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Names To Know: 25 - 1

By Craig Peterson, 11/18/19, 9:03AM EST


25. Hunter Allen, Junior Forward, Trenton

Stellar with the puck and absolutely dynamic on the rush, he is tough to stop one-on-one and can make some head-spinning plays at top speed. If he can be as effective without the puck, Allen can be special.

24. Caden Fisher, Senior Goalie, Grandville

Ready to hit the ground running for his third and final season with the Bulldogs, Fisher closed out the MDHL playoffs allowing just two goals in three games en route to the league championship this fall. He’s quick on his feet and confident in his movements; definitely one netminder that will frustrate opposing shooters.

23. Brendan Heard, Junior Forward, Livonia Stevenson

He doesn’t need a lot of space to operate, and if you give him an open look, he will finish. Heard has a quick release and can pick his spots both stationary and on the move, snapping off shots that’ll surprise most goalies. 

22.  Max Marquette, Junior Forward, U-D Jesuit

In a word: Explosive. Marquette has shifty moves that make him dangerous on the rush and he is really aggressive getting to the net. He’s got great smarts as a defender as well, with good positioning and a willingness to block shots.

21. Nick Marone, Senior Forward, Brother Rice

A slippery player who can create a lot of offense all by himself. Marone has a ton of flashy moves in his arsenal that will leave defenders lost in their own skates on odd-man rushes. The 01-birth year forward led MHA’s 18U team this fall with five goals and seven points in four NAPHL games.

20. Krzysztof Petryla, Senior Forward, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 

There aren’t too many people that can truly be described as ‘cerebral’ but Petryla is as calculated as they come. He’s got a tremendous play-making ability and a true gift for finding open guys. The Poland native makes people around him better, putting passes on the tape and into open space where linemates can be effective. 

19. Dylan Dooley, Senior Forward, Detroit Catholic Central

May be the single most improved player from last season to this season and that’s a credit to his work ethic this summer. From being a role player on Team Michigan’s HP-18 team in the spring to the leading scorer in the MDHL this fall, the results speak for themselves. He was already a solid guy up front but Dooley is now someone the opponent has to account for at all times as he is dangerous around the net and tough to defend below the face-off dots. 

18. Ashton Bol, Senior Defenseman, Grand Rapids Christian

Quickly becoming a personal favorite of mine, as he is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to a defenseman. He’s 6-foot-4, a left-handed shot, skates very well and his wingspan allows him to occupy about 14 feet of ice with a single reach of his stick. Bol may be the single toughest defender to beat one-on-one in the state and continues to get better every time I see him.

17. Jimmy Pietila, Junior Goalie, Houghton

How many netminders do you know with 20 wins under their belt before the start of their junior year? The 02-birth year goaltender posted a stellar 1.70 save percentage in 21 games last season, playing a key role in the Gremlins’ run to a State Final. Now it’s really his time to shine as Pietila is ripe for a breakout season and with no real clear-cut No. 1 goalie in high school hockey, he has the potential to rise to the top of the list.

16. Alex Schaumburger, Senior Forward, Salem

The four-year senior's hockey resume stacks up against just about everyone else's in the state. Schaumburger has done the MDHL, Top 80 and Team Michigan, and has been one of the top forwards at each stop. He's always a threat with the puck on his stick and a guy you have to account for when facing then Rocks.

15. Stefan Frantti, Senior Forward, Howell

Such an unsuspecting player, the casual hockey fan would take a guy like Frantti for granted. It’s the details of his game that make the left-handed forward so special. An effortless skater whose positioning is sound all over the ice and responsible in every way. Teams don’t win championships without at least one guy like Frantti in their lineups. 

14. Logan Gotinsky, Senior Forward, Detroit Country Day

I love a player who has jump in his game and pounces on loose pucks. If there’s scrums along the half-wall, Gotinsky coming away with possession is a safe bet as he just has a nose for tracking down pucks and winning board battles. The 6-foot forward has a real knack for setting up teammates as well, with great vision and passing skills.

13. Austin Salani, Junior Forward, Hancock

At 5-foot-11, he’s got good size and knows how to be effective with it, leaning into defenders and protecting the puck. Salani is a competitor and there’s no quit in his game, finishing checks and winning lots of 1-on-1 battles. If there’s a way to get to the net, he’ll find it; if there’s not, he’ll make one. After back-to-back 40-point seasons, Salani could be in for an explosive junior year. 

12. Jake Onstott, Senior Forward, Grand Rapids Catholic Central

Consistency has been a challenge for the four-year senior, but when he’s good… he’s great! Offensively, Onstott has all the tools and came up clutch with the game-winning goal for Team Green in double overtime of the MDHL championship. He’s significantly improved the defensive side of his game in the last year, and if Onstott can put all that together routinely, the sky is the limit for him and GRCC.

11. Luke Blasy, Senior Forward, Midland Dow

Built like a brick with awesome quickness, Blasy has a great feel for the flow of the game and a real sense of how the play will unfold. The 5-foot-9 forward keeps his feet moving without the puck and always has his head up with the puck, affording him the ability to make lots of plays. He’s a guy who can play in any phase of the game and be extremely effective in whatever role is asked of him.

10. Dean Loukus, Junior Forward, Calumet

Selected in the 2019 OHL Draft this spring by the Saginaw Spirit, Loukus has a smooth stride and fantastic hockey sense. He has an amazing ability to function at a fast pace, find open areas, catch passes on the fly, move the puck to where it needs to go and do all that while keeping his feet churning throughout the entire process. 

9. Joey Cormier, Senior Goalie, Trenton

Set to be “the guy” for the Trojans for a third straight season, Cormier is as accomplished as any goalie in the state. He’s led Trenton to back-to-back Division-II State Finals but looking to climb one last hill before graduating. Will the third time be the charm? The 5-foot-10 netminder is poised and motivated to make sure his senior season ends with a W. 

8. D.J. Dixon, Senior Forward, Brother Rice

He doesn’t take a shift off and plays hard both ways; not something that holds true for too many 17-year-olds. Dixon is the real deal though, he’s smart, he’s disciplined, has good size, plays at a solid pace and is a leader in the locker room. He’s as calculated of a player on the ice as he is a teammate off the ice. 

7. Seth Lause, Senior Forward, Livonia Stevenson

Every team in the state has a spot on their roster for this guy. Lause is everything a coach wants on the bench and every teammate wants in the locker room. Willing to accept any role in the lineup; he'll quarterback a power play, score goals, kill penalties, block shots...Hell, he might even strap on the pads and play goalie for you if the team is desperate.

6. Dakota Kott, Senior Defenseman, Hartland

What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for with his fantastic footwork. At 5-foot-5, Kott won’t overwhelm you from the blue line but his footspeed is enough to not only join an offensive rush, but lead it. He does a great job of clogging shooting lanes in the D-zone and his first step propels him past others, creating lots of odd-man rushes for the Eagles.

5. Jacob Thomas, Senior Defenseman, Detroit Country Day

He’s a huge defender that can eat up a lot of space on the ice. At 6-foot-4, Thomas is tough to get around 1-on-1 and he’s strong enough you won’t out-muscle him on puck retrievals either. He also gets up and down the ice really well for a big man and knows when to go offensively, that can make Thomas as dangerous in one end of the rink as he is reliable in the other end.

4. Will Jentz, Senior Forward, Brighton

He's big. He's fast. He's physical. He's got a heavy shot and a quick release. And did I mention he's big? Jentz is as close to the total package as you'll find in a hockey player this year... and he's a four-year guy at one of the top programs in the state. All the skills and all the experience rolled up into one elite-level player.

3. Tanner Rowe, Junior Forward, Calumet

If you can’t skate, you can’t play. Fortunately for Rowe, his unreal skating ability sets him apart from many others around the state and elevates his game from great to elite. One coach simply put it, “He's just better than other people.” Not only is he better, but rumor has it he’s bigger too, growing to 6-foot-2, and with size like that, the Copper Kings forward has all the pieces to be successful in high school and beyond.

2. Brendan Miles, Senior Defenseman, Detroit Catholic Central

There’s a lot of good defenders in high school hockey this year… and then there’s Brendan Miles. He’s cool under pressure and has next-level foot skills that sets him apart from the rest. The way Miles snaps off passes tape-to-tape are so crisp and effortless that such a subtle part of his game can go underappreciated by the average fan but his ability to distribute all over the ice will certainly propel Miles’ game to junior hockey and beyond.

1. Kyle Gaffney, Senior Forward, Detroit Catholic Central

One scout called him "the best high school prospect I've seen since Jake Crespi." Gaffney is a smooth-skating forward that is crafty with the puck and clever without it. His hockey IQ is off the charts and there's a subtle edge to his game that has me believing he's the best player in the state and deserving of the comparison made to current Michigan Tech Freshman and 2017 Mr. Hockey recipient Crespi.