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Elite Minnesota high school players who mixed USHL action into prep careers

We're taking a look at the Minnesota players who decided to play before and after seasons, and those who ultimately chose to play a full season in the USHL.

Casey-Mittlestat-112019.S.STP_.WILDREP
Buffalo Sabres center Casey Mittelstadt (37) during a recent game against the Arizona Coyotes at KeyBank Center.
Timothy T. Ludwig / USA TODAY Sports

ST. PAUL — Each year, hockey players are faced with the tough decision to either remain in junior hockey or return to play their final season of high school hockey. We're taking a look at the Minnesota players who decided to play before and after seasons, and those who ultimately chose to play a full season in the USHL.

Minnesotans who played before and after seasons

Casey Mittelstadt

In the 2016-17 season, Casey Mittelstadt began the year with the Green Bay Gamblers, but made the decision to return to Eden Prairie High School for his senior season where he was named captain. That season Mittelstadt put up 21 goals and 43 assists for 64 points in 25 games with the Eagles. He also was named Mr. Hockey in 2017, the award given to the best high school hockey player in Minnesota that year.

Mittelstadt helped lead Eden Prairie to the state tournament that same season, but fell to Grand Rapids in the Class 2A semifinals. He played 24 games with the Gamblers as well that season, putting up 13 goals and 17 assists for 30 points in 24 USHL games. He then went on to be drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round and eighth overall at the 2017 NHL Draft.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Winnipeg Jets
Dallas Stars left wing Riley Tufte (27) follows the puck March 4, 2022 at Canada Life Centre in Winnipeg.
James Carey Lauder / USA TODAY Sports

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Riley Tufte

Riley Tufte is another Minnesotan who made the decision to return to the Blaine Bengals for his senior year when he produced 49 goals and 36 assists in 27 games played in 2015-16. After Blaine was knocked out of the postseason, Tufte returned to the Fargo Force where he played a total of 27 games. His stats during the senior high school season earned him the state's Mr. Hockey award. He then went on to win a bronze medal the World Juniors and helped Minnesota-Duluth to two NCAA titles. He was drafted by the Dallas Stars at the 2016 NHL Draft in the first round and 25th overall.

Blake Biondi

After a nine-game stint in the USHL following his junior season, Blake Biondi returned to Hermantown and helped lead the Hawks to the Class A state tournament championship game, won by Mahtomedi 3-2. That season, Biondi was named the 2020 Mr. Hockey winner, producing 47 goals and 48 assists in 31 games. He was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens at the 2020 NHL Draft in the fourth round and 109th overall. He currently is in his third season at Minnesota Duluth.

Minnesotans who played a full USHL season their high school senior season

Tristan Broz

Tristan Broz spent two years playing at Blake School, but during his junior and senior year of high school he played for the Fargo Force full time. In what would have been his final high school hockey season, he had 22 goals and 40 assists in 63 games with the Force.

Currently in his sophomore season, Broz plays for Denver University after transferring from the University of Minnesota. At the 2021 NHL Draft, Broz was selected in the second round and 58th overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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NHL: All Star Game
Pacific Division forward Brock Boeser (6) of the Vancouver Canucks controls the puck around Central Division defenseman P. K. Subban (76) of the Nashville Predators on Jan 28, 2018, during the 2018 NHL All Star Game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.
Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Brock Boeser

Brock Boeser made the decision not to return for his senior season of high school hockey at Burnsville in 2014-15 and instead spend a full season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. That season he had 35 goals and 33 assists for 68 points in 57 games. Boeser was also named to the USHL All-Rookie Team and USHL First All-Star Team.

He went on to be a first-round selection for the Vancouver Canucks at the 2015 NHL Draft, being taken 23rd overall. Some of his other achievements include winning a bronze medal at World Juniors in 2015-16 as well as helping lead North Dakota to an NCAA championship in 2016. In his freshman year with the Fighting Hawks, he was named the NCHC's Rookie of the Year and the NCHC scoring champion.

The official start to the Minnesota boys high school hockey season is on Nov. 14.

Related Topics: USHL
Kirsten Krull covers juniors and prospects for The Rink Live. She is a 2020 St. Cloud State graduate, and has been working in the hockey world for over six years, covering many levels of the game from juniors to the NHL.
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