As is the case previously, Minnesota has a group of senior hockey players this year that’s hard to compare to any other across the nation. With that being the case, it’s nearly to impossible to cover all of the highly-coveted players in the self-proclaimed state of hockey. I recently referenced the 20 players vying for Mr. Hockey this season. But there are plenty more worthy of the praise.
Here are five more players who will definitely cause hockey fans to double take this season:
School: St. Cloud Cathedral
PrepHockey rank: No. 1
College commitment: Minnesota-Duluth
With the group coming back for St. Cloud Cathedral this season, the Crusaders enter as heavy favorites in Class 1A to repeat as state champions. That reputation comes thanks in part to returners such as Jack Smith. The No. 1 player in our Class of 2020 rankings dazzled as a junior with a team-best 31 goals. The future Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog will have high expectations as a senior but appears to be someone who can exceed those expectations.
PrepHockey rank: No. 7
College commitment: Northern Michigan
Luke Gramer was a force along the blue line for a Moorhead team that made its way to St. Paul for the 2019 Class 2A state tournament. Gramer was a part of that as he shelled out 21 assists during the regular season, third best on the team. He’ll have one more shot at showcasing his skills before graduating and eventually playing for former Minnesota Gopher Grant Potulny at Northern Michigan.
PrepHockey rank: No. 11
College commitment: Minnesota
Like a few other players in the class of 2020, Rhett Pitlick sports a last name easily recognized in the Minnesota hockey community. And much like his relatives, Rhett is a special player. He’s a part of a Chaska team that has received preseason hype in recent seasons but can’t seem to make a run come postseason time. Pitlick and his teammates will look to do just that.
PrepHockey rank: No. 20
College commitment: None
Heading into the 2019 Class 1A state tournament, Mahtomedi was the top seed and looked to have enough playmakers to finish the job and win the state title. Part of that confidence came from Nikolai Dulak. Then-junior Dulak was a major force up front and will have a chance once again to make some noise this year as the Zephyrs continue to put themselves in the discussion for the small-school state title.
PrepHockey rank: No. 21
College commitment: None
Grant Slukynsky begins his final season this fall a part of one of Minnesota’s most historic programs. After a successful junior campaign, Slukynsky looks primed to add his name to the list of Warriors who have gone onto future hockey careers after high school. In his junior season, Slukynsky tallied 29 goals in 27 games played. That included six points in the section playoffs. Slukynsky and Warroad will hope that Slukynsky will not only replicate that individual success but help the team return to state.