Posted On: 11/17/21 6:49 PM

We are nearing the start of the high school hockey season, and the excitement is ramping up. 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 better conferences- the Metro West Conference. The Metro West contains Benilde St. Margaret’s, Bloomington Jefferson, Bloomington Kennedy, Chanhassen, Chaska, St. Louis Park, New Prague, Orono, Waconia. Today we are covering forwards that are worthy of recognition in this conference for their returns. This conference has a pretty solid mix of teams and a very good mix of players. Let’s take a look at these top 3 returning defensemen-

1.  Tristan Sarsland Tristan Sarsland 6'0" | Defense Benilde St. Margarets | 2022 State MN  6’0 Defenseman Benilde St. Maragaret’s Senior

Tristan Sarsland Tristan Sarsland 6'0" | Defense Benilde St. Margarets | 2022 State MN is one of the top returning players coming back in the whole state. We featured him in a previous article, that he is one of the front runners for Mr. Hockey, and that is very true by all of the MN HS hockey writers. Sarsland is one of the best offensive defensemen in the whole state, as last year he finished with 12 goals and 12 assists in 20 games played. Sarsland is currently on a top 15 team in the state, and the eyes of a lot of fans and true hockey fans this year. Sarsland is committed to the University of Colorado College, and will likely be there or at juniors next year. Sarsland is ranked as our top AA defenseman coming back to high school this year.

2.  Sam Rinzel Sam Rinzel 6'4" | Defense Chaska | 2023 State MN  6’4 Defenseman Chaska Junior

Sam Rinzel Sam Rinzel 6'4" | Defense Chaska | 2023 State MN is currently ranked as our #4 defender in our class of 2023 rankings. The University of Minnesota commit finished his Sophomore season, with 8 goals and 17 assists in 19 games played. Rinzel averaged 1.3 points per game, and his best game of the season is when he scored 2 goals against Benilde. Rinzel ended up finishing the season with one more total point than Sarsland, but he is just a little younger. Rinzel is a very good playmaker from the point; he is the quarterback from the point on the powerplay. Rinzel had 9 assists on the power play last year. This is a huge year in the development of the young star Rinzel.

3. Nick Hatton 5’11 Defenseman Bloomington Jefferson Senior

Nick Hatton is slotted as the third best-returning defenseman in this conference; that puts the Jags on the map a little bit this year. Hatton is a very crucial player for Jefferson, and they should be very happy they get him for one more year. Hatton finished last season with 4 goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Hatton did that all in 18 games, so he averaged .83 points per game. Hatton notched 7/11 of his assists last year on the power play, which is impressive. To see him improve and take the next jump, he could become a bit better of a goal scorer. Nonetheless, a very solid player back for the Jaguars.