Class of 2024 Rankings: The Newcomers (Part 1)
When it comes to ranking 101 players across the state of Minnesota, it is inevitable that some new faces will make themselves known. Whether it was on the ice or in the final box score, all of these skaters made…
When it comes to ranking 101 players across the state of Minnesota, it is inevitable that some new faces will make themselves known. Whether it was on the ice or in the final box score, all of these skaters made leaps and bounds to stand out and add to their game during the 2022-2023 season, and should be celebrated for it. There are guys we missed who finally got their flowers, breakout stars who forced their way onto the list, and even freshly minted varsity starters worth keeping an eye on. That being said, let’s dive into the first batch of new faces in the Class of 2024 rankings.
, Forward, Minnetonka (Rank: 7)
The fact thatmissed our rankings last season is a severe oversight, but the least I could do was make things right this year. The U of M commit has been a standout since his early high school days, and quickly became one of Minnetonka’s most dependable skaters as he grew into his own as a player. Moore netted 37 points on 10 goals and 27 assists last year, a number good for third on his team. The pass-first forward helped bring the Skippers a state title thanks to notching three assists in the final two games, both low scoring bouts that Minnetonka won by razor-thin margins. Moore has incredible vision, athleticism and a useful clutch factor all packed into a 6-foot-2, 180 pound frame. This guy is one of the most complete players in the entire state, and should be a fun one to watch once the winter season kicks off.
, Defenseman, Minnetonka (Rank: 8)
Another Skipper who bulled his way into the top 10,is a physical skater whose on-ice presence elevates his team to new heights. The 6-foot-2, 190 pound lefty was quite the player for Minnetonka, combining stout defense and rock-solid offense with next-level size for a defensemen. He notched eight goals and 19 assists last season, a figure that led defensemen on his team by a wide margin. Even with all of the electrifying forwards Minnetonka posssess, Stout was still an important part of the attack, maximizing his skills on the ice in the process. His role is only set to increase this year, as Minnetonka will be bringing back the majority of its state champion core from last year, a group all due to get better after another whole offseason of training. As it stands now, Stout and the Skippers will be the team to beat heading into the 2023-2024 year.
, Forward, Edina (Rank: 9)
and the word breakout have become synonymous over the last year, primarily thanks to the kid’s incredible junior campaign that saw him earn a spot at the next level. The University of St. Thomas commit had a grand total of zero points as a sophomore, essentially a no-factor on Edina’s stacked roster at the time. Instead of letting this dissuade him though, Cowan got to work, and saw incredible results. The guy went from zero points as a sophomore to notching 38 as a junior, a massive leap in production that saw him become one of the team’s top scorers amidst their state tournament run. Cowan is a great example to young kids everywhere to put their heads down and keep working when things get tough, and for that gargantuan effort, he has ensured he can keep playing the sport he loves past the prep level.
, Defenseman, Warroad (Rank: 13)
The highest ranked guy on this list to not have a collegiate commitment yet,is sure to draw more eyes onto his game thanks to the guy’s unique blend of size and skill. Considered by many to be among the best returning defensemen in the state, the 6-foot-3, 200 pounder is a physical force on the ice, dolling out hits and discouraging much smaller forwards from pressing on. Despite his appearance though, Lund is far from an average bruiser, possessing a savviness with the puck that is usually reserved for forwards. He had 47 points in 2022-2023, the highest I saw of any defensemen, and they came from a relatively even blend of 18 goals and 29 assists, showing Lund can both shoot and swing the puck with the best of them. He anchored a 29-1-1 Warroad squad to the state championship, and as it stands now, Lund and the Warriors are poised for another deep postseason run.
, Goalie, Chanhassen (Rank: 16)
spent his junior year rewriting the record books over at Chanhassen, and as a result, earned a top-20 ranking for his class, making him the highest ranked goalie in these rankings. Hendrickson was a shutout machine in 2022-2023, as he blanked nine teams in only 21 games, a school record. His .940 save percentage was good for fifth in the state (and another school record), and to top it all off, he posted an incredible 1.12 Goals Against Average, a mark that was second statewide and yet another school record for the Lightning. Coming off arguably the best single season between the pipes in school history, Hendrickson will be met with sky-high expectations and opposing teams that are more familiar with his game, but either way, this kid etched himself into prep hockey history, and as a result, should be commended for it.