Top 10 Minnesota High School League prospects for 2009

By DJ Powers

This year’s crop of draft eligible players coming out of the Minnesota High School League for the 2009 NHL Draft is an excellent one that could yield a number of selections within the first three or four rounds. All stats listed are as of Dec. 22 unless otherwise noted.

Note: Shattuck St. Mary’s is not included since they are not part of this league.

Zach Budish, C

Edina High School
6’2.5, 229
May 9, 1991

If it weren’t for a torn ACL that he suffered in a playoff game with the Hornets football team back in October, Zach Budish most likely would’ve been a first round pick in the 2009 draft. The injury wipes out his final year at Edina and in the process has caused his draft stock to decline. However, he could still go in the early rounds of the draft due to the excellent skill package and size that he possesses.

Of all the Minnesota High School League players eligible, Budish may be the most complete. At nearly 6’3, he certainly has size. Budish is a powerful skater who has remarkably good speed and acceleration for such a big man. He has great instincts, good vision, and makes very good decisions in all three zones. Budish utilizes his large frame and strength very well, including on the physical side. He can deliver some solid checks without taking himself out of the play. He also has great hands and superb playmaking ability.

Budish has committed to the University of Minnesota for the fall of 2009.

Dan Delisle, C

Totino-Grace High School
6’4, 222
Sept. 24, 1990

At 6’4/222 lbs, Dan Delisle is a man-child among high school players. He is a powerful skater with long, fluid strides and surprisingly good acceleration. Aside from his size, where Delisle really stands out is in his offensive creativity. He sees the ice very well and can finish as well as set up plays. He has good hockey sense and is very smart with the puck.

Delisle uses his enormous size, reach and strength to great advantage both offensively and defensively. He has very good defensive zone awareness and his aggressive checking style has helped to make him a valuable cog on the Eagles penalty-killing unit.

Delisle currently ranks sixth in the state in scoring with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in eight games. He is averaging 2.75 points per game.

Delisle has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the fall of 2009.

Marshall Everson, LW
Edina High School
6’1.5, 190
Sept. 5, 1990

As good as Marshall Everson was last year as a junior, he’s even better this year as a senior. To start with, he looks stronger out on the ice and that’s reflected in his great play all over the ice. His added physical strength has also enhanced the power in his skating without sacrificing speed.

Everson is a very strong two-way winger who plays almost equally as well defensively as he does offensively. He uses his size and strength to great advantage, especially when it comes to battling for puck possession. He is a tough competitor who plays with a bit of an edge and never backs down when challenged. Everson is basically a player who you’d love to have on your team, but would hate to have to play against.

Two of Everson’s greatest attributes are his hands and his vision. He can make plays at high speeds and distributes the puck really well. He also possesses great stick work, which can be seen in the way he takes away open lanes and spaces.

Everson currently leads the Hornets with seven goals and is tied for second on the team with 13 points through eight games.

Everson has committed to Harvard University for the fall of 2009.

Ben Hanowski, RW

Little Falls High School
6’1.5, 198
Oct. 18, 1990

If you like prolific goal scorers, then Little Falls senior Ben Hanowski is your type of player. Hanowski doesn’t just score, he scores in bunches. And he does it often. He is currently making a push to become the all-time career-scoring leader in the Minnesota State High School League. The record of 378 is held by former University of Minnesota standout Johnny Pohl. Hanowski currently has 286 points.

On the season thus far, Hanowski currently co-leads the state with 17 goals and is averaging 4.33 points per game. Overall, he has 26 points in six games.

In addition to scoring prowess, Hanowski is blessed with great hands and creativity. He is a power forward who has shown a knack for scoring timely goals as well. Hanowski also possesses a great shot with a very quick release. In addition to scoring the goals, he can also set up plays and can be very dangerous below the dots.

Hanowski has committed to St. Cloud State University for 2009.

Tyler Lapic, C

New Prague High School
6’2, 183
Jan. 10, 1991

New Prague junior Tyler Lapic is a relatively unknown player outside of the Minnesota High School League circles that is certainly one to watch. Through six games with the Trojans, Lapic has posted eight points (five goals, three assists) and leads the team with 18 penalty minutes.

Lapic can perhaps be best described as a skilled and instinctive offensive player. He has tremendous awareness and thinks the game remarkably well for such a young player. He has good size, but it is also quite evident that he is still growing into his body. Nevertheless, Lapic thrives in the physical game. He does a great job of staying with plays and is strong on the puck.

Lapic is particularly dangerous around the net. If he’s not putting the puck in the net, then he can often be found getting it to one of his teammates. He has superb playmaking ability and can utilize open spaces quite well. Lapic is an excellent skater with very good speed who moves really well with the puck.

Lapic has committed to the University of Wisconsin for the fall of 2010.

Nick Leddy, D

Eden Prairie High School
5’11, 179
Mar. 20, 1991

Eden Prairie senior Nick Leddy might be the best all-around defenseman currently playing in the Minnesota High School League. While he is on the small side, he is fast and excellent in transition. But what separates Leddy from many other Minnesota high school rearguards is his ability to make plays at high speeds. He possesses great hands and is very poised and patient with the puck. Another of Leddy’s great attributes is his shot along with an exceedingly quick release.

Leddy is very solid in his positioning. He has good vision and makes smart decisions, both offensively and defensively. He can play in any situation too. While Leddy is not an overly physical player, he will play the body when necessary.

Leddy currently leads the Eagles in defensive scoring with nine points (two goals, seven assists) through seven games. He also leads the team with a plus-8.

Leddy has committed to the University of Minnesota for 2009.

Anders Lee, C
Edina High School
6’2, 209
Jul. 3, 1990

It isn’t often that one comes across a player who is being heavily recruited by D-I schools in two sports. But that is the case with Anders Lee. The Edina centerman was also a standout quarterback on the Hornets football team this season. As a result, the uncommitted senior is getting numerous scholarship offers in both hockey and football. Among the hockey programs pursuing Lee include Harvard, Denver, Notre Dame and Minnesota, who has also been courting him on the football side as well.

It’s not hard to see why Lee is being heavily recruited. He has good size and is quite agile. Lee is an excellent skater with good speed. He is an intelligent player with great vision. One attribute that stands out about Lee is ability to create and utilize open spaces and lanes. He is a player who moves with the puck really well, and is very difficult to move off of it as well. Lee possesses a blistering shot with an equally quick release. He is also very good along the boards and in the corners.

Lee currently leads Edina in scoring with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) through eight games.  He is tied for second on the team (with Everson) with a plus-9.

Danny Mattson, C

Academy of Holy Angels
5’10, 174
Nov. 20, 1990

Holy Angels senior Danny Mattson may not be the biggest guy playing at the Minnesota high school level, but he is one of the most electrifying. The crafty Stars centerman possesses blazing speed with a great first step and acceleration. Another notable aspect to his skating his is the remarkably quick pivots that he makes, particularly in transition. Mattson is an excellent playmaker and passer. He can find and get pucks to his teammates quite well. He is creative and can make something out of nothing.

The very quick release to his shots makes him a dynamic player. He has great hand-eye coordination and moves quite well with the puck. His low center of gravity and quickness allows him to move quite well through traffic.

Mattson currently leads the Stars with 18 points (five goals, 13 assists) in five games played. His plus-13 is tied for 11th in the state.

Mattson has committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of 2009.

Nick Oliver, LW
Roseau High School
6’2.5, 184
May 4, 1991

After 11 games with USHL’s Fargo Force, winger Nick Oliver has opted to return to Roseau to finish out his high school career. However, his season debut with the Rams will be delayed due to nursing a collarbone injury he suffered on Nov. 1 versus Lincoln. Prior to returning to Roseau, Oliver posted a goal and an assist with Fargo.

The son of Roseau head coach Scott Oliver, Nick is a banging and crashing type of forward with size and grit. He is versatile in that he can play both at center and on wing. Oliver brings a physical presence to his game, often delivering bone-jarring hits to opposing players. As he fills out his nearly 6’3 frame, he’ll become an even more intimidating force to be reckoned with. He is extremely competitive, works hard, and is never one to give up on the puck so easily. He also does an outstanding job of supporting plays as well. Oliver isn’t the prettiest skater, but he does get around the rink quite well.

One of Oliver’s best attributes is his shot. It’s accurate with a very quick release. He is very good around and has shown a knack for scoring the so-called “garbage” goals.

Oliver has committed to St. Cloud State University for the fall of 2009.

Max Tardy, C

Duluth East High School
5’11.5, 168
Oct. 27, 1990

While Duluth East senior Max Tardy may be a bit under most people’s draft radar, he is a player that is definitely worth keeping an eye on. He currently leads the Greyhounds with nine points (six goals, three assists) through six games.

What Tardy lacks in size, he more than makes up for with his tenacity, ultra-competitiveness and offensive abilities. He is a shifty player who brings a ton of energy to his game. Tardy is relentless in his forechecking and isn’t one to shy away from the physical side of the game. He possesses a bit of a junkyard dog mentality when it comes to battling for puck possession.

Tardy’s skating is quite good. He can get up to speed quickly and moves very well with the puck at high speeds. Tardy possesses great hands, vision and superb puck distribution ability. He is a smart, creative player who makes good decisions with the puck. He can find and get pucks quickly to his teammates as well.

Tardy has committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth for the fall of 2009.

Others on the radar: Izaak Berglund, D, Little Falls; Tyler Landman, C, Roseau; Nate Schmidt, D, St. Cloud Cathedral; Joe Schmitz, D, Centennial; Berkley Scott, C, Anoka; Charlie Taft, RW, Edina; Tyler Zepeda, C, Hill-Murray.