We are back today for another conference preseason preview; where we highlight the top returning players at each position and also preview the best teams in the said conference. The conference this week will be one of the top-tier conferences- the Metro East Conference. The Metro East contains St. Thomas, Hill Murray, Hastings, Mahtomedi, Tartan, Simley, South St. Paul, Henry Sibley. Today we are covering defensemen that are worthy of recognition in this conference for their returns. This conference has a very solid mix of teams and a very good mix of players. This conference has many state tourney appearances, mainly from Hill Murray, St. Thomas, and Mahtomedi. Out of this group of defensemen we have one college commit. This conference sure has better forwards this year, but here are the forwards worth noting;
Kluender is the only current D1 commit defenseman in this conference, as he is committed to the University of Wisconsin. Kluender is currently with the Des Moines buccaneers AAA team, and it sounds likely that he comes back for his senior year. Kluender is for sure a really good physical, defensive defenseman. The one part of his game that can be elevated for sure is his offensive side of the game. Reed finished with only 4 points last season. Nonetheless, his physicality and defending ability put him amongst the top defenseman in the state. Prep Hockey currently has him ranked as the #8 player and #3 defenseman in the state for his class.
2. Alex Blegley | Defenseman | Hill Murray | Class of 2022 and Leo Gruba Hill Murray
Alex Blegley is the best playmaking defenseman in this conference. Last season he had 14 assists and 4 points. He is on a very good team and has a very good D partner, in Leo Gruba. Gruba is our 3rd best-returning defender returning back to this conference. This duo is the best-underrated duo in the state that people don’t really talk about. Gruba had 4 goals and 11 assists for 15 points. They combined last season as a duo getting 8 goals, 25 assists for 33 points. Hill Murray is a state favorite this year among many people, and this D pairing should be their top producer. Very formidable duo at the blue line for hill this year.