseman with his ability to create offense from the blue line.

Jake Boltmann-Edina HS-Committed to Minnesota-Boltmann is a strong skater that is excellent at bringing the puck up the ice. He played big minutes for Edina as a freshman and looked extremely comfortable doing so. He’s a young ‘01 so there’s still lots of room for him to grow.

Seth Karsell-Rochester Lourdes-Karsell might be a little under-rated because he plays in the southern part of the state, but he’s an impressive all-around defenseman. He moves well in all four directions and defends well, and can create a bit of offense as well.

Brett Oberle-Hill-Murray-Oberle lacks a real standout trait, but is a solid, consistent all-around player. He played solid minutes as a freshman for Hill-Murray during the high school season. He doesn’t really project as a top pairing guy, but would be a nice addition to any team.

Christian Miller-Greenway Bantam-Committed to St. Cloud State-Miller is a big defensive defenseman that finishes checks well and brings a physical presence. His feet will need to improve a bit, but he has good hockey sense and anticipates plays really well.

Mason Reiners-Edina HS-Reiners has some elite physical abilities. He’s got decent size and skates as well as any defenseman in the draft. His hockey sense isn’t as developed yet, which kept him from seeing more ice time during the high school season, but he might be worth a pick because he could be really good if the light goes on for him.

Will Schimek-St. Thomas Academy-Schimek is a big, strong defensive defenseman that skates well enough to defend his position and handles the puck well enough to move the puck out of his own zone effectively.

Kam Jaeger-Grand Rapids-A smaller puck-moving defenseman with good skating ability.

Nathan Thelen-Rogers-Thelen is a big, strong defender. He’s not overly quick, but moves around well enough to be a decent defender.

Goalies

Ethan Haider-Maple Grove HS-Haider started in goal for a very good Maple Grove team last winter and never looked out of place. He’s a remarkably poised and consistent goalie for a player his age.

Ben Fritsinger-Andover HS-Another goalie that started for his high school as an underclassmen. The son of a goalie coach, Fritsinger is technically sound and has decent athleticism.

Will Tollefson-Rosemount HS-Tollefson is still relatively unproven at the high school level, but has a good-sized frame and has the ability to stop shots that most goalies can’t.