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Star Tribune preseason metro dream team

By David La Vaque, Star Tribune, 11/23/15, 2:26PM CST


Meet six players at the head of the class as the 2015-16 season begins in earnest.

Blaine forward Riley Tufte (27) bumps fists with his teammates after scoring a goal against Centennial in the first period of a section playoff game on Feb. 26, 2015 at Aldrich Arena in Maplewood. Star Tribune file photo by Aaron Lavinsky

Michael Graham, sr., F, Eden Prairie

Dynamic player capable of taking over games. Two-way player who keyed Eden Prairie’s state tournament run. Scored 26 goals. Committed to Notre Dame.

Casey Mittelstadt, jr., F, Eden Prairie

Silky-smooth hands helped produce 26 goals and 26 assists as a sophomore making varsity debut. Mature beyond his years. Tallied 41 points to lead the Elite League this fall. Committed to Minnesota.

Riley Tufte, sr., F, Blaine

Tremendous size (6-5, 210 pounds) and skill. Committed to Minnesota-Duluth. Scored 29 goals and added 34 assists to spur Bengals to the state tournament for the first time in four years.

Jason Smallidge, sr., D, St. Thomas Academy

Next in a solid lineage of top-end Cadets’ defensemen. Rushes the puck with aplomb. Should surpass solid junior season totals of five goals and 16 assists.

Casey Staum, sr., D, Hill-Murray

Sees the ice well, makes a smart first pass to get his team moving. Agile, fast skater not afraid to mix things up. Committed to Nebraska-Omaha.

Josh Benson, sr., G, Stillwater

Strong goalkeeper won 15 games last winter, stopping 90 percent of shots faced. Key component of Stillwater’s improved defensive corps. As a sophomore he anchored the Ponies’ first state tournament trip.


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