Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Narrowing The Wisconsin Mr. Hockey Candidates

Every year one of the most debated subject in regards to Wisconsin hockey is who is going to win the prestigious Mr. Hockey award at the high school level. The season is about 2/3 of the way done so we have a pretty good idea of the kids who are going to be in contention at the awards banquet in Madison in March.

I've talked with a few people, taken into account my personal viewings of these players, and considered some statistics when putting together this list. I've narrowed it down to 8 players that I feel have a shot at the award. Are they the 8 that will be finalists? Probably not. But I can guarantee you that the winner will come from this list of 8.

Keep in mind that in order to win the award, you must be a senior in high school. Also, off ice accomplishments are also taken into account. Obviously I could not do that so this list was based simply on what was done at the rink. Without further ado, here is a brief introduction to each of the players (alphabetical order):

Brian Berger-Arrowhead 6/26/1991

Berger, a 5'10, 168 lb forward was an absolute beast last season in the playoffs for Arrowhead leading them to a state championship. He has picked up where he left off and has recorded 21 goals and 21 assists through 18 games so far. Berger's biggest knack for the next level is his lack of size, but the scoring ability is definitely there. With his performance at State last year in the minds of the voters, Berger is going to be one of the favorites for the award in March.

Russell Blaser-Monona Grove 5/9/1992

Blaser, a 5'10, 172 lb forward is making a serious run at the state scoring title this season. He currently sits in second place in the state with 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists), but has played four less games than the leader. He would have to absolutely go off in his last 5 games of the season but it's possible. He was drafted this past summer by the Tri-City Storm in the 12th round of last summers USHL draft.

Brian Kemp-Fond du Lac 9/21/1991

Kemp, a 6'1, 200 lb defenseman is going to have a tough time winning the award because he's not overly flashy. He has put up decent point totals this season for Fond du Lac with 6 goals and 14 assists in 15 games. I've included him in the list not because of the points but because of how sound Kemp is defensively. Like I said he probably won't win the award but he's definitely one of the best players for his position and should be invited for the ceremony.

Nolan Kirley-Hayward 2/25/1992

Kirley, a 5'10, 182 lb defenseman is your prototypical hard ass. A former draft pick in the Ontatio Hockey league Priority Selection, Kirley is always one of the most feared players on the ice. He'll take his fair share of penalties but the intimidation factor Kirley brings to the table will get him noticed at the next level. Kirley has recorded 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 14 games so far for the Hurricanes.

Tony Kujava-Green Bay Notre Dame 1/5/1992

Kujava, a 5'9, 156 lb goaltender provides an interesting case this year in terms of the Mr. Hockey Award. From what I can remember, no goaltender has ever won the award. Kujava very well could become the first. He's having an outstanding season with only one loss for Notre Dame Academy. Kujava leads all goaltenders with at least 10 games played in GAA (1.27), and Save percentage (.948).

Max McCormick-Green Bay Notre Dame 5/1/1992

McCormick, a 5'11, 164 lb forward is my favorite to win this seasons Mr. Hockey Award. McCormick is the best player on the best team in the state. He currently has 20 goals and 24 assists through 17 games. McCormick was also the best forward for Team Wisconsin this fall with 24 points in 24 games, good enough to finish 10th in the Elite league in scoring. Kujava stealing votes could be his biggest problem.

Shayne McLaughlin-Eau Claire Memorial 2/6/1992

McLaughlin, a 6'2, 216 lb defenseman is one of the few representatives from the North/West side of the state. McLaughlin made the full time switch to defense mid last season but he's really come into his own. A physical presence at all times on the ice, McLaughlin has actually put up more points as a defenseman and has currently recorded 8 goals and 18 assists for 26 points patrolling the Old Abes blueline.

Tanner Tryggestad-Amery 5/3/1992

Tryggestad, a 5'8, 170 lb forward from Amery is having an outstanding season. He's currently playing on one of the highest scoring lines in the state along with senior Kyle Schultz and freshman Jake Mullendore. Tryggestad currently has 26 goals and 23 assists through 17 games for the Warriors. Tryggestad probably won't win the award but his season should not go un-noticed.

A few other names to consider: Thomas Wettstein (Fox Cities), Mark Lambrecht (DC Everest)

Predicted Winner: Max McCormick-Green Bay Notre Dame
Runner Up: Brian Berger-Arrowhead
Goalie of the Year: Tony Kujava-Green Bay Notre Dame