Blaine’s Riley Tufte draws comparisons to former Bengal and NHL winger Nick Bjugstad.
Concern about whether Blaine standout Riley Tufte would win Mr. Hockey was far from the mind of Bengals coach Chris Carroll.
All season long, whether ringing Carroll’s cellphone or showing up at practice, NHL scouts confirmed Tufte was something special.
“I don’t know many NHL teams I didn’t talk to,” Carroll said. “It sounds like he’s a surefire first-rounder.”
Tufte received the Mr. Hockey award Sunday at the St. Paul RiverCentre, given to the top senior skater in Minnesota.
“Seeing all the guys that have played beyond college that have won Mr. Hockey is awesome,” said Tufte, a 6-5, 220-pound winger and a projected first-round NHL draft pick in June. “It’s very exciting for me and my family.”
Tufte led the metro area this season with 49 goals, added 36 assists and relished taking a leadership role. A top scorer and model teammate, Tufte was previously named the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year. He committed to Minnesota Duluth.
Tufte draws comparisons to Nick Bjugstad, a budding star with the Florida Panthers. Both were tall, blond forwards who wore No. 27 while at Blaine. They are both Mr. Hockey winners as well. Bjugstad got the award in 2010.
In its 32nd year, the Mr. Hockey award is presented by the Minnesota Minute Men. The selection was made by a committee of NHL scouts and junior hockey scouts and coaches plus media members.
Tufte was chosen ahead of finalists Wyatt Aamodt (Hermantown), Chase Ellingson (Breck), Will Garin (Holy Family Catholic), Cade Gleekel (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Michael Graham (Eden Prairie), Tyler Jette (Farmington), Mitchell Mattson (Grand Rapids), Luke Notermann (Blaine) and Casey Staum (Hill-Murray).
Nick Althaus of St. Cloud Apollo won the Frank Brimsek Award, which honors the state’s top senior goalie. The other finalist was River Alander of Duluth Denfeld.
|1985||Tom Chorske||Minneapolis Southwest||LW|
|1987||Kris Miller||Greenway, Coleraine||D|
|1990||Joe Dziedzic||Minneapolis Edison||LW|
|1992||Brian Bonin||White Bear Lake||C|
|1993||Nick Checco||Bloomington Jefferson||LW|
|1994||Mike Crowley||Bloomington Jefferson||D|
|1995||Erik Rasmussen||St. Louis Park||LW|
|1996||Dave Spehar||Duluth East||F|
|1997||Aaron Miskovich||Grand Rapids||C|
|1998||Johnny Pohl||Red Wing||C|
|2000||Paul Martin||Elk River||D|
|2002||Gino Guyer||Greenway, Coleraine||C|
|2003||Nate Dey||North St. Paul||F|
|2006||David Fischer||Apple Valley||D|
|2007||Ryan McDonagh||Cretin-Derham Hall||D|
|2009||Nick Leddy||Eden Prairie||D|
|2011||Kyle Rau||Eden Prairie||C|
|2012||Justin Kloos||Lakeville South||C|
|2013||Grant Besse||Benilde-St. Margaret's||LW|
|2014||Avery Peterson||Grand Rapids||C|
|2015||Jake Jaremko||Elk River||F|
|2017||Casey Mittelstadt||Eden Prairie||C|