With the season at a close, it is time to look at who has been named among the finalists for Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award.
In my mid-season update, I named 10 players most likely to receive the award. With a few new finalists announced, I went 7-for-10 with my early-season predictions! This year is full of deserving candidates, from front-runner Sammy Walker of Edina to Garrett Worth of Duluth East. There were also some snubs that I will address. But here are the
10 finalists and how I predict they will finish if voting results were released.
1. Sammy Walker (F) – Edina Hornets – Committed to the University of Minnesota
28 Goals, 30 Assists, 58 Points (2.32 Points Per Game) *
Where do I even begin with Sammy? This kid is special, and he has led this Edina team to their best regular-season in decades, which is saying something. He can fill up a highlight reel on his own. From wrap-around goals, splitting defenses with his blistering speed, to his unselfish play, he does it all. This is his award to lose and I would be utterly shocked and confused if he doesn’t come away with it. Add in the fact that he plays on a line with Jett Jungels (46 points) and Demetrios Komountzis (39 points), shows how great he is and how deserving he is of it. I asked him what it meant to be finalist and he was nothing but humble and grateful. He told me, “Being named as a finalist for Mr. Hockey is a huge honor. Seeing all the people who have won the award in the past and having a chance to do the same is very special.” Add in that if he wins, he will be the first Edina player to win which adds that much more meaning for him and the community of Edina. It’s been a blast to watch him play and it is something myself and many others will not soon be forgetting.
2. Garrett Worth (F) – Duluth East Greyhounds – Uncommitted
38 Goals, 19 Assists, 57 Points (2.28 Points Per Game)
Alongside Walker, Worth is on a whole other level. He can get Duluth East to their first championship if he wants to. He plays with intent and shoots with an accuracy that is not usually seen at the high school level. I am unsure of his plans after this season, but I am still shocked that I haven’t heard of him committing anywhere yet. If Sammy does not win the award, I think Garrett is the clear-cut guy to win it and I don’t think it’s close after him.
3. Demetrios Komountzis (C) – Edina Hornets – Committed to Arizona State
20 Goals, 14 Assists, 34 Points (1.42 Points Per Game)
He won’t win the award and he didn’t put up the gaudy numbers his teammate Sammy Walker or others on this list have. But every time he touched the ice or wasn’t on you felt the presence or absence. A lot of people think his selection is based of his Elite League performance and that he has made a lot of noise this year with his one-game
academic probation, but I believe that numbers are not everything. I even mentioned that in my mid-season report. He was always the one to step up for his teammates and other teams often singled him out as a target. He did show signs of selfish play at times, but I attribute that to his lack of support on teams he has played on in the past and not fully realizing how deep the Edina team he is on.
4. George Grannis (F) – Duluth Marshall Hilltoppers – Uncommitted
29 Goals, 23 Assists, 52 Points (2.08 Points Per Game)
Grannis has really slowed since I last wrote about this award. He came on so strong early in the season that it was an unsustainable pace for a kid on a team that plays a tough schedule and tough section. With that being said, he got his assist total up and nearly doubled that since the mid-season update.
5. Carter Randklev (F) – Moorhead Spuds – Committed to the University of North Dakota
24 Goals, 17 Assists, 41 Points (1.64 Points Per Game)
Another player who has slowed down since the update, Carter only has 13 points since then. Again, that isn’t a bad thing. The Spuds have been more of an up and down team since the beginning of the year, but this award can be interpreted as a teammate award as well as a statistical one. He has them as the top seed in Section 8AA and has the opportunity to put them on his shoulders and get them to their second straight state final.
6. Lucas McGregor (F) – Centennial Cougars – Uncommitted
22 Goals, 36 Assists, 58 Points (2.32 Points Per Game)
Barring anything strange occurring in his section, I fully anticipate seeing a lot of McGregor at state. He has been one of the most consistent players in the state in terms of scoring all season and it is always refreshing seeing a guy on this list with a higher assist total than goal total. It may be a sign that he cannot carry the team on his back according to some, but that has yet to really be seen.
7. Ben Almquist (F) – Holy Family Catholic Fire – Committed to the University of Wisconsin
21 Goals, 15 Assists, 36 Points (2.4 Points Per Game)
Another speed demon alongside Walker, Almquist leads Holy Family in points by eight as Garrett Pinoniemi (So.) is the next closest with 28 with 22 of those being assists. I have seen Almquist play only once this year, a 7-0 loss to Edina to open the season, but with the schedule the Fire plays along with being in the competitive 2AA section he deserves to be this high on the list.
8. Luke LaMaster (D) – Duluth East Greyhounds – Uncommitted
4 Goals, 31 Assists, 35 Points (1.4 Points Per Game)
I am honestly surprised that LaMaster got the nod over his teammate, Ian Mageau, who had 16 goals and 30 assists along with being an honorable mention in my mid-season update. This doesn’t mean LaMaster doesn’t belong on this list. He has stood out every time he is on the ice on the back end and will make an impact wherever he ends up. He is also the only defender on the list so that may be part of the reason they gave it to him over Mageau.
9. Luke Loheit (F) – Minnetonka Skippers – Committed to Minnesota Duluth
12 Goals, 18 Assists, 30 Points (1.25 Points Per Game)
He did not put up the numbers others have on this list, but he snuck in as it would be crazy not to have the leader of the top ranked team in state on it. He has guided the Skippers to a 21-2-2 record full of sophomores and juniors and that should be rewarded.
10. Colin Schmidt (F) – Wayzata Trojans – Committed to the University of Minnesota
12 Goals, 27 Assists, 39 Points (1.56 Points Per Game)
The surprise of the list. Colin snuck in with a good season but was unable to lift his team over conference foes. He is an all-around great player, but I personally am shocked he got in over St. Thomas Academy players.
Payton Matsui (F) – St. Thomas Academy Cadets – Uncommitted
26 Goals, 28 Assists, 54 Points (2.16 Points Per Game)
Arguably the biggest snub of the bunch, Matsui is going to be a force to be reckoned with throughout sections and state. Like Walker, his speed, technique, and well-roundedness give him all the tools to elevate above opponents and bring his team with him.
Ray Christy (F) – St. Thomas Academy Cadets – Committed to Colorado College
14 Goals, 38 Assists, 52 Points (2.08 Points Per Game)
The second biggest snub of this list. Christy was outstanding as a pass-first forward that focused on his team winning over his own statistics.
Ian Mageau (F) – Duluth East Greyhounds – Uncommitted
16 Goals, 30 Assists, 46 Points (1.84 Points Per Game)
Solid play all year led him to getting snubbed. Most likely due to the committee wanting a defender on the list.
Related: “Mr. Hockey” — All-Time List
* (all statistics as of 2/18/18)
Written by Jack Kewitsch / @JackKewitsch
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