Upper Midwest HS Elite League Week 2: Top 28


Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League showcased week #2 of their schedule up in Grand Rapids, MN.  The showcase featured 4 of the league’s 8 teams as Great Plains, North, Northeast and Northwest faced off during the weekend.  The league features the best High School hockey players from the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin as well as Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep Team.  Plenty of talent up in Minnesota’s North Country didn’t disappoint during the weekend for hockey fans who attended.  We will be covering the other  teams that were not present this week in the league in later tournaments this fall.




Judd Caulfield (R, 6-2/184, Great Plains, ‘01) – Big size and strength and a north and south game that is impressive.  Has a good touch on the puck and can make all the proper plays.  Finds a way to get to traffic areas and the net as well.  Has good upside as his skating and feet improve.  Possible USNTDP candidate.

Blake McLaughlin (L, 5-11/162, North, ‘00) – Hard skill is the best way to describe his game.  He has a motor that hounds the puck and can make a play when he gets it.  Made plays in tight areas and got to the net to get results. First round pick to Chicago Steel in this past year’s USHL Futures Draft.  College: Minnesota

Gavin Hain (L, 5-11/187, North, ‘00) – Great all-around game and plays in all ends of the rink.  Has skill and hockey sense to go with it.  Made plays in the hard areas and without the puck was physical.  Has a game that translates to all the levels above him. First overall pick in last year’s USHL Futures Draft.  College: North Dakota

Ryan Sandelin (R, 5-11/192, North, ‘99) – Son of University of Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin.  No surprise he is a coach’s son the way he plays.  Plays the game the right way and doesn’t cheat it.  High compete level and understands the game well.  Does everything hard including shooting the puck, passing and taking the body.  Has a heavy shot and ability to finish from many different angles.  Skating can still improve, but doesn’t hurt him because he works extremely hard.  Would look good in a Bulldog uniform.

Noah Cates (L, 6-0/165, Northeast, ‘99) – Always around the puck and making plays all weekend.  Has high end hockey sense and poise with the puck.  Has grown a lot and gotten much stronger.  Has the ability to make a play with very little time and space.  With his body growing, has a shot to get on the NHL Draft radar for 2017.  College: Minnesota Duluth

Devlin McCabe (R, 5-10/168, Northeast, ‘00) – Showed a good stick and quickness with the puck.  Made plays on the rush and in tight areas.  Attacked defenders and was able to break them down one on one.  Compete level was high and went to traffic areas. College: Minnesota Duluth



Braden Costello (L, 6-1/203, Great Plains, ‘00) – Has impressive size, strength and potential.  Skating is solid but still coming around.  Protects pucks well and can make a lot of plays below the dots in traffic.  Long reach and good touch on the puck makes him hard to handle.  Has ability to score goals and finish.  Look for him to gain a lot of Division 1 interest after going #2 overall in the USHL Phase 1 Draft in May.

Colin Schmidt (R, 6-4/223, Northwest, ‘00) – The big power forward is hard to handle when he gets going north and south.  Has a good stick in tight for his size and can release the puck quickly.  A threat to score anywhere from the top of the circles down.  A late bloomer who is still developing his skating and footwork.  College: Minnesota



Jesse Jacques (R, 6-1/181, North, ‘98) – Long, rangy and can get around the ice well.  Has good hands and a big reach.  Moved the puck and looked to get it back.  Kept his feet moving and competed hard.  Has good potential as he gets stronger in his lower body.  Has Division 1 potential.



Ben Helgeson (L, 5-11/188, Northeast, ‘00) – Solid size and strength along with a good two-way game makes him very effective.  He has skill and hockey sense and plays the game the right way.  Moved the puck and looked to get it back.  Responsible in all ends and brought some offense to the table when needed.  On the Division 1 radar and would make a good commit.

Brian Halonen (R, 6-0/201, Northwest, ‘99) – A north and south player who was strong on the puck.  When competed hard and playing a simple game, was very good.  Soft touch and ability to make plays in traffic.  Good stick with a good release can finish from 15 feet in. College: Michigan Tech

Isaac Howe (L, 6-0/199, Great Plains, ‘00) – A young player in the league who has good size and strength.  He is not afraid of traffic areas or the physical part of the game.  He got to the net and created scoring chances.  Skating can still improve along with top speed.  Is strong on the puck and can shoot it.  Son of Concordia College (MN) Head Coach Chris Howe.

William Hillman (L, 5-11/150, Northeast, Late ‘00) – The son of former University of Minnesota player and former Head USHL Coach Jim Hillman, William is a late bloomer with good upside.  He is coming out of bantam hockey and adjusting well.  Solid size but still needs to gain some strength as time goes on.  He has good sense and pucks skills.  Made some plays and got chances throughout the weekend.  Should improve as the season goes on and produce more with time.

Nolan Sullivan (L, 6-0/200, Northwest, ‘99) – One of the hardest working players in the league.  Despite his skating ability, he always finds a way to get opportunities based on work ethic.  Not a big play maker but smart in the fact that he understands what he needs to do to be effective.  Pressures the puck and takes the body, which creates chances for him and his line mates.  A good player to have on any team.



Mason Salquist (L, 5-9/165, Great Plains, ‘00) – Undersized but strong on his skates and good with the puck.  Can make plays and create in traffic.  Can work on his game away from the puck and consistency.  Has a knack for being able to produce.

Garrett Worth (R, 5-10/165, North, ‘99) – Has average size and skating ability, but finds a way to make plays and get chances.  Has a good stick in traffic along with a good release.  Moved the puck quickly and played an honest game.

Jax Murray (L, 5-9/168, Northwest, Late ‘98) – Undersized player who was good on the puck.  A high compte, shifty skater who showed mature sense offensively.  Found the open man and got his line mates opportunities to score.   Coming off an injury riddled season but looks poised for a big year.





Ethan Frisch (R, 5-10/173, Great Plains, Late ‘00) – Last year’s Minnesota Bantam Player of the Year is adjusting to the next level with ease.  His high hockey IQ and efficient play has made the transition easy for him.  He moves pucks very well and can get up in the play to help create some offense.  Defensively, he defends well with position and his stick.  Has the type of game that can play a lot of minutes as a plus player.  He is highly coveted by all the top schools in the Midwest and could land at one any time now.

Nick Leivermann (L, 5-11/194, Northwest, ‘98) – Displayed elite skating ability and can cover a ton of ice.  Strong and can separate from opponents to create time and space.  Jumped up in the rush often and got plenty of looks at the net.  Can shoot the puck with good velocity and is a threat to score when on the ice.  College: Notre Dame



Grant Anderson (R, 6-2/177, Northwest, ‘99) –  Good size and showed high end athleticism.  Tall and rangy and has great first steps.  Good puck skills and can snap it off up ice.  He was able to get up in the play and support the rush offensively.  Defensively was hard to play against with long reach and a good stick.  College: Nebraska Omaha



Chase Hartje (L, 5-10/177, Great Plains, Late ‘99) – Got around the ice well and was offensive minded.  Not afraid to pop up in the rush and try to create offense.  Strong skater and covered a lot of ice.  Competed defensively and won battles when needed.

Dylan Samberg (L, 6-3/200, North, ‘99) – Always a good player, but has sprouted up to 6-3 and is really coming into his own lately.  Has a big presence on the blue line.  Has good feet and can pivot well for his size.  Played within himself and took what the game gave to him.  Made the simple play to break pucks out and got pucks through from the blue line offensively.  Defended well and took care of his own end first.  Should only get better this year as he adjusts to his body.  College: Minnesota Duluth



John Stampohar (R, 6-1/205, North, Late ‘98) – A big body on the blue line with some presence to him.  Played physical and took the body.  When he was making good decisions with the puck, he was very effective.  Skates well for his size and can handle the puck.  A bit inconsistent, but has a lot of tools to his game.

Spencer Meier (R, 6-3/181, Great Plains, ‘99) – Continues to grow and is adjusting to his body.  Has some keen offensive instincts.  Gets around the ice well and was able to make a couple offensive plays even strength and on the power play.  Has potential to play at the next level.



Jesse Bjugstad (L, 6-1/178, Northeast, ‘99) – The son of former NHL player Scott Bjugstad and cousin of current NHL player Nick Bjugstad.  A late bloomer at the defensive position and is getting better as time goes on.  Continues to grow and put on weight.  His skating is improving along with his confidence offensively.  When he is making good decisions with the puck, he is very intriguing.  Consistency was up and down a bit with decision making and can improve.

Keaton Pehrson (R, 6-2/177, Northeast, Late ‘98) – Stayed at home and made good reads with the puck.  Was simple and effective at getting the puck out of his own end.  Can work on his first couple of steps to improve his mobility.  College: Michigan Tech

Nick Perbix (R, 6-3/190, Northwest, ‘98) – Another big bodied player who has developed late into his body.  Has been big for a couple years now and keeps improving his feet and puck skills.  Was a bit inconsistent with puck decisions here, but has all the tools to hone it in.  College: St. Cloud





Jake Begley (6-0/178, Northeast, ‘99) – Showed good reflexes and puck tracking ability.  Fought through traffic and found the puck well.  Compete was solid along with athletic ability.  A Division 1 prospect in the future.