Button interested in returning to Minnesota; Burns has shoulder surgery; Bergeron to have back surgery; Another big Aeros win; Elite League represented in final draft rankings

Posted on April 23rd, 2009 – 2:03 PM
By Michael Russo

You’re not going to believe this. That “B’ joke I made yesterday? Not funny now.

Marc-Andre Bergeron is scheduled to have back surgery next week to address a disc issue that had been bothering him off and on for some time. His rehab time is expected to be six to eight weeks.

So, Eric Belanger now really shouldn’t leave the house. I’m just saying. Bad couple weeks for Backstrom, Burns, Bergeron, Boogaard, Brunette and Bouchard. Just dawned on me. Goalie Barry Brust has a broken foot in the minors. That’s why Anton Khudobin’s playing.

Burns had right shoulder surgery this morning. He’ll stay in the hospital overnight for precautionary reasons (anesthesia and concussion can’t be a good mix), but he is doing well, the team says. Shoulder will be immobilized for a month. It’ll take four months to heal, but he’s expected back before training camp. Acting GM Tom Lynn said Burns’ concussion symptoms have improved greatly.

By the way, I talked to former North Stars Director of Scouting Craig Button today, and he is very interested in the Wild’s GM job. Button, 46, is well-respected in the game and currently does analysis for NHL Network and writes for NHL.com.

He moved with the North Stars to Dallas, and worked there until 2000. He won a Cup with them in 1999. He then succeeded Al Coates as Calgary’s GM, and he worked there from 2000-03. Button is known to be an incredibly organized manager, one who delegates and works marvelously with not just hockey ops, but business ops. His strengths are in player development and personnel. 

Although, when Button discovers what happens to all people with a last name starting with ‘B,’ on the Wild, he’ll probably change his mind and steer clear.

In other news, the Aeros had another win win last night, beating Peoria on Maxim Noreau’s OT winner to take a 3-2 first-round series lead. Here’s the link to Andrew Ferraro’s story in the Houston Chronicle. Game 6 is Saturday in Peoria.

NHL playoffs continue to be awesome, although it’s a shame the Rangers won yesterday in spite of Sean Avery’s idiocy. It would have been fun to see John Tortorella finally scratch this guy from the lineup. He’s just a circus act. Thank goodness for the Rangers that they have such an exceptional penalty kill — the best in the NHL this past regular season.

Lastly, …


New Hope, Minn. – The National Hockey League has released its final rankings of players eligible for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, and the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League is heavily represented.

The NHL’s Central Scouting Service has ranked what it considers the top 210 skaters and top 30 goalies from North America who are available for the draft, which will be held June 26-27 in Montreal. More than 10 percent of the players ranked, including 11 of the top 82, have played in the Elite League over the past three seasons.

At #5 on the list is the University of Minnesota’s Jordan Schroeder, who played in the Elite League in 2006. He is followed by Edina’s Zach Budish (#22), Eden Prairie’s Nick Leddy (#24) and Little Falls’ Ben Hanowski (#35), all of whom played in the Elite League the past two years. The list – available online at www.nhl.com – includes 24 Elite League alumni among the 210 North American skaters, plus goaltender Mike Lee of Roseau, who is #4 on the North American goalie list.

“We’re very excited to see so many Elite League players recognized by Central Scouting,” said John Russo, Commissioner of the Elite League. “One of the league’s missions is to provide players with exposure to scouts and college coaches, giving them the opportunity to further their hockey careers, and having so many of our players in the rankings tell us that we are accomplishing that goal.”

At the 2008 NHL Draft, 10 former Elite League players were chosen, including Jake Gardiner (Minnetonka-Anaheim Ducks, 17th overall), Aaron Ness (Roseau-NY Islanders, #40), Derek Stepan (Shattuck-NY Rangers, #51),  David Toews (Shattuck-NY Islanders, #66), Cory Fienhage (Eastview-Buffalo Sabres #81),  Justin Jokinen (Cloquet-Buffalo Sabres, #101), Drew Olson (Brainerd-Columbus Blue Jackets, #118), Joe Gleason (Edina-Chicago Blackhawks, #192), Nathan Condon (Wausau West-Colorado Avalanche, #200)  and David Carle (Shattuck-Tampa Bay Lightning, #203).

The Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League is a non-profit hockey league designed to provide high-level competition supplementing the regular high school hockey season.  Players are selected to play on one of the league’s seven teams, including five teams from Minnesota, a combined Minnesota/North Dakota team and a Wisconsin team. In addition to competing against each other, the teams play games against other top programs such as Shattuck Academy teams and select teams from other countries. For more information visit www.hselitehockey.com

A complete list of Elite League players on the Central Scouting Service rankings is on the next page.

CSS Rank Skater Name Hometown 2008-09 Team Elite League Year
5 Schroeder, Jordan * Lakeville, MN University of Minnesota 2006
22 Budish, Zach * Edina, MN Edina HS 2007-2008
24 Leddy, Nick * Eden Prairie, MN Eden Prairie HS 2007-2008
35 Hanowski, Ben * Little Falls, MN Little Falls HS 2007-2008
41 Helgeson, Seth * Faribault, MN Sioux City USHL 2006-2007
43 Birkholz, Josh * Maple Grove, MN Fargo USHL 2007
53 Mattson, Danny * Minneapolis, MN Holy Angels HS 2007-2008
57 Haula, Erik * Finland Shattuck St. Mary’s 2008
69 Fallstrom, Alexander * Sweden Shattuck St. Mary’s 2008
76 Thompson, Blake Eden Prairie, MN Sioux Falls USHL 2007
82 Oliver, Nick Roseau, MN Roseau HS 2007
109 Flaherty, Keegan Duluth, MN Fargo USHL 2007
112 Festler, Jared Little Falls, MN St. Cloud State 2007
114 Lapic, Tyler New Prague, MN New Prague HS 2007
118 Lee, Anders Edina, MN Edina HS 2007
120 Jensen, Nick Rogers, MN Green Bay USHL 2007
125 Scott, Berkley Anoka, MN Anoka HS 2008
138 DeLisle, Dan Arden Hills, MN Totino Grace HS 2007
144 Tardy, Max Duluth, MN Duluth East HS 2007
160 Taft, Charlie Edina, MN Edina HS 2008
163 Schmidt, Nate St. Cloud, MN St. Cloud Cathedral HS 2007- 2008
175 Murray, Jordy Faribault, MN University of Wisconsin 2006-2007
179 Gotovets, Krill Ukraine Shattuck St. Mary’s 2008
181 Everson, Marshall Edina, MN Edina HS 2007-2008
CSS Rank Goalie Name Hometown 2008-09 Team Elite League Year
4 Lee, Mike * Roseau, MN Fargo USHL 2007

*Indicates player was invited to NHL Combine, May 25-30 in Toronto

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