Posted On: 09/12/21 11:35 PM

We are starting a new series this offseason where we highlight the best returning players at each position in every conference. Today, we are taking a look at the “Big Nine” this conference contains the teams Albert Lea, Austin, Faribault, Mankato East, Mankato West, Northfield, Owatonna, Red Wing, Rochester Century, Rochester John Marshall, Rochester Mayo, Winona. Today we focus on the top returning forwards for this conference- we feature three top players then an honorable mention. Let’s get right into it!

1.  Spencer Klotz Spencer Klotz Forward Northfield | 2022 State MN  6’1 Forward Class of 2022 Northfield High School 

Klotz is the best scoring player in the whole conference and is up there for the top in the state. Klotz is ranked as the number 10 player in the state in the class of 2022 in our Prep Hockey player rankings. Klotz is most definitely the top playmaker in the whole conference; he ended up finishing last season with a super solid 31 assists, which was tied for 14th in the state. His scoring ability is there as well- making him a well-balanced playmaker; as he had 15 goals with 31 assists for last season. He averaged 2.56 points per game last year, which is up there amongst the top of the state last season. Northfield played 18 games, which is crazy that he had 46 points in only 18 games. He would’ve had near 60 points with a couple more games most likely. I see Klotz as the top forward and player overall in the Big Nine conference this coming year, and he is definitely a top 5-10 player in the state in general. I think he will for sure hit 50 points this season and might push 60.


2. Cayden Monson 6’0 Forward Class of 2025 Northfield High School

Cayden Monson was the high school hockey freshman phenom last year, as he had a very outstanding season last year as a freshman. Monson tallied 20 goals and 15 assist for 35 points last season, and that was in 18 games so an average of 1.94. Monson should be ranked as the top player in his class when the rankings drop in a month or two before the season. He is playing with the Iowa Bucanneers AAA team this summer, and we were not sure if he was coming back to high school this season; just received confirmation that he will be playing with Northfield this year. We expect him to only improve this season, and with Klotz on his line I think he will finish with 30 goals and 20 goals in his sophomore year, further proving he is the best in his class. Excited to see what he and Northfield can do this year.


3. Gavin Brunmeier | 6’3 Forward | Class of 2022 | Mankato West High School

Brunmeier is ranked as the 3rd best returning forward in the Big Nine conference, and he is the first one from a different team than Northfield. Brunmeier had solid stats last season, as he finished with a very respectable 30 points with a 17 goal, 13 assist split; that was good for an average of 1.5 pts per game. Brunmeier is currently with the New Ulm Steel in the NA3HL, and is expected to return to Mankato West for his senior year. Brunmeier means a lot to his team, and with a breakout year of around 40-50 points he can get more noticed in the recruiting world and maybe play in the USHL next year.


These are the top three players in the Big Nine conference that are returning this season- one honorable mention is incoming sophomore Gage Schmidt from Mankato West. He finished his freshman year with a very respectable 15 goals and 8 assists. Watch for him to potentially breakout this season. We will be back next article with the top returning defenseman from the big nine!