Four Minnesota Prospects Earn Scouting Combine Invites


June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Matthew Dumba poses for a photo after being selected as the number seven overall draft pick to the Minnesota Wild in the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Four products of Minnesota’s fine high school hockey system earned invites to the NHL Scouting Combine this week. Thomas Vannelli of Minnetonka, Connor Hurley of Edina, Teemu Kivihalme of Burnsville and Avery Peterson of Grand Rapids are among five players who skated the 2013-13 season with their high school team.

Of the 79 North American skaters invited to the combine, only five high school players merited a look at the scouting event, and just one non-Minnesota high school player made the list (Anthony Florentino of South Kent School, CT).

The top prospects in the high school pool are Vannelli and Hurley, ranked 44 and 45, respectively. Vannelli’s stock increased drastically from his NHL Draft Prospect midterm rank of 77, while Hurley fell from a midterm rank of 32.

Vannelli is a 6-foot-2, 165-pound, right-shooting defenseman. Skating in 25 games for Minnetonka in the 2012-13 season, the D-man scored eight goals and added 23 assists for 31 points, with 14 PIM. He also earned time with the U.S.A. U-18 team in the USHL, where he suited for 14 games and had 2 points (1+1=2), 4 PIM.

Hurley, a 6-foot-1, 172-pound, left-shooting forward was a bright Shattuck-St. Mary’s player at the bantam tier-1 level in 2009-10, scoring 59 points (20+39=59) in 58 games. He moved to Edina for his 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons. In 25 games this year, Hurley tallied 43 points on 15 goals and 28 assists.

Hurley also notched time with the U.S.A. U-18 team, playing nine games and scoring three points (1+2=3).

Kivihalme, a lefty defenseman standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 158 pounds, tallied 30 points (9+21=30) in 25 games for Burnsville this season. He is ranked 64 ahead of the combine, up from a midterm rank of 75.\

Peterson, a left-shooting centerman, brings size and scoring with a 6-foot-2, 193-pound frame and a 54-point (23+31=54) season for Grand Rapids. Peterson is ranked 77, an improvement form a midterm rank of 86.

(Enjoy the subdued Minnesota commentary)

Each of the four Minnesota-born, Minnesota State High School League players will be hoping to hear their name called June 30 at the NHL 2013 Draft.

The Minnesota Wild, which will be without its first round pick (traded to Buffalo in the Jason Pominville transaction), could have a look at any or all of these native-skaters. The Wild will select #46 in the second round of the draft, #70 in round three and #107 in round four.

More NHL Draft news available on the NHL Draft Blog.