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100 Names to Know: 25 - 1

By Craig Peterson, 01/19/21, 6:02PM EST


25. Jack Sexsmith
2004 Junior Defenseman

May be one of the best prospects from the Class of 2022, given his size, skating ability, hockey IQ and general skill set. There’s A LOT to like about Sexsmith. He’s a reliable first-pass guy that stays within himself and rarely gets overextended or exposed. If he keeps doing those little things, he’ll shoot up people’s watchlists and be Brighton’s next top prospect to come through the program.


24. Tom Erkkila
2004 Junior Defenseman

A natural with and without the puck that makes some challenging plays look routine. Erkkila was an important role player for the Copper Kings last season but will step into a much more prominent position as their top defender in his second season. His ability to produce from the blue line comes by way of simple decisions and getting pucks into the funnel.  


23. Ayden Adamic
Livonia Stevenson
2002 Senior Defenseman

One tough defender. Adamic is awesome one-on-one against some of the best in the game. He’s great in both zones but truly at his best in transition, eliminating the best an opponent has to offer by separating them from the puck or walling them off to the outside. He’s active on the rush and can head-man the puck effectively as well.


22. Tyler Lawrence
Flint Powers
2003 Senior Forward

Described as a “true forward” because he simply does not cheat the game. Lawrence supports well at both ends of the ice, stops on pucks and makes plays with confidence. He’s made lots of improvements to his game from last season and stock is on the rise. If he keeps this up, Lawrence could get some next-level looks not because of numbers on a scoresheet but because of the subtleties to his game. 


21. Chris Wozniak
2003 Senior Goalie

He makes a save every time he’s in net that will leave you shaking your head in amazement. Detractors will quickly point out his lack of size, and I must admit I was one of them but time after time after time, he’s continued to prove doubters wrong. Wozniak is a great skater who’s very mobile and anticipates the play extremely well, and will backstop Brighton to a big season. 


20. Ethan Houck
Saginaw Heritage
2003 Senior Forward

A real solid skater and a wizard with the puck that can flash some pretty high-level individual skills. Houck was one of my favorite players to watch towards the end of last season and stole the show at times, even while sharing the ice with 2020’s Mr. Hockey recipient Brady Rappuhn and 2020 graduate Matthew Cole. Houck is primed to really step into the spotlight as ‘the guy” for his senior year. 


19. Will Dawson
Traverse City Central
2003 Junior Forward

“He can play anywhere in your lineup.” First line, power play, fourth line, penalty kill… One NAHL scout said he’ll slot right into a junior team’s lineup next season without missing a beat. Quite simply, Dawson makes good things happen, whether it be a simple breakout pass to get out of the D-zone clean or producing a high-quality scoring chance on the rush.


18. Dean Therriault
Grosse Pointe South
2002 Senior Forward

Therriault leads a group of aggressive forwards that can be a menace on opposing defensemen. He may be a tad undersized at 5-foot-7 but with that much jump in his game, it’s easy to look past his stature and appreciate the intensity in which he plays with. That pace leads to lots of points as well (16-25-41 last season) and Therriault will certainly be a big producer for the Blue Devils as a senior. 


17. Bret Beale
Detroit Catholic Central
2003 Senior Forward

Positionally, he’s a pretty responsible player. Offers up good support from the center position and has solid intangibles as far as size and skill set are concerned. I like him better on the rush as opposed to in-zone, but Beale can be impactful in a variety of ways. A big senior season could really prove himself as one of the top prospects in the class.


16. Quinton Gove
Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard
2003 Senior Defenseman

This senior class has a ton of really high-end, right-handed defensemen that could be debated, but I think the top lefty is Gove without question. He has great urgency in the defensive zone and plays desperate without the puck. With possession, he’s steady handed and confidently guides the play out of the zone. 


15. Connor Dvorak
FNV Griffins
2004 Junior Forward

He plays the game the right way. My highest-rated junior for good reason and there’s so much to like about Dvorak’s game. He plays at a fast pace and operates in a way very few can. Admittedly, I was mildly skeptical given the Griffins’ slate of opponents but Dvorak is the real deal. I repeat, *the real deal*. Pound for pound, he can play with anyone on this list and should have a monster season.


14. Max Brown
Brother Rice
2002 Senior Forward

The Warriors graduated their top three scorers from a season ago and now Brown steps in as the leader of the perennial powerhouse. He was a point-per-game guy as a second liner in the toughest conference in MI-HS, and now in a more prominent role as a senior, Brown’s productivity will certainly trend upward. 


13. Andrew Larson
2003 Senior Forward

A guy that consistently puts himself in the right place at the right time. If it happens once or twice, it’s a nice anomaly. When it happens a bunch, one has to take notice that it’s not just a coincidence. The puck routinely finds its way to Larson one way or the other and if it’s within a stick length, he’s apt to come away with possession. 


12. Jimmy Pietila
2002 Senior Goalie

He looks graceful, even when he’s scrambling under duress. Pietila has really good body control and anticipates well with his hands. Started out his junior season very strong but faded a bit as the months passed. If he can be consistent wire-to-wire, Pietila will cement himself as the top netminder in the state during a year in which that title appears to be very much up for grabs.


11. Trevor Davis
Byron Center
2002 Senior Defenseman

A rangy righty that occupies a ton of space. Davis can get up and down the ice with anyone and keeps a tight gap in transition. When he goes, he *GOES* and if you can’t keep up, you better get the Hell outta the way because Davis is going to make something good happen. Could be a little heavier in the corners, but he’s got the size to fix that, just needs some reminders and repetition.


10. Brendan Cwiek
Detroit Catholic Central
2003 Senior Forward

It’s the details of the game that make Cwiek stand out. As simple as stops and starts but it makes him so impactful on loose pucks and allows him to play at a fast pace, constantly involved in the play. He is quite the playmaker as well and someone that the opposition needs to account for all over the ice. 


9. Brendan Finn
Lake Orion
2002 Senior Forward

Haven’t met a coach yet who’s had a bad thing to say about Finn. He works his ass off and has a motor that just does not quit. Everyone has a spot in their lineup for this kid. Finn isn’t the flashiest player and keeps the game pretty simple most of the time up front, but every once in a while, he’ll pull off a move or make a play that’ll really make you take notice.


8. Nick Justice
Livonia Stevenson
2002 Senior Defenseman

He’s big, plays fast and can absolutely take over a game. Justice has great feet and a long stride, and one of only a few players in the state that are truly explosive. He’s highly active in the offense, causing mismatch problems for opponents on the rush and has a heavy shot from the point when established in-zone. 


7. Austin Salani
2003 Senior Forward

The Bulldogs had somewhat of a rough ‘19-20 campaign but I think the tides turn a bit this season, and Salani has a lot to do with it. Listed at 5-foot-11 but it feels like he plays much bigger than that. The four-year senior is strong on the puck and can muscle his way to scoring areas, making defenders pay for their mistakes.


6. Adam Pietila
2003 Senior Forward

Led the Eagles in scoring a season ago and is fit for another monster year in the KLAA. Pietila’s puck skills are excellent and he looks so comfortable with possession in all three zones. He’s especially effective in the offensive zone and has a great feel for the flow of the game, not just where guys are but where they’re going to be as well. 


5. Dean Loukus
2003 Senior Forward

I’m actually really excited to see what the four-year Copper King does for a victory lap. Loukus has posted *three consecutive* 40-point seasons, and I don’t know too many that have accomplished that feat in MI-HS. However, cousin Scott Loukus has graduated and classmate Tanner Rowe has moved on to the NAHL. Dean isn’t on an island when it comes to talent in Calumet, but it will be very interesting to see what he’s able to accomplish as “the guy” in Copper Country. Call him the silent assassin for his ability to be very unassuming and the BAM! Your goalie is fishing the puck out of his own net. 


4. Leyton Stenman
2002 Senior Defenseman

Capable of doing it all, smart enough not to. Think about that one for a second. Some of the best defensemen in the game, at any level, know when to keep things simple and make the *smart* play as opposed to the *big* play. Stenman has all the weapons in his arsenal to wire a pass cross-ice through a zone-and-a-half to hit a curling winger and spring them on a breakaway. He also possesses the intelligence - and patience - to know that ‘glass-and-out’ is a tried and true option as well. Steady, reliable, smart, effective and patient… that’s a lot of checkmarks and precisely why I’m calling Stenman the best defenseman in the state.


3. Brendan Heard
Livonia Stevenson
2002 Senior Forward

To quote one scout, “his game translates very well to the next level.” That isn’t always the case for top high school prospects but it is quite true for Heard. He can make the pretty plays that make ya say ‘wow’ and isn’t gonna take crap from anybody either. Matter of fact, he’ll dish it out often and be quite the antagonist on the ice. A bit too much at times for my liking, but he’s got a bit of that Brad Marchand, hate him as an opponent but absolutely love him as a teammate, type of guy. Wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some other scouts out there have him as the No. 1 prospect in MI-HS.


2. Lucas Krol
Detroit Country Day
2003 Senior Forward

Krol finished the ‘19-20 season playing some of his best hockey and he’s continued on that trajectory through this offseason. He can be a pest without the puck and wins a ton of battles along the walls. He was fantastic this fall for 18U Michigan Hockey Advancement’s top line and was a goal-scoring machine producing nearly a goal per game against some good NAPHL competition. He’s attracted a wealth of next-level interest already and I only expect that to increase as his senior season unfolds.


1. Max Marquette
U-D Jesuit
2003 Senior Forward

He’s a compact player who can be extremely explosive. Marquette’s footwork sets him apart from others at this level and his first two strides provide for an awesome ability to capitalize on small windows of opportunity. Puck skills are solid as well and hockey IQ is fantastic. He can be very assertive; I love the way he makes the opponent play at his pace, and forces defenders to keep up with him. Marquette has the weapons to be flashy and make fancy plays but is also smart enough to make the simple plays, not forcing pucks into traffic or trouble areas.