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Blake Wheeler

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Old
03-10-2004, 11:52 PM
  #1
Oilers Chick
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Blake Wheeler

Recently, I've been reading some good articles on this kid and apparently he's pretty awesome. He plays in the Minnesota HS Elite League (or whatever they call it there).

Anyway, has anyone seen this Wheeler kid play? Is he as good as the Minnesota news articles are making him out to be or is he just being hyped?

FYI, he's draft eligible this season and CSB has him ranked around 45th among NA skaters. Also, he's planning on going the NCAA route and has narrowed down his commitment choices to Minnesota and Boston College.

Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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03-11-2004, 12:18 AM
  #2
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I probably dont know anything you dont OC because I assume we have been reading the same articles, but let me add something to this if I may:

Has there ever been a year with this many HS juniors being highly rated by CSB?

This brings up the debate of whether it hurts their draft status. With highly regarded kids like Wheeler, Billy Ryan, Keith Yandle, or Corey Schneider being (arguably) 5 years away from even leaving college, do they get passed up for say a major junior player who will be signed within 2 years? You'd like to think skill is all that matters, but when you think about it, it has to come up at the draft table. Kids that should be guaranteed 2nd round picks may fall because they are so far away from turning pro (With the benefit of the doubt that they stay in school)

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03-11-2004, 02:11 PM
  #3
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Wow..speak of the devil! I live in MN and just heard the guys' name Wednesday afternoon, watching the Minnesota State H.S. Tournament. (obviously I don't pay too close attention to h.s. hockey).

The announcers said he was a definite NHL prospect, which surprised me since I had yet to hear of him. The game was the first round of the class A tournament. (class A is usually the small schools, and class AA are the large schools). He plays for Breck H.S. in the west metro. They absolutely dominated Albert Lea, 10-1 (what can you expect, they're only a few miles north of Iowa). I was also surprised because the guy looked a little tall and clumsy on the skates first time they said this. But after watching, he did pretty darn good for a guy who's 6'4". There were a couple of shifts where the guy was just dancing around A.L. defenders at will. I'm not sure how many points he ended up with. But he had one beauty of a goal where he came in, faked their 9th grade goalie out of his pads and stuffed it in on the far side.

I guess I didn't see blazing speed, but I wasn't watching that intently. Did seem to have descent skills and I'm sure he must play a physical game. Kinda reminded me of a younger Brent Burns? You should post this on the Wild board. There's college and h.s. fans who know a lot more than me. You probably know a lot more about the guy than I do. I will be watching more intently when he plays again on Friday. Hopefully he'll be a Gopher.

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03-11-2004, 04:04 PM
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just to update the bove post...he had a hat trick, and I am sure he picked up a few assists as well. His line was dominant. He looks to be very skilled for his size. I thought he was a HS senior, he isn't...he is only a junior. He said in the post gme interviews thata he plaans to come back to Breck and not go to Juniors, but that could change. He didn't mention anything about college choice.

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Old
03-12-2004, 04:10 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaachie12
just to update the bove post...he had a hat trick, and I am sure he picked up a few assists as well. His line was dominant. He looks to be very skilled for his size. I thought he was a HS senior, he isn't...he is only a junior. He said in the post gme interviews thata he plaans to come back to Breck and not go to Juniors, but that could change. He didn't mention anything about college choice.

One of the articles I read on Wheeler was over on the Minnesota Hockey site (no, this is NOT the Wild or Gophers site either!). The article mentioned that he was planning to go to either Minnesota or BC, but it didn't not give a specific timeline as to when he was actually going to make the jump to the NCAA. I'll try and dig up the link.

TMHUNH: In answer to your question about draft status....I don't think so. The NCAA has already proven that it's a league with many talented players (despite what some may think) and a league (depending upon program) where they develop players quite well. If you watch NCAA games, especially this time of the year, you'll notice many NHL teams' representatives (may they be scouts - who usually are - or in some cases, GMs) in attendance. I remember reading somewhere (might have the Boston Globe site, but don't remember exactly), where something like 20 NHL teams had scouts in attendance at last year's FF in Buffalo. Imagine how many will be at the Fleetcenter next month.

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Old
03-12-2004, 03:38 PM
  #6
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Wheeler set up two third period Breck goals today in their 3-2 win over South St. Paul. He showed a dynamic burst of speed in both cases. I think he will become better and better known as a prospect in the future.

The other player who seemed a man among boys is Moorhead junior defenseman Brian Lee, who is headed to North Dakota in 2005. As commentator Lou Nanne said, "we'll be paying to watch this kid play for many years." Seemed to be solid defensively and creative offensively. Most of all, his game seemed so smooth and patient.

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03-12-2004, 05:58 PM
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He looks like a fairly physical player. I think he may shy away from it in HS where he can just dominate games. I remember watcking Taffe who can hit when he wants to now, Rasmussen, Bill Kohn, and sorry i cant remember more, but those in HS did not throw their weight around. And they did in college. Demarchi is another one before he left for the USHL. They spent to much time in the box. In heated rivalry games for Wheeler, Blake -Breck for example it gets ugly, but when they win 10-0 why waste the time. Hard to read some HS players. Plus i am sure he plays an extrodinary amout of ice time. teams roll 1-3 lines in big games and will often have shifts go over 1 min into the 2's and 3's for d men. Not fun hittig when u are on the ice for that much time.

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03-13-2004, 03:47 PM
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Wheeler got a hat trick and an assist in the second period as Breck takes the championship over Orono, 7-2. I think he buried every scoring opportunity he got. Needs to work on his interviews though. No less than 12 "ya know"s came out of his mouth in the half-minute post-game interview.

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03-14-2004, 02:56 AM
  #9
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Thanks everyone!

MN Gopher: During Friday's night MN/SCSU game, Woogie was mentioning that there were some really impressive HS kids in that tourney going on over at Xcel. Have you been to any of these games? Impressions?

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03-14-2004, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
Thanks everyone!

MN Gopher: During Friday's night MN/SCSU game, Woogie was mentioning that there were some really impressive HS kids in that tourney going on over at Xcel. Have you been to any of these games? Impressions?


there is some serious talent this year...and some as good as talent who are still underclassmen...

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Old
03-17-2004, 01:41 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeuceUNO
there is some serious talent this year...and some as good as talent who are still underclassmen...
Example?

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03-17-2004, 06:27 PM
  #12
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Some names of better players in the tourney are. The Johnson brothers from Duluth East. Forgot whick one is which, One is a forwad the other a very O minded D man. RJ Anderson and Tom Gorowsky from centenial. Anderson a d man and Gorowsky a center. Gorowsky was recruted bt most WCHA schools. Think it came to WI and the gophs is with WI now. Robby Dee from Breck, plays with Wheeler is a Junior. Had as many points or close to as many as Wheeler did. Dee had 86pts. The guy i am most impressed with was Alex Stalock. A goalie form South St Paul. The kid plays the puck better than most college goalis. Looks like Brodeur or Roy back there. Plays the puck off the glass well, great on clears had 8 assisis as a goalie. And he is a junior, had 38 saves against breck. Wheeler did not score on him, and they were 38 solid chances no easy saves. he almost single handedly won the game. Moorhead had 2 guys i was impressed with and i will get back some more names.

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Old
03-18-2004, 04:23 AM
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MN_Gopher
Some names of better players in the tourney are. The Johnson brothers from Duluth East. Forgot whick one is which, One is a forwad the other a very O minded D man. RJ Anderson and Tom Gorowsky from centenial. Anderson a d man and Gorowsky a center. Gorowsky was recruted bt most WCHA schools. Think it came to WI and the gophs is with WI now. Robby Dee from Breck, plays with Wheeler is a Junior. Had as many points or close to as many as Wheeler did. Dee had 86pts. The guy i am most impressed with was Alex Stalock. A goalie form South St Paul. The kid plays the puck better than most college goalis. Looks like Brodeur or Roy back there. Plays the puck off the glass well, great on clears had 8 assisis as a goalie. And he is a junior, had 38 saves against breck. Wheeler did not score on him, and they were 38 solid chances no easy saves. he almost single handedly won the game. Moorhead had 2 guys i was impressed with and i will get back some more names.
Woog was mentioning Gorowsky in a recent broadcast as being impressive. Is he bound for the "U" or is he going with another WCHA school in his future? Also, is Stalock NCAA bound and if so, who is he considering?

Also, what's the skinny on the players out of Moorhead?

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03-18-2004, 05:44 AM
  #14
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Gorowsky ('86 born) is going to spend next season in the USHL and then he is going to Wisconsin.

Stalock ('87 born) is undecided but I wouldn't be surprised to see him in the USHL before he goes to college (although I could be wrong here). He actually played a few games with the NTDP's U17 program this year.

The two players from Moorhead who I've heard the most about are d-men Brian Lee and Jon Ammerman. They are both '87 born juniors. Lee will be going to North Dakota while Ammerman is undecided.

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Old
03-18-2004, 03:43 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
Woog was mentioning Gorowsky in a recent broadcast as being impressive. Is he bound for the "U" or is he going with another WCHA school in his future? Also, is Stalock NCAA bound and if so, who is he considering?

Also, what's the skinny on the players out of Moorhead?
MN_Gopher has it incorrect. Gorowsky was picking between Wisconsin, North Dakota and one Ivy league school. Minnesota cooled off on him earlier in the year and stopped recruiting him (according to a newspaper article in Minneapolis). He eventually decided on Wisconsin.

Stalock is only a junior so the soonest he'd be in college would be in 2005.

Gorowsky's teammate at Centennial is defenseman RJ Anderson. He is a junior and recently committed to the Gophers. He was selected 1st team all state as a defenseman. The other 1st team all state defenseman is Alex Goligoski who will play for the Gophers when Keith Ballard leaves school (either this year if Ballard goes pro or the year after when Ballard graduates).

Wheeler, Gorowsky and Brian Gifford of Moorhead were the 1st team selections at forward. Matt Lundin was 1st team goalie.

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03-18-2004, 05:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuckFan01
MN_Gopher has it incorrect. Gorowsky was picking between Wisconsin, North Dakota and one Ivy league school. Minnesota cooled off on him earlier in the year and stopped recruiting him (according to a newspaper article in Minneapolis). He eventually decided on Wisconsin.

Stalock is only a junior so the soonest he'd be in college would be in 2005.

Gorowsky's teammate at Centennial is defenseman RJ Anderson. He is a junior and recently committed to the Gophers. He was selected 1st team all state as a defenseman. The other 1st team all state defenseman is Alex Goligoski who will play for the Gophers when Keith Ballard leaves school (either this year if Ballard goes pro or the year after when Ballard graduates).

Wheeler, Gorowsky and Brian Gifford of Moorhead were the 1st team selections at forward. Matt Lundin was 1st team goalie.

Thanks for the clarification. Has Stalock made at least a verbal commitment to anyone yet?

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03-18-2004, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
Thanks for the clarification. Has Stalock made at least a verbal commitment to anyone yet?
Not that I am aware of.

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Old
03-18-2004, 06:25 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuckFan01
MN_Gopher has it incorrect. Gorowsky was picking between Wisconsin, North Dakota and one Ivy league school.
FWIW, that Ivy school was Yale. USHR said the some Ivies made a big pitch for Wheeler who was keeping his Ivy options open by not signing as early as most players at his level but the recent buzz about him probably made the Yale/Harvard option less attractive.

Yale did land Engasser and Page from Blake though.

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03-19-2004, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttnorm
FWIW, that Ivy school was Yale. USHR said the some Ivies made a big pitch for Wheeler who was keeping his Ivy options open by not signing as early as most players at his level but the recent buzz about him probably made the Yale/Harvard option less attractive.

Yale did land Engasser and Page from Blake though.
I saw that Yale landed those two. But wasn't Dartmouth also in the running for Wheeler or am I thinking of someone else?

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03-19-2004, 02:54 PM
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oilers Chick
I saw that Yale landed those two. But wasn't Dartmouth also in the running for Wheeler or am I thinking of someone else?
Dartmouth landed Wyman from Brake (which had 3 guys up for Mr. Hockey!). Didn't hear that they were after Wheeler but it is very likely that they would show an interest.

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03-19-2004, 03:22 PM
  #21
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My two cents on Blake are this

I saw the championship game (a hat trick in one period).

He did not put up much effort, not a great two way player, but he is physical.

But take the physicality with a grain of salt; he is quite larger than most players out there.

Great hands, good anticipation, and real good shot, he is a smooth skater, but not that fast.

What I remember most is that I donít remember seeing him until the second period. He plays a Brett Hull style, he lurks around the net and so you donít always notice him until its too late.

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03-19-2004, 05:54 PM
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttnorm
FWIW, that Ivy school was Yale. USHR said the some Ivies made a big pitch for Wheeler who was keeping his Ivy options open by not signing as early as most players at his level but the recent buzz about him probably made the Yale/Harvard option less attractive.
I don't think Wheeler was ever seriously thinking of going Ivy. Probably just one of those things where parents love seeing their kid getting interest from an Ivy school so they play along with it. But his final two options (MN and BC) are pretty good schools. Maybe not Ivy league but good. I guess he is taking an unofficial visit to Minnesota next week. Should be interesting to see if he commits shortly after as he said he wants to decide this spring.

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03-19-2004, 06:01 PM
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tk421
My two cents on Blake are this

I saw the championship game (a hat trick in one period).

He did not put up much effort, not a great two way player, but he is physical.

But take the physicality with a grain of salt; he is quite larger than most players out there.

Great hands, good anticipation, and real good shot, he is a smooth skater, but not that fast.

What I remember most is that I don’t remember seeing him until the second period. He plays a Brett Hull style, he lurks around the net and so you don’t always notice him until its too late.
He has pretty good speed for a 6'4 player. If you think about it, he isn't going to look like he is blazing fast when he is that tall. But he clearly had good speed anc covers ground quickly.

Yes, he has more size than your average kid at that level but 6'4 is rather tall at any level of hockey. If he puts on more muscle (which I am sure he will), he could be a physical force at any level.

The criticism about not being a two way player isn't entirely valid. He gives an effort on defense. Besides, defense can be taught. Size and skill like he has is a natural gift.

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04-04-2004, 10:34 PM
  #24
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Blake Wheeler has reportedly committed to the University of Minnesota for 05

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04-04-2004, 11:07 PM
  #25
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It was reported on a message board at wild.com first. (atleast for me anyways) There's still no link. Maybe it will be in the papers on monday.

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