The state of Minnesota has long been fertile ground when it comes to the development of NHL prospects. And, while the players competing at the NCAA level receive most of the attention from fans and scouts alike, the talent produced at the high school level in that state is second to none in the United States.
The crop of players eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft is further evidence of the strength of competition on the high school scene in Minnesota. While there are no true top-rated prospects in this year’s group, there is some depth to this year’s class that should make this another good year on the draft floor for Minnesota high school hockey.
Below are some of the more notable Minnesota high school prospects who are ranked by NHL Central Scouting in their midterm rankings.
Jack Sadek (Senior, Lakeville North, No. 83 N.A.)
Committed to the University of Minnesota, Jack Sadek is a good puck-moving defenseman who is fast moving for his size (6’3”). Paired with Jack McNeely (177th skater in North America) on arguably the best team in the state, Sadek was a point-per-game player in the regular season and is expected to make an impact at the next level.
Jake Jeremko (Senior, Elk River, No. 107 N.A.)
Playing on an Elk River team that is known for both goal scoring and leaking goals, Jeremko’s 22 goals and 46 assists in 25 games helped his team earn the No. 1 seed in Section 7. Known for his exceptional speed, quickness with the puck and the ability to create chances with his creativity, which draws defenders to him and creates opportunities for his teammates, this Mr. Hockey candidate, who is headed to Minnesota State-Mankato, is among the most prolific scorers in the state.
Lukas Jaycox (Senior, Warroad, No. 132 N.A.)
When compared to teams in the metro, northern schools like Warroad are known for their big hits and physical play. Jaycox, a large defenseman, embodies just that; he has a tangible presence on the ice and opponents better not lose track of him, because he can lay down a massive check at any time.
Jacob Olsen (Senior, Hill-Murray, No. 157 N.A.)
The Hill-Murray power play runs through Olsen. A 6’3” defenseman with a heat-seaking shot that usually finds its way to the back of the net, Olsen plays for one of the preeminent high school hockey programs in the Twin Cities, but is headed out east to join the Harvard Crimson next year. Considered a Mr. Hockey snub because of his impact for the Pioneers, Olsen’s only weakness may be his speed, something he’ll have to improve on if he’s going to make an impact at the next level.
Jack Becker (Junior, Mahtomedi, No. 166 N.A.)
An impact player on one of the best Class A schools in Minnesota, Becker is a big-bodied power forward who creates havoc for goaltenders in front of the net. He’s performed well against competition from strong Class AA programs, and has stood out among the smaller schools: He has 22 goals in 23 games for the Zephyrs this season.
Jack McNeely (Senior, Lakeville North, No. 177 N.A.)
A lanky, 6’3” defenseman with good puck skills, Neely played with his brother Mike before the latter headed up north to tend net for the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs of the NCHC. Paired with Sadek, McNeely is a major reason why Lakeville North is considered the best team in Class AA and a potential threat to two-time state champion Edina.
Will Borgen (Senior, Moorhead, No. 194 N.A.)
A big, aggressive player that also offers a palette of finer skills as well, Borgen is a Top-10 player in penalty minutes who also registered over a point per game for the Spuds. While he’s capable of laying down a big check and doesn’t back off from the scrum, his skating is artistic and he has a good hockey IQ that should translate well at St. Cloud State next season.
Special thanks to Danny Ryan, my co-host on 105 The Ticket & Cold Omaha’s High School Hockey Podcast, for additional information on these players.
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