Posted On: 11/18/21 9:58 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 Northwest Suburban Conference. The Northwest Suburban contains Maple Grove, Andover, Centennial, Rogers, Totino-Grace, Blaine, Champlin Park, Elk River, Osseo, Armstrong Cooper, Spring Lake Park, Anoka, Coon Rapids. Today we are covering forwards 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. Let’s take a look at these top 3 returning forwards-

  1. Gavyn Thoreson Gavyn Thoreson 5'8" | Forward Andover | 2023 State MN | 5’8 Forward | Andover | Junior

Gavyn Thoreson Gavyn Thoreson 5'8" | Forward Andover | 2023 State MN is just behind Zam Plante Zam Plante 5'7" | Forward Hermantown | 2023 State MN when it comes to reruning juniors; Thoreson is currently ranked as second on our class of 2023 player rankings. Thoreson had a monster year and it is about as good of a year for a AA sophomore as possible. He had 15 goals and 40 assists for 55 total points last year. Thoreson was given a big role in his sophomore season, and he flourished. Thoreson is surprisingly currently uncommitted, but he is playing very well at the HS elite league, as he has 29 points in 20 games. Gavyn is now the top dog on his team, now that Schifsky is gone; Gavyn will really have to score more for this team to help them win. He is a very good playmaker, and a lot of that came from Schifsky’s scoring ability, but he is very talented. Big year should be incoming for Schifsky, as he tries to hit 100 career points in his junior year. Very excited to see him play this year.

2. Landen Gunderson Landen Gunderson 6'0" | Forward Maple Grove | 2023 State MN  | 6’0 Forward | Maple Grove | Junior

Landen Gunderson Landen Gunderson 6'0" | Forward Maple Grove | 2023 State MN from Maple Grove is the next best returning forward to this conference. Gunderson is currently ranked as the 12th best player in his class, and is the 9th best forward. Gunderson played at Maple Grove his freshman year and had 19 points, and his sophomore year he increased it to 48 total points. Gunderson will be Maple Grove’s leader this year on the offensive end, he he make good plays passing the puck and can also score just as well. Gunderson might be a bit underrated on our rankings list, he is cut out for the top ten. Maple Grove loses a lot of production in Kukkonen and Jacobs, so having Gunderson is huge. Gunderson has to take the next jump this year to see his team be successful.

 3.  Sam Ranallo Sam Ranallo 5'10" | Forward Rogers | 2023 State MN  | 5’11 Forward | Rogers | Junior

Ranallo rounds out this trio of this amazing group of returning forwards. Ranallo impressed last season at Rogers as a sophomore, notching 21 goals and 26 assists for 47 points. Ranallo is the reasons that many people, including myself are so high on Rogers this season. Ranallo played 8 games at the HS elite league, and had 9 points which is pretty solid. In his Bantam year two years ago, he had 117 total points for Rogers, which is insane. Currently, Ranallo is ranked as the 9th best player in the class of 2021, and that is pretty reasonable. He might move up a bit based on his performance, but that ranking is good at least for now. Ranallo is such a talented player, and is likely a future D1 commit. Excited to see that he is back this year.

Honorable Mentions:

Blake Lueck Blake Lueck 5'10" | Forward Spring Lake Park | 2022 State MN – Spring Lake Park, Senior- 22 G 19 A 41 PTS

Very solid senior returns for Spring Lake Park this year, and will likely hit over 50 points.

Aj Carls Aj Carls 5'10" | Forward Centennial | 2022 State MN – Centennial, Senior- 19 G 15 A 34 PTS

Centennial gets back their best player from last season, he is one of the most experienced players in the state having played 3 other seasons. He has 110 career points after 3 season, he will push for 150 career points this year. Look for him to be close to the top of points in the state.