A dozen current high school hockey players are part of 22 Minnesota natives named to the NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch list for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
The 2016 draft will be held June 24-25 at First Niagara Center in Buffalo.
Blaine senior wing Riley Tufte was the lone prep player to receive an ‘A Rating,’ which indicates a potential first-round selection.
Centers Michael Graham of Eden Prairie and Mitchell Mattson of Grand Rapids were given a ‘B Rating,’ for potential second or third round selection.
Players who received a ‘C Rating,’ rounds four through six, were wings Ash Altmann (Duluth East) and Brady Tatro (Bemidji) plus seven defensemen: Shay Donovan (Duluth East), Tyler Jette (Farmington), Wyatt Newpower (White Bear Lake), Scott Perunovich (Hibbing/Chisholm), Jason Smallidge (St. Thomas Academy), Alex Spencer (Duluth East) and Casey Staum (Hill-Murray).
David La Vaque has covered all but one state hockey tournament game since 2009 and has worked as a Star Tribune high school sports reporter since 2004. His favorite tournament experiences include cheering for alma mater St. Paul Johnson in 1991 and staying for most of the Apple Valley/Duluth East marathon semifinal game in 1996. Loren Nelson has covered every state tournament since 2009 as the national media editor for Sport Ngin. He attended many, many other Tourney games as a high schooler from the far northern reaches of Minnesota making the annual pilgrimage south to the old St. Paul Civic Center in the 1980s.