Good afternoon, Wilderness!
In this year's draft, there were quite a few Minnesotan players out there that other teams were lucky to get, but the Wild were just able to pick one up in the 6th round.
I know all of us would love to see more home-grown Minnesota hockey players play for the Wild, right? Of course you do. That's why I'm happy the Wild managed to get center Avery Peterson, a 6'2", 193 lb. center from Grand Rapids High School, ranked 77th overall by Central Scouting.
Minnesota is proud to be known as the State of Hockey, and for good reason. The state's rich hockey traditions go all the way back to the 1800s up in the Iron Range in Northern MInnesota. Immigrants settling there would mine ore, and the children would play hockey to pass time during Minnesota's long, cold winters.
Since then, there have been a huge number of rinks cropping up in that region, in small cities like Eveleth (which is also home to the US Hockey Hall of Fame), Roseau, Duluth, Hibbing, International Falls, Grand Rapids, and Warroad.
Then came the Minnesota North Stars in 1967. The short-lived team was able to win 2 conference and 2 division titles, but unfortunately, the hopes of keeping the team alive were broken when owner Norm Green sold the team to Dallas in 1993. Minnesota was without a NHL team up until 1997, and a new team was born: the Minnesota Wild. Despite being founded in '97, the Wild didn't officially have their first season until the 2000-2001 season.
Peterson playing for his own state's NHL team will be great for him as his skills he mastered right in Minnesota will bode well for the team. Let's get to know Peterson a little more now, shall we?
As of right now, it is unknown whether Peterson will play his final year with Grand Rapids or commit to a college. He also hasn't committed to any college yet, but he has gotten quite a bit of attention from some Big Ten, NCHC, and WCHA programs. If he does end up going back to Grand Rapids to play during his senior year, he'll continue also in the USHL before joining any NCAA program.
In terms of his skill set, Peterson's 6'2" stature has been an advantage for him, as it has put up some impressive stats as a junior in high school.
Looking at more of his skill set, here's what Chris Dilks from SB Nation's Western College Hockey had to say about him:
His skating abilities are decent, but they aren't his standout strength. He isn't the smoothest skater out there, but he has a good wide skating base that makes him tough to get off the puck. He doesn't know of any fancy stick handling moves yet, but overall is very effective when he has the puck on his stick.
Despite his decent puck handling abilities, he sometimes stays onto the puck for too long, and he needs to learn how to use his teammates better. This ability will come easier to him as he gets to higher levels of hockey.
Now, let's move on to his stats.
Amongst the few teams that he's played with so far in his career, his most impressive ones have come from his high school career with Grand Rapids. In his freshman season with Grand Rapids High School in 2010-11, his career started off with a bang, as he was the school's leading goal scorer, with 8 goals scored and 18 assists in 28 games.
Besides playing for Grand Rapids High School, Peterson got invited to play for the Upper Midwest Elite League's Team Great Plains as a part of last summer's USA Hockey Select 17 camp, and the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers.
Peterson's offensive power is what the Wild really need to keep themselves towards the top of the rankings, and what better way to get it than through a home-grown player. Even though they already have some power on their offensive side in players like Parise, Koivu, and even some other new prospects like Coyle, Zucker, and Granlund, Peterson will be able to add a little more punch to them with his already impressive numbers he's been racking up.
Any other thoughts you want to add, Wilderness?