The State of Hockey was well-represented at the NHL Draft over the weekend.
A record 12 Americans were selected in the first round, including two Minnesotans: Edina native Kieffer Bellows and Ham Lake’s Riley Tufte.
It was a strong showing for Minnesota, with both Bellows and Tufte cracking the first 30 picks, the first time since 2010 that two Minnesotans have gone in the first round.
In the end 11 Minnesota natives were selected, all but one of whom are expected to play college hockey at some point over the next year or two.
Minnesota retained its title as the top producer of NHL prospects in the United States, edging Michigan (8), New York (5), Florida (5), New Jersey (4), Missouri (4), Massachusetts (3), Arizona (2), Colorado (2), Connecticut (2), Illinois (2), Indiana (1), Maryland (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Pennsylvania (1), Vermont (1) and Washington (1).
Grand Rapids HS
— Two of those players are Gophers commits: Ryan Lindgren and Rem Pitlick, although Pitlick says he wants to spend another season in the USHL.
— Riley Tufte and Joey Anderson are committed to Minnesota Duluth.
— Kieffer Bellows is headed to Boston University, where he’s set to play alongside J.D. Greenway, the brother of Wild prospect Jordan Greenway.
— Bellows is only the fourth player to score 50 or more goals in a single season for the USNTDP, joining No. 1 overall pick Auston Matthews, NHL MVP Patrick Kane and former Gophers star Phil Kessel.
— Max Zimmer is set to play for former USNTDP coach Tony Granato at Wisconsin.
— Casey Staum is headed to Nebraska-Omaha at some point, but will likely make a stop in the USHL along the way.
— Mitchell Mattson is committed to North Dakota after splitting last season between Grand Rapids High School and the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder. He averaged nearly two points per-game for GRHS.
— A rare Minnesotan in the WHL, Jack Walker started his Victoria Royals career as a defenseman before moving up front mid-way through his rookie season.
— The only goalie on the list, Peter Thome is also headed to North Dakota at some point. He’ll learn from UND goalie coach Karl Goehring, who won a state title with Apple Valley High School in 1996 and holds the MSHSL’s single-game record for saves with 65.
— A sophomore-to-be at Denver, Blake Hillman was named the MVP of the NCAA West Regional after scoring two goals and adding two assists in wins over BU and Ferris State.