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Grand Forks Herald's Top 10 players to watch in area high school boys hockey

The Herald selected 10 players to watch in our coverage area for the 2021-22 season.

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Warroad forward Jayson Shaugabay (17), right is congratulated by forward Grant Slukynsky (27) after his goal Shaugabay’s goal against Minneapolisin the second period in a boys hockey game during Hockey Day Minnesota at Parade Stadium in Minneapolis on Jan. 18, 2020. Warroad beat Minneapolis, 5-1. (John Autey / The Rink Live)

The Herald selected 10 players to watch in our coverage area for the 2021-22 season.

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Roseau defenseman Thor Byfuglien (21) winds up a shot on the Grand Forks Central goal in the second period of Saturday's hockey game in Grand Forks. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Thor Byfuglien, Roseau: The 5-foot-10 defenseman, who’s committed to St. Cloud State, scored nine goals and 19 assists in 19 games for Roseau last season.


Landon Carter.

Landon Carter, Grafton-Park River: The junior forward was an all-state pick after leading the Spoilers with 18 goals and 12 assists.

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Daimon Gardner, Warroad.

Daimon Gardner, Warroad: 6-4 senior committed to Clarkson. After playing last season and the start of this season for the Omaha Lancers, Gardner is playing Minnesota HS hockey for the first time.

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Knights defenseman Dillon Kuntz lines up his shot during a home hockey game versus Fargo North on Tuesday, February 2. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Dillon Kuntz, GF Central: The senior defenseman was an all-state choice last season after finishing with three goals and 19 assists. The 22 points made him one of the top defensive scorers in the state.


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Red River defenseman Wyatt LeDuc and Fargo South-Shanley's Tanner Kirkeby race to the puck in the first period of Tuesday's boys hockey game at Eagles Arena. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Wyatt LeDuc, GF Red River: The senior defenseman was selected to the all-state team after finishing the year with five goals and 15 assists, which was Red River’s fourth-leading scorer.

Grand Forks Central's Connor Litzinger celebrates his short-handed goal beating Red River goalie Noah Burger in the second period during Tuesday opening game of the season at Purpur Arena. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Connor Litzinger, GF Central: Central graduated four of its top five forward scorers from last season, opening the door for more opportunities for Litzinger, who had four goals and 12 assists last season.

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Delano goaltender Drew Dorsey stops a shot from Green Wave forward Jaksen Panzer (17) in the second period of a matinee boy's hockey game at the East Grand Forks Civic Center on Saturday, November 27, 2021. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald


Jaksen Panzer, EGF Senior High: The 5-foot-10 junior forward, who’s committed to UND, had 14 goals and 22 assists last year for the Green Wave. He’s returned to East Grand Forks this winter after starting the season with the Minot Minotauros of the NAHL.

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Mahtomedi goalie Ben Dardis (32) gets a stick on Warroad forward Jayson Shaugabay (17) shot in the second period of a Class 1A semifinal game of the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul on Friday, March 6, 2020. Mahtomedi beat Warroad, 5-1. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

Jayson Shaugabay, Warroad: The 5-foot-9 junior, who’s committed to Minnesota Duluth, has already put up two seasons of 50-plus points in high school hockey. He had 24 goals and 30 assists last season.

Red River's Carter Sproule looks for a loose puck as West Fargo goalie Brayden Johnson blocks his shot in the second period of their ND State Hockey tournament semi-final game Friday. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Carter Sproule, GF Red River: The physical junior forward led the Roughriders in scoring last season with 12 goals and 18 points.


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Green Wave netminder Austin Cooley blocks a second period shot from Roseau's Max Strand (25) Tuesday night at the East Grand Forks Civic Center. Nick Nelson / Grand Forks Herald

Max Strand, Roseau: The 5-foot-9 senior forward scored 14 goals and 25 assists in 21 games for the Rams last season, then finished the year with the St. Cloud Norsemen of the NAHL.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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