The Elite of the Elite

I've had the luxury, and yes I really do mean luxury, of watching the Upper Midwest Elite Hockey League games for the past few weekends.  It's been hockey, hockey, and more hockey, like it's suppose to be.

Don't let the post-title mislead you, these players are by no means the best of the Elite League, as there are plenty of players who are talented enough to play college hockey.  These players are those who have already made commitments based on their talents.

Obviously I've covered more teams than others, but in the end I've seen them all a few times at least.  During this time, I've taken some notes and watched a lot of kids skate.  My findings, which I will try to keep optimistic, will be listed below.  I'll review the college-committed players for each team, supplemented with some scouting insight from Over The Boards, and photography that I took with my new baby.

Quick "BTW"...  If you haven't had a chance to watch an Elite League game, I would highly recommend it.  This weekend there will be games in Duluth, if you're interested, at MARS Arena.  Check out HSEliteHockey.com for more information.

Trust me, there's a reason scouts from all over the midwest flock to the Elite rinks on weekends.  Some great hockey to be seen!

Let's get down to business.

NCHC Recruits

Colt Conrad - Shattuck-St. Mary's - Western Michigan

I haven't had as much time to watch SSM, but the Western Michigan recruit seems to be holding his own quite nicely.  The junior forward has tallied 5 points in Shattuck's six games in the Elite League.

Joey Anderson - Team Northeast - Minnesota Duluth

Joey Anderson is the only freshman playing in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League.  It would seem as though the '98 born forward would have hopes of just keeping up with the Midwest's top talent, but thats far from the truth.  Anderson has buried eight goals and assisted on six others for 14 points in just 12 games for Team Northeast.  The future looks bright for the 5-10, Hill-Murray youngin'.

Luc Snuggerud - Team Southeast - Nebraska Omaha

Easily one of the best players this year.  Snuggerud is constantly on the ice, or though it seems, and always playing his part.  At 6-1 180lbs, the defenseman is able to hold his line and play the physical game he wants, but also displays the ability to know when to back off.  He can take the puck up the ice with ease and his passes are crisp.  UNO will benefit greatly from this kid.

Steven Spinner - Team Southeast - Nebraska Omaha

Spinner is gonna be one of the quickest guys on the ice, guaranteed.  He's quick to get from point A to B, and is willing to play a physical game to do so.  Spinner's best quality is his ability to mask his intentions.  The Eden Prairie senior can make defenders look clueless when predicting his moves; also works extremely well with teammate Snuggerud.


Big Ten Recruits

Ryan Lindgren - Shattuck-St. Mary's - Minnesota

Lindgren is young, a '98 defenseman who is visibly deveoping and improving his game week and week.  The future gopher seems conservative, but isn't afraid to cruise the rink.  In six games, Lindgren has earned one assist.

Ryan Norman - Shattuck-St. Mary's - Minnesota

The junior forward is bound to be successful.  I had limited time watching him during the Elite League games, but you can tell he's got a mind for finding the back of the net.  Norman has seven points in six games so far in the Elite League competition

Rem Pitlick - Shattuck-St. Mary's - Minnesota

To be honest, I didn't know what to expect from the 5-5 forward, but what I saw, only verified why he's committed to a college hockey school.  Pitlick, son of former gopher and NHL'er Lance Pitlick, proves every shift what he's capable of.
“He has a quick release and a good shot, and a ton of hockey sense, which has clearly developed from a few years of ducking and finding open ice by necessity.  Reads and reacts to plays quickly and isn’t afraid to jump a skater.” - OTB - Rem Pitlick

Brock Boeser - Team Southeast - Wisconsin

Boeser is everywhere.  That's the best way to describe him, because he's constantly making an impact on the game.  The junior forward is almost 6 feet tall and uses all 188 pounds of himself to do whatever he can to benefit the team.  It's also no secret he can accelerate easily, making him adaptable to whatever may be happening on the ice.

Tommy Novak - Team Southeast - Minnesota

May just be the most lethal weapon on the ice as soon as he steps foot onto it.  Hell, he can probably hit the net while standing in the parking lot.  Comes off as almost lazy, but with a flip of a swift can change his pace.  I use the term "lethal" because of his shot, which tends to find spaces that may not even exist, but the puck still finds the back of the net, in a quick manner.

Matthew Berkovitz - Team Wisconsin - Wisconsin

Berkovitz is a member of one of the best defenses in the Elite League.  At 6-1, he is plenty capable of taking on anybody who decides to try and get by him and has the ability to understand when to stand up to the threat or play it.  Extremely smart and smooth, has silently scored 2 goals and has 8 assists in Team Wisconsin's 12 games.

Matthew Freytag - Team Northwest - Wisconsin

Freytag, a Wayzata, MN junior, hasn't played as much as (only 6 games), but has still made an impact on the ice by scoring two goals.
"Freytag is a well-rounded offensive threat who is constantly in the mix. He’s got the build to take a beating driving the net but his heavy shot, uncanny understanding of where to position himself and when to release make us think he projects more like a sniper than a power forward. - OTB - Matthew Freytag"

WCHA Recruits

Mitch Reinke - Team Northeast - Michigan Tech

The Stillwater senior is making his presence felt in the Elite League this year.  Stand just under 5-10, he's not your typical blue-liner, but has a variety of skills that make up for what he lacks in size.  Due to his ability to sauce the puck in quickest, and smoothest way possible, Reinke has assisted on 10 goals for 11 points this season.

Travis Brown - Team Northwest - Michigan Tech

Brown is not your typical defenseman.  Although he may not be a main contender for points at the end of the season, what the 6-1, 201 pound Rogers senior will do, is claim the puck, whenever it is near.  He is very capable of using his body, thus coming out of the corner with the puck most of the time.

Jason Krych - Team Northwest - Minnesota State

The Totino-Grace junior may not be as tall as the forwards bull-rushing towards him, but he will put up more of a fight.  Krych does a great job at not only protecting his own goaltender, but also protecting the whole defensive zone.  Anytime the puck enters, Krych will be the first to it and the one to break it out in a very timely fashion.

Hockey East Recruits

Clayton Keller - Shattuck-St. Mary's - Boston University

Keller is only a sophomore at SSM, but making an impact already.  In only six games, Keller has tallied both three goals and assists for six points.  Unfortunately, those were the only notes I was able to take.

Dylan Malmquist - Team Southwest - Notre Dame

With his recent committment to Notre Dame, Malmquist left the list of Minnesota's top prospects and increased the pipeline size between Edina and Notre Dame.  Although young, Malmquist has an incrediable amount of potential.  He's a natural goal scorer with a great hockey sense.  With Team Southwest, Malmquist has scored four goals and tallied seven assists in eleven games.

Jake Wahlin - Team Northeast - University of Massachusetts

Jake Wahlin has an knack for finding the back of the net, seemingly whenever he wants.  The White Bear Lake junior will eventually join his brother at U. Mass, but until then, plan on him tearing up hockey rinks across Minnesota.  During the Elite League season, Wahlin had a 5-game goal streak which puts his total goals at nine and points at 16 in the 13 games.

Atlantic Hockey

Seamus Donohue - Team Northeast - Air Force

Donohue, a junior at St. Thomas Academy, has scored seven points in the nine games he has taken part in.  At 5-11, he isn't the biggest guy in the lineup, but will stand up to anybody who tries to rush.
"Donohue has really come on strong as of late. His decision-making was a question mark for us last season and that has become less of a concern for us, specifically in his own end. Donohue is a creative, resourceful blue liner who can usually get the puck out of his zone and onto someone’s tape with efficient, non-telegraphed passes." - OTB - Seamus Donohue

Each player on this list has their own specific player page on HS Elite Hockey.  On these pages you can view highlight videos that pertain to each player, which is a cool application that has been incorporated this year.

To catch the action live, follow along on the website, or follow @HSEliteHockey on twitter for instant highlights, just minutes after they happen!

Special thanks to Over The Boards for allowing the use of their professional scouting quotes.

Questions?  Comments?  Ask Below!

Enjoy.

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