From Left - Brock Faber, Jake Boltmann, Wyatt Kaiser, Jackson Hallum and Jack Smith.
The top three Minnesotans chosen in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft have a lot in common. All three are defenseman who play a steady defensive game but have plenty of offensive upside.
The draft concluded today with a total of eight Minnesotans drafted.
Brock Faber (Maple Grove), who has spent the past two seasons with the USNTDP program, was chosen in the second round and 45th overall by the Los Angeles Kings. Scouts say the University of Minnesota recruit has all the tools to be a two-way defenseman, a player who has superior skating skills and is a top-notch defender.
Faber was the only Minnesotan to go in the top two rounds, as it was a slow draft for both Minnesotans and US-born players. Only two U.S. players were chosen in the first round. Jake Sanderson, a defenseman from Whitefish, MT, who was a teammate of Faber’s for the USNTDP squad went fifth overall. Also chosen was Brendan Brisson, who has ties to Minnesota having played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s during the 2018-19 season before going to the USHL. Brisson was the 29th overall pick.
Minnesotans went back-to-back in the third round when Edina’s Jake Boltmann and Andover’s Wyatt Kaiser went 80th and 81st, respectively.
Boltmann was somewhat of a surprise in the third round after being projected to go a bit later and certainly after Kaiser, who was the top-rated defenseman from Minnesota heading into the draft, according to the NHL's Central Scouting rankings.
Another surprise was Jackson Hallum, the St. Thomas Academy standout who is currently tearing up the Elite League. Hallum was a fourth round pick (91st overall) by the Vegas Golden Knights. Hallum notched 40 points as a junior last season, but in two seasons in the Elite League has shown that playing against top-notch competition elevates his game.
St. Cloud Cathedral’s Jack Smith was the second Minnesota forward off the board when he went in the fourth round (102nd overall). The crafty forward was hampered by injuries this past season, but is a dynamic player when healthy.
Hermantown's Blake Biondi, who was 2020's Mr. Hockey, went in the fourth round (109th) to Montreal. The UMD recruit was projected to go as high as the late second round and as low as the fifth, so his draft status fell into the predicted window.
Mason Langenbrunner, a Cloquet native who played his senior season at Eden Prairie, was chosen in the 5th round (151st overall) by the Boston Bruins. The son of a former NHLer and two-time Stanley Cup Champion, Langenbrunner will attend Harvard University.
Rounding out the Minnesota kids taken was Joe Miller a small and crafty center from The Blake School, where he excelled to score 79 points last season. Miller is also a University of Minnesota recruit and will join Faber and Boltmann down the road in a Gophers sweater.
The eight Minnesota players drafted is the lowest since 2015 when seven Minnesotans were drafted, led by Brock Boeser (23rd overall). It was also the first time since 2014 that a Minnesotan wasn’t chosen in the first round. From 2011-2014 only one Minnesotan was chosen in the first round (Brady Skjei/Lakeville).
Here is a breakdown of the eight players chosen this year:
|Player||Round||Overall Pick||Drafted by||Hometown||2019-20 Team||College|
|Brock Faber||2||45||LA Kings||Maple Grove||US 18-Under||Minnesota|
|Jake Boltmann||3||80||Calgary||Edina||Edina HS||Minnesota|
|Wyatt Kaiser||3||81||Chicago||Andover||Andover HS||UMD|
|Jackson Hallum||3||91||Vegas||Eagan||St Thomas Academy||Michigan|
|Jack Smith||4||102||Montreal||St. Cloud||St. Cloud Cathedral||UMD|
|Blake Biondi||4||109||Montreal||Hermantown||Hermantown HS||UMD|
|Mason Langenbrunner||5||151||Boston||Cloquet||Eden Prairie HS||Harvard|
|Joe Miller||6||180||Toronto||Minneapolis||Blake HS||Minnesota|
Tag(s): State Of Hockey