MNHockey.Tv All MN Born NHL Team

by Pete Waggoner

St. Louis Park, MN - There have been 280 Minnesota born hockey players who have played at least one game in the National Hockey League (NHL) dating back to 1917.  The MNHockey.Tv decided to take the time during the COVID-19 pandemic to feed the sports world with another of the many list based stories to add to the mix.  Here, we take a look at  those 280 Minnesota born players and name the All-Minnesota Born NHL team.  

The criteria to be named to this team is that the player’s official birthplace, as listed,  has to be from a city or township in Minnesota.  We are not doing a Minnesota developed All-NHL team as that would be far too difficult to track and one could argue that Sidney Crosby or Jonathan Toews were Minnesota developed for their time at Shattuck St. Mary’s albeit for a brief time.  For the sake of this discussion, it was decided that it was Minnesota born hockey players only.  

We looked at the following components.  Longevity, point production, playoff contributions, awards, and leadership.  Our list will have 7 defenseman, 13 forwards, and 2 goalies. Most Minnesota born players that made major impacts in the NHL graduated in the mid to late 70’s and on.  There are two legacy players that are on the list and for good reason.   

The strength of the Minnesota contribution to the NHL from the late 70’s to present has been on the blue line.  Minnesota born defensemen have had major impacts on the NHL and there are a number of d-men currently playing in the league that would make this list in another decade when this article will be re-examined.  Selecting the top players was not difficult.  When it came to the bottom of the lineup, things became more blurred.  

The defenseman list has plenty of depth and there were a number of players that could have pushed for the final two or three spots.  Colorado’s Erik Johnson, Tampa Bay’s Ryan McDonagh, New York Islanders Nick Leddy, and the recently retired Paul Martin all were major players in the final discussion.  Others that can be considered on the short list  include South St. Paul native Justin Faulk, Minnetonka’s Jake Gardiner, New Hope’s Jim Johnson, Duluth’s Sean Hill, and Minneapolis born Tom Kurvers. Clearly, all can be debated with those on this list and that is the purpose of this article. 

Phil Housley

So. St. Paul3/9/6414953388941232822

Teams:  Buffalo, Winnipeg, St. Louis, Calgary, New Jersey, Washington, Chicago, Toronto

The Bottom Line
The former South St. Paul Packer phenom was the sixth overall pick of the Buffalo Sabres in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft.  He made the jump straight from High School to the NHL. Housley was the highest drafted Minnesota player at  that time.  He delivered seven 20-goal seasons to his ledger that included moving from the center position to the blueline that became his eventual positional home early in his career.  Housley  was a seven time All Star and finished second in Norris Trophy Award voting in 1992.  As the second all-time leading American born scorer behind Mike Modano, Housley's name is etched among the all-time great American born players.  His 1495 games ranks 22nd all-time in NHL games played.  The 1982 NHL All Rookie team member was inducted in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015, capping a legendary NHL career for South St. Paul’s favorite son.  Housley was a true professional who played the game with offensive precision and purpose.  His hands and vision were off the charts while coupled with his skating, Housely  was an elite and premier player known as a power play point producing machine with an NHL career that spanned 21 seasons. 

Mike Ramsey


Teams:  Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Detroit

The Bottom Line
Selected 11th overall by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft, Minneapolis Roosevelt and University of Minnesota star Mike Ramsey lived up to expectations and more.  The former Miracle on Ice Olympian and gold medal winner played 14 of his 18 NHL seasons in Buffalo.  Ramsey was a 4-time NHL All Star and played for Team USA in Rendez Vous 87.  Serving as the Buffalo team captain from 1990-1992, Ramsey appeared in 115 playoff games over his career.  Ramsey was a player that did not bring a lot of attention to his game and that proved true in his +/- rating.  It is astounding to note that Ramsey was a minus player only one season  for his career, and that was a -4 in 1993-94 while with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boasting a career +205 rating, Ramsey led by example and could deliver offensively when needed.  Ramsey was listed as the 8th greatest Sabre of all time in June of 2008. 

Reed Larson


Teams:  Detroit, Boston, Edmonton, New York Islanders, Minnesota, Buffalo

The Bottom Line
Reed Larson was selected in the second round,  22nd overall in the 1976 NHL Entry Draft, which would have firmly placed him as a first round pick in today’s NHL.  The owner of the big slap shot, the Minneapolis Roosevelt star was yet another from a long line of players from the Teddy  program to make an impact in college and professional hockey.  He notched 60 points (19g-41a) in his rookie season and appeared in the first of three Star games in his career.  While offensively gifted, Larson’s game was not one dimensional as he played with grit and an edge as evidenced by his 1,391 penalty minutes over his 16-year NHL career.  He had five 20-goal seasons and eight 60 point efforts in his career with his highest output of 74 points (22g-52a) in 1982-83 for the Red Wings.  He was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1996. 

Bret Hedican

St. Paul8/10/70103955239284893

Teams:  St. Louis, Vancouver, Florida, Carolina, Anaheim

The Bottom Line
The North St. Paul High School graduate was drafted in the 10th round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft  by the St. Louis Blues. Hedican wound up playing more NHL games than 14 of the 21 players drafted in the first round in a year that yielded Mike Modano and Trevor Linden.  His skating and center of balance were above average and he used it to his advantage throughout his NHL career.  Winning a Stanley Cup in 2006 was the crowning achievement of his brilliant 20-year NHL career.  A player does not play two decades of hockey and maintains his spot in the lineup if he is not making an impact for his team, such as Hedican did.  Hedican played for the Stanley Cup in 1994 while with the Vancouver Canucks who lost  to the New York Rangers. He also played on the 2001-02 Stanley Cup final Carolina team that was stopped by the Detroit Red Wings.  Hedican was the epitome of a professional and played the position in a steady and productive way for 20 seasons. 

Dustin Byfuglien 


Teams:  Chicago, Atlanta-Winnipeg

The Bottom Line
The defenseman stands a towering 6-5  and weighs a menacing 260 pounds.  Byfuglien uses every bit of his size to his advantage.  He was an 8th round pick, No. 245, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks.  Oftentimes, the man known as Big Buff is the most recognizable presence on the ice.  He skates well, possesses quality offensive skills, and can be a physical force when necessary.  When paired with the physical attributes, Byfuglien’s hockey IQ is equally impressive and is easy to take note of his well rounded game. He notched 16 points (11g-5a) in 22 Stanley Cup games played in the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals with the Blackhawks.   Byfuglien was a key component to the Chicago 2010 Cup win. He played forward for two previous seasons in Chicago where he eventually settled in on the blue line. Byfuglien has been a 4-time NHL All Star and has recorded  45 points or more six times in his 14-year NHL career. 

Matt Niskanen


Teams:  Dallas, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia

The Bottom Line
At 33-years of age, Niskanen is like a fine wine in NHL terms.  He has grown into one of the most dependable two-way defensemen in the league.  It is because of his steady growth  and his major contributions to the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup in 2018 that puts him in this starting lineup.  The former Virginia/Mountain Iron-Buhl star averaged a workhorse-like 25:23 of ice time in the Cup final against Vegas. After helping his high school team to their first ever Class A state championship, Niskanen was a first round pick, No. 28 overall, by the Dallas Stars in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.  He has seen his offensive production maintain a steady pace, recording six seasons of 35 points or more over his 13-year NHL career.  Niskanen has played in 125 Stanley Cup playoff games and has collected 40 points in those games (5g-35a-40pts).  Noted for his  health and durability, Niskanen has missed just 20 games over the last seven seasons of which 14 of the missed games were in 2018-19.  He was part of the NHL YoungStars game in 2008. 

Alex Goligoski

Gr. Rapids7/30/8586880327407294

Teams:  Pittsburgh, Dallas, Arizona

The Bottom Line
The Grand Rapids native made the jump to the NHL during the 2008-2009 season with the Pittsburgh Penguins and never looked back.  Goligoski was a second round pick of Pittsburgh going 61st overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.  He has posted 9 seasons of 30 or more points during his 13-year NHL career with a high of 42 points (6g-36a) while with Dallas in 2013-14.  Incredibly durable, Goligoski has appeared in 76 or more games the last six seasons in a row and was on pace to hit that mark again this year for a seventh straight year until the virus paused the season.  Offensively smooth, Goligoski has been terrific on the power play with creative vision coupled with execution.  While his skating is under control, Goligoski plays the game with unbridled passion and creativity.   His teams are on the move to the offensive zone quickly and efficiently when Goligoski  is on the ice.  


The forwards are an interesting lot in Minnesota hockey NHL history.  The development at the forward position the last twenty years has been steady and witnessed by the MNHockey.Tv (and previous versions of the brand) and fans who have both been at the forefront of capturing the evolution of these players.  There were plenty of players to comb through and a number that did not make the team that have every reason to be on it.  Key to the selection process was games played usually led to  productivity.  A minimum of 450 points, awards, number of games and playoff success were all factors in how this team was selected.   

Duluth’s Tommy Williams was the only player with WHA time on this list of significant numbers as he played two seasons and his WHA numbers were included with his NHL numbers after his two-year stint in New England with the Whalers. 

Those that were left off are led by Minneapolis native Mark Johnson  fit the criteria having been born in Minneapolis.  After long discussion, it was determined that while he was born in Minnesota and raised in Madison every player on the list was born and developed in Minnesota, making him the one exception.  He did have 508 points in 609 games played and is worthy of a spot.  Bloomington’s Mark Parrrish was in the discussions with 722 games played and 387 points and a 30 goal season. Tom Chorske and Rochester’s Shjon Podein were Stanley Cup Champions who met the games played criteria but fell short in points each under 250.  Edina’s Paul Ranheim was born in St. Louis and raised in Edina and played in 1,013 games.  The committee had to stick with the Minnesota born theme and Ranheim is known as the Calgary legend for his play with the Flames. 

New York Islanders teammates Anders Lee and Brock Nelson will push through in future years if they continue the productive path.  This list of forwards will certainly be fluid in the coming decade.  

Neal Broten


Teams:  Minnesota, Dallas, New Jersey, Los Angeles

The Bottom Line
Voted by the Minnesota Wild hockey fans as the greatest player ever from Minnesota in 2009, the dynamic center electrified crowds from his memorable state tournament play with Roseau in the late 70’s and then at Williams Arena with he University of Minnesota. His run as a Gopher was interrupted by a season with the US National team where he was a member of the Miracle on Ice gold medal team in 1980.  Broten was a third round pick, 42nd over all, of the Minnesota North Stars in 1979 NHL Entry Draft.  He made his debut in the North Stars sweater during the 1980-81 season and went on to play 15 seasons with the Minnesota/Dallas franchise.  Broten’s best offensive campaign was 1985-86 where he had 105 points (29g-76a) and became the first ever American born player to collect 100 points in a season.  He was a two-time NHL All Star and won the Lester Patrick Award in 1988. His smooth and controlled skating vision, hockey IQ, and two-way play were his trademark.  Broten changed the way hockey was viewed in Minnesota with his impeccable play-making ability.  He completed a trio of impressive feats having been a member of a Collegiate National Championship team  at the University of Minnesota (1979), the US  Olympic team gold medal (1980), and the New Jersey Devils Stanley Cup (1995).  The US Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Broten in 2000 and his number 7 was retired by the Dallas Stars on February 7th, 1998.  He has remained the face of Minnesota Hockey and has been embraced by all as an example of a true professional with his long and impressive on-ice resume. 

Dave Christian


Teams:  Winnipeg, Washington, Boston, St. Louis, Chicago

The Bottom Line
The third member of the 1980 Miracle on Ice team to qualify for this exclusive team.  Christian played 15 seasons in the NHL and was a second round pick, 40th overall, selected two spots ahead of Neal Broten by the Winnipeg Jets.  In ten of Christian’s 15 NHL seasons he potted 20 or more goals including a high of 41 in the 1985-86 season with the Washington Capitals.  That same year, he posted 42 assists to round out an 83 point campaign and led the Caps in goals, assists, and points.  Christian scored 30 or more goals four times in his NHL career and appeared in 102 Stanley Cup Playoff games.  A goal scorer and playmaker, Christian was consistently among the top point producers on his teams proving to be a dependable player.  He still holds the NHL record for the fastest goal scored by a player in his first game, scoring just :07 into his first shift.  Christian was an NHL All Star in 1991 and was inducted in the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.   

Jamie Langenbrunner


Teams:  Dallas, New Jersey, St. Louis

The Bottom Line
When the Dallas Stars selected Langenbrunner with the 35th overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, there was concern by some internally that they should have selected the Cloquet native in the first round and may miss out on his services. Instead, the Stars  opted to draft Todd Harvey with the 9th overall pick.  When Langenbrunner was available, the club knew they had two first rounders in their midst.  Langenbrunner went on to play 438 more games and six more seasons than Harvey.  It is the playoff legend that sets Langenbrunner apart from the others.  His leadership and drive delivered 12 playoff game winning goals with 4 of them coming in overtime.  Those numbers place him among the elite in NHL history.  His playoff totals in 146 games (34-53-87) are impressive, embarking on almost two full seasons of play.  Langenbrunner was a strong skating, hard working dependable two way player that broke the mold for many Minnesota born forwards with his undeniable grit and skill combined with offensive productivity.  A 1994 Calder Trophy finalist for rookie of the year, two-time Stanley Cup Champions (Dallas 1999, New Jersey 2003), Langenbrunner led the Stanley Cup playoffs in goals (11) and points (18) in 2003.  He was also captain of the Devils from 2007-2011.  As of now, Langenbrunner is not in the US Hockey Hall of Fame.  He should have a corner reserved already and it is a matter of time. After playing on the 2004 National team at the World Cup of Hockey, and serving as the captain of the 2010 silver medal winning US Olympic team, Langenbrunner has earned his right to be placed not only among Minnesota’s elite but USA Hockey’s elite. 

Matt Cullen


Teams:  Anaheim, Florida, Carolina, New York Rangers, Carolina, Ottawa, Minnesota, Nashville, Pittsburgh

The Bottom Line
The Moorhead Minnesota native became a household name during the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament in the early to mid 90’s and remained one after his two seasons of college hockey at St. Cloud State and beyond to the NHL.  He went on to be selected in the 2nd round, 35th overall, by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks during the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.  He wound up playing the 19th most games of any player in the NHL with an amazingly consistent 20-year NHL career.  Cullen played for and won three Stanley Cups (Carolina 06, Pittsburgh 16 & 17).  The face off maestro and well-rounded two-way player appeared in 132 Stanley Cup games.  Amazingly, at the age of 42, Cullen was still going strong and retired at the end of last season.  It was his commitment to fitness,  efficient skating, and play that made him a desired veteran.  He proved that with a +/- rating of +35 over his last 7 seasons in the NHL.  His leadership was top notch and it showed with the teams he played on and off the ice.  Cullen was busy in the community as well starting Cully’s Kids, created  in 2003  to help finance kids with financial medical needs that focused mainly on cancer. 

Zach Parise


Teams:  New Jersey, Minnesota

The Bottom Line 
The son of popular North Star legend JP Parise has taken the family name to new heights during his storied 15-year NHL Career.  Zach Parise was a first round pick of the New Jersey Devils, No. 17 overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  After lighting it up at the University of North Dakota for two seasons (76gp-49g-67-115pts), Parise played  one year in the AHL to get his feet wet with Albany.  Since then, he has been the mark of productivity, heart, character, and consistency.  He is the owner of six 30-goal seasons with a high of 45 in 2008-09 .  10 of his seasons have netted 25 goals or more.  On pace for another 30 goal season this year, Parise is two goals short of the benchmark in goals only to have the season was suspended due to the Caronoa Virus with 14 regular season games to play.  After participating in the 2007 NHL YoungStars game in 2007, Parise was named the MVP of the game.  He had a  career year in 2009 and posted his best offensive effort to date  (45g-49a-94pts),  where Parise was named a second team NHL All Star that year.  He led the Devils to the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals tying Ilya Kovalchuck for the team lead in goals with 8.   He served as the captain of the New Jersey Devils in 2012 and has been an alternate captain during his eight seasons in Minnesota. Parise has worked through injuries of late to consistently produce and will never be outworked.  Parise, who has 386 goals is well on the way to 400 and perhaps 500 if he continues the current pace.  In observing the left wing’s incredible consistency, the question was asked, “When does he score those goals?”  Meaning, his goals come from the areas of courage and greasy spots around the net where he will not stop until the puck is in the back of the net.  Those goals aren’t seen on Sports Center’s Top Ten plays often although, those goals win games and that is what Parise is known for throughout his incredible career. 

Blake Wheeler


Teams:  Boston, Atllanta/Winnipeg

The Bottom Line
The Plymouth native and former Breck star has propelled himself to the upper echelon of the NHL and continues to get better with age.  Originally drafted by the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round, 5th overall, in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Wheeler has lifted himself to back-to-back All Star games in 2018 and 2019.  He also played in the 2009 NHL YoungStars game in 2009 and was named the game’s MVP.  Wheeler was named captain of the Winnipeg Jets in August of 2016.  Blessed with incredible size at 6-5 along with slick hands and smooth feet, Wheeler has put it all together producing 399 points (117g-282a) in 398 games played since the 2015-16 season.  He has delivered seven straight 20 goal seasons and had a career high 71 assists in 2018-19.  Stepping on the ice is an important component  to being successful in the NHL and Wheeler has only missed an incredible 8 games his entire 12-year NHL career.  He led his Jets team with 21 points (3g-18a) in 17 playoff games during the  2017-18 season..  Clearly possessing leadership skills, playmaking ability, and a scoring touch, Wheeler has become the heart and soul of the Winnipeg Jets and a rightful spot on this prestigious team. 

David Backes


Teams:  St. Louis, Boston, Anaheim

The Bottom Line 
A thorn in many teams' sides, at 6-3 and 215 pounds, Backes has made a living as an effective power-forward over 14 NHL seasons.  He was a second round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues, 63rd overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.  The former Spring Lake Park Panther made the leap from Minnesota State Mankato to the Peoria Rivermen where he played for two seasons before landing on the Blues roster, eventually sticking the NHL for good. He was  an NHL All Star in 2011 and named the captain of the Blues following the 2011 season.  Backes was a Selke Award finalist in 2012, and won the Eastern Conference title with the Bruins in 2019.  He has six seasons of 20 goals or more and has scored 31 twice (09,11).  His physical game does not show up on the scoresheet although it is tangible to his team’s success.  Backes presents an offensive ability combined with a hard nosed in your face game and a high level of leadership that all teams wish  to have in their lineup.  

Aaron Broten


Teams:  Colorado/New Jersey, Minnesota, Quebec, Toronto, Winnipeg

The Bottom Line 
Broten was a 6th round draft pick, No. 146th overall, of the Colorado Rockies in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft. He played in 12 NHL seasons and produced five seasons of 55 points or more. The 2007 US Hockey Hall of Fame inductee had 83 points (26g-57a) during the 1987-88 season for the New Jersey Devils and was second on the team in points and tied for the lead in assists with Kirk Muller. Broten finished third on the team in playoff points with 16 (5g-11a) in 20 games played. He was a well rounded offensive player who was as good a playmaker as he was goal scorer.  It is important to note that Broten was incredibly  productive on some rough New Jersey teams that were once dubbed the Mickey Mouse franchise by the Wayne Gretzky,  

Derek Stepan


Teams:  New York Rangers, Arizona

The Bottom Line 
Stepan was selected in the second round  with the 51st pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Rangers.  He blasted out of the starting blocks becoming just the fourth player in NHL history at the time  to score a hat trick in his NHL debut for  the Rangers.  Toronto’s Auston Matthews became the fifth player to accomplish the hat trick feat. After playing two seasons with Wisconsin Badgers, the former Shattuck St. Mary’s star joined the Rangers for the 2010-11 season and was an NHL All Star that year. Stepan has been incredibly productive and consistent over his 10-year NHL career by collecting 50 or more points in six seasons.  He has appeared in 97 Stanley Cup playoff games and has been a big producer notching (19g-30-49pts).  After being traded to the Arizona Coyotes in 2017, Stepan was named an alternate captain.  The steady NHL veteran could be one of the most under-appreciated and consistent players in the league who has incredible vision and hands and can play any situation and has been relied upon for the penalty kill during his career. Stepan is the youngest player on this team.    

Jason Blake


 Teams:  Los Angeles, New York Islanders, Toronto, Anaheim 

The Bottom Line
Signed as a free agent by the Los Angeles Kings in 1999, Blake excelled at the University of North Dakota after transferring from Ferris State.  Blake had 20 or more goals five out of his 13 seasons including a high of 40 in the 2006-07 season.  The magical season for the Moorhead native yielded 29 assists and 69 points to go with his 40 goal effort and a spot in the NHL All Star Game.  After signing a free agent contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Blake was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia which is a rare form of cancer.  Blake found a way to play the season for the Leafs and played in all 82 ames with a productive campaign (15g-37a-52pts) in 2007-08.  He earned the Bill Masterton award for his courageous season. Blake was a fiery competitor who never took no for an answer on the ice.  He battled to get what he wanted. 

Tommy  Williams




Teams:  Boston, Minnesota, California, Washington  

The Bottom Line 
Williams hooked up with the Boston Bruins in 1961 after a two year stint with Kingston Frontenacs of the EPHL.  He was a member of the 1960 US Olympic gold medal winning team.  Williams was a trailblazer of sorts in the 1960’s as shockingly, in 1966 he was the only American born player in the NHL during that season.  Williams had (15g-52a-67pts) in his first year  with the Minnesota North Stars during the 1969-70 and finished second in points behind JP Parise.  Williams had a brief stint in the WHA where he played for the New England Whalers appearing in 139 games over two seasons, where he had a productive (31g-58a-89pts) stay in the WHA.  Williams went on to sign with the expansion Washington Capitals and led the team in goals, assists, and points (22g-36a-58pts) in 1974-75, which was their first season in the NHL.  Williams was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1981.  He opened a lot of doors for Minnesota born hockey players in an era today.  He played in a time  that wasn’t particularly open to US Born players, let alone Minnesota born players. 

Joel Otto

Elk River10/29/619431953135081934

Teams:  Calgary, Philadelphia 

The Bottom Line
Like the previous two players on this list, Otto was a free agent that signed with the Calgary Flames after playing two seasons with the Bemidji State Beavers.  A two-time Selke Award finalist, Otto was known for his defensive and rugged play while blending offensive skill.  He was a member of the Calgary Flames 1989 Stanley Cup Championship team and was known to mix it up with anyone and came  in just under 2,000 minutes in penalties.  Otto is most known for his intense in-your-face battles with Edmonton's Mark Messier during the famed battle of Alberta.  He had five seasons of 50 points or more over his 14 seasons including scoring 20 goals twice.  Otto's size elevated him to the well rounded power forward that was desired to stop other teams larger offensive threats.  Otto was good at his job and was even better in the playoffs with 74 points (27g-47a) in 122 Stanley Cup Playoff games.  Otto missed the playoffs one time in his career and had a +/- rating of +66 in his 14 years in the NHL and  that had a lot of responsibility attached to it. 

Kyle Okposo

St. Paul4/16/88800196310506443

Teams:  New York Islanders, Buffalo

The Bottom Line 
The St. Paul native was the seventh overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.  His career  was rewarded by being named to the 2017 NHL All Star Game. His 69 points (27g-42a) in 71 games represented his career high in points in 2013-14 led the team in 2013-14  and he topped a 21-year old John Tavares in points to lead the Islanders. Okposo has produced four seasons of 50 points or more during his 13-year NHL career.  Two times he collected a career high 42 points and has long been a leader on his  teams.  Okposo was named alternate captain in the 2009-10 season with New York.   At the age of 20, Okposo led the Islanders in goals with 18 in his rookie season. The powerful skater creates problems for opposing teams with a high compete level combined with offensive skill. 

Through research, there were not a lot of options for this position.  Over the long haul, there were two goalies that stood out in terms of longevity and wins.  Richfield’s Damien Rhodes was considered as a potential third goaltender with his 99 wins. South St. Paul’s Alex Stalock has seen his stock rise as he grabbed the reins as the top go-to goalie in Minnesota this year. Stalock has 61 career wins to his credit including 20 this year alone.  Sam LoPresti played just two NHL seasons and does not have a long enough resume.  Sam’s son Pete LoPresti was 43-102 which wouldn’t make the list and Wild goalie coach Bob Mason was 55-65 for his career.  There are others that are starting to break through such as Lakeville’s Charlie Lindren in Montreal.  This position was a clear cut decision. 

Frank Brimsek


Teams:  Boston, Chicago

The Bottom Line 
Known as “Mr. Zero”, Eveleth legend Frank Brimsek is the biggest baller on this team.   He is the greatest goaltender/player born in Minnesota to play in the NHL.  The two-time Vezina trophy winner, eight time NHL All Star, and two time Stanley Cup champion with the Boston Bruins (1939 and 1941) was the mark of consistency.  He opened his career in 1939 with sterling numbers (33-9-1, 1.56, 10so).  He only had two losing seasons over a career that spanned 10 years, and one was with the Chicago Blackhawks in his final season.  He held the record for wins and shutouts by an American goalie for 54 years (wins) and 61 years (shutouts).  He was the first American goalie inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1966.  Seven years later, he was inducted into the Inaugural class of the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973. The Hockey News named Brimsek the 67th greatest player in NHL history.  1939 was very good to Brimsek who had a winding road to the NHL.  When he finally had his opportunity he earned the Calder Trophy for the rookie of the year, was a first team NHL All Star, and won the Vezina Cup as the NHL’s best goaltender.  He also hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup that year.  Brimsek opened the door for a number of Iron Range hockey players and now, beyond.   His efforts allowed Minnesotans have a place at the altar of the NHL. The Brimsek award is given to High School hockey’s best senior goaltender.  A history lesson for all young goalies is in store when it comes to the level of play Brimsek delivered which is  well worth emulating. 

Jon Casey

Gr. Rapids8/29/62425170157553.2116

Teams:  Minnesota, Boston, St. Louis

The Bottom Line 
The former Grand Rapids and North Dakota goaltending star earned an impressive 170 wins in his 12 year NHL career.  After leading the Minnesota North Stars to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1991, Casey was traded to the Boston Bruins for Andy Moog in 1993.  His only year in Boston yielded a 31 win season, tying him for the league lead with Montreal’s Patrick Roy and Buffalo’s Darren Puppa.  He was also an All Star in 1993 and posted a career .888 save percentage.  Casey was most known for his acrobatic style in goal, making many saves that did not seem possible at the time.  He was a competitor that battled each night he strapped on the pads.