Wild prospect Anas finding his scoring touch

Rather than focus exclusively on the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects, we’re taking a look at the best players from across the State of Hockey every 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 edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.

 

FIRST STAR

Sam Anas, F, Iowa Wild (AHL)
At 5-foot-8, Anas has flown under the radar a bit since signing with the Wild as an undrafted free agent last year, but this former college star has taken a big step forward in his second season as a pro. A point-per-game player in three seasons at Quinnipiac, Anas struggled in his first year with the Iowa Wild, posting just 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 66 games after suffering a concussion during the Traverse City Prospects tournament in September. A year later, he’s finally settled in. The 24-year-old leads Iowa in scoring with 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 24 games, and ran his point streak to eight games with a goal and an assist Wednesday night against Cleveland. That point streak includes 12 points, seven goals (during a franchise-record five-game goal streak), five assists, four multi-point games and one multi-goal game.

SECOND STAR

Kaapo Kahkonen, G, Lukko Rauma (SM-liiga)

The top goaltending prospect in the Wild organization, Kahkonen, 21, had one of his strongest weeks of the season over in Finland. He posted back-to-back shutouts for the first time in SM-liiga – Finland’s top league — making 32 saves against HIFK and 31 saves against KooKoo. He now has a .928 save percentage and a 1.83 goals-against average in 33 games this season.

THIRD STAR

Joey Anderson, F, Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)

Anderson was named the captain of the U.S. National Junior Team on Sunday, a squad coached by St. Cloud State boss Bob Motzko. A native of Roseville and a third-round pick of the New Jersey Devils, Anderson is a veteran of the World Junior Championship, and helped the U.S. to a gold medal at last year’s tournament. Now a sophomore, he has nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) in nine games for the Bulldogs this season.

AROUND THE RINK

— Minnesota head coach Don Lucia is bringing in some reinforcements to help shore up the Gophers’ blue line. Minnesota announced Monday that Clayton Phillips, who was expected to enroll next fall, will join the team for the season half of the season. A native of Edina and a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Phillips started the season with the USHL’s Fargo Force before being traded to the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

— The U.S. National Junior Team hammered Belarus 14-0 in a tune-up game Wednesday night. It was a very Minnesotan affair. Kieffer Bellows (Edina), Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie) and Rifey Tufte (Ham Lake) made up the top line, while Dylan Samberg (Hermantown) and Scott Perunovich (Hibbing) formed their top defensive pairing.

— Just two days after he was forced to literally crawl to the bench after blocking a shot, Burnsville native and Calder Trophy frontrunner Brock Boeser is back at it. On crutches as recently as Monday, Boeser scored his 18th goal of the season Tuesday. He ranks fifth in the NHL in goals, and leads the rookie scoring race by six goals.

— Washington Capitals forward TJ Oshie — who played his high school hockey in Warroad — returned to the ice Tuesday, appearing in his first game since being hit in the head by Joe Thornton on Dec. 4.