2018 U.S. National Junior Team to have major Minnesota presence

We’re making a slight tweak to our Young Wild Tracker. Rather than focus exclusively on the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects, we’re going to take a look at the best players from across the State of Hockey each week.

From high school to the pros, check out our recap of all the week’s events in Minnesota hockey, as we check in with college players, prep standouts and State of Hockey alums.

Let’s take a look at this week’s three-star selection, along with other notes, in the latest (inaugural?) edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.

The 2018 U.S. National Junior Team should have a major Minnesotan presence this season.

Of the 28 players named to the preliminary roster Tuesday, 10 are from the State of Hockey, and five play for Minnesota Duluth.

The list includes: goaltender Jake Oettinger (Boston University), defensemen Mikey Anderson (Minnesota Duluth), Ryan Lindgren (Minnesota), Scott Perunovich (Minnesota Duluth) and Dylan Samberg (Minnesota Duluth) and forwards Joey Anderson (Minnesota Duluth), Kieffer Bellows (Portland Winterhawks), Casey Mittelstadt (Minnesota), Ryan Poehling (St. Cloud State) and Riley Tufte (Minnesota Duluth).

The 2018 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship tournament runs from Dec. 26-Jan. 5, and features some of the top young talent in the world. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, that means they could be missing some significant firepower when they take on Yale and Dartmouth over the holidays.

FIRST STAR

Jimmy Schuldt, D, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

Schuldt was named the NCHC’s Defenseman of the Week after helping the Huskies to a sweep of conference rival Nebraska-Omaha. The junior chipped in three assists and finished the weekend with a plus-7 rating on the weekend, while blocking 10 shots. Schuldt was a major player on special teams, registering two of his assists on the power play and helping SCSU’s penalty kill go 8-for-9 on the weekend. NHL teams have started to show major interest in the undrafted defenseman, who attended Montreal Canadiens development camp over the summer.

SECOND STAR

Grant Horsager, F, Rosemount (MSHSL)

Hockey has the standard hat trick (three goals in one game), the natural hat trick (three goals, without any other goals in between) and the Gordie Howe hat trick (a goal, an assist and a fight). What he doesn’t have is a name for whatever this is: Horsager netted a natural hat trick in a win over East Ridge last week, scoring three goals over a four-minute span in the second period — the first short-handed, the second at even strength and the third on the power play.

THIRD STAR

Dmitry Sokolov, F, Sudbury Wolves (OHL)

Sokolov ranks 17th in the OHL with 15 goals (tied with fellow Wild prospect Ivan Lodnia) after scoring twice in the Wolves’ 6-3 win over Mississauga. Sokolov has been a point-per-game player throughout his three-year OHL career, and looks like safe bet to make the jump to the AHL next season.

AROUND THE RINK

— The Wild recalled Joel Erikson Ek on Wednesday. The 20-year-old has three points in 20 appearances for Minnesota this season, and seven points in seven games with Iowa.

— Gophers defenseman Jack Sadek (Wild, 2015) scored his first goal of the season in Minnesota’s 3-2 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday.

— Kirill Kaprizov (Wild, 2015) was among the 27 players named to Russia’s roster for the Channel One Cup.

— Edina native Grant Mismash (Predators, 2017) was named the NCHC Freshman of the Week after helping No. 5 North Dakota to a sweep of Western Michigan.

— Washington Capitals forward T.J. Oshie, who played his high school hockey in Warroad, is out with an upper-body injury after taking a scary hit to the head in a game against the San Jose Sharks.