In 2019, Bryce Brodzinski (front) won Mr. Hockey. Can Carsen Richels (back) emerge from his shadow and do the same?
Player: Carsen Richels
College: New Hampshire
Height: 6 foot, 3 inches
Weight: 210 pounds
Career Totals: 56 Goals, 59 Assists
Blaine senior Carsen Richels
Last March, Bryce Brodzinski was the third player to win the Minnesota Mr. Hockey award from Blaine. He amassed 169 points in three seasons and led his team to the state semifinals. Bryce embodied everything that his family name (Brodzinski and Yozamp) stood for - skill, hard work, and dedication.
One of Brodzinski's linemates last year was Carsen Richels. Another Bengal who will have a shot at winning the coveted Mr. Hockey award. Richels is a "next level" lock. He's big (6 foot 3) even for hockey standards.
Very skilled - 83 points in 29 games last season for Blaine - and very hard working. But most high school hockey experts say Richels was riding the Bryce Brodzinski wave during the previous year en route to his breakout season. Any time a player increases their point production by 51 points, fans and foes alike will be cynical.
It's our goal to finish our year on Saturday night, not Saturday afternoon
"It's our goal to finish our year on Saturday night, not Saturday afternoon," Richels said on Tuesday night.
If you look closely, Richels is no flash in the pan or fluke. Dating back to his youth career, Richels has always been considered one of the best players his age. In 2017, Richels scored one of the most memorable goals of the year in an epic six-overtime win over Eden Prairie in the state quarterfinals in Marshall. "It was crazy; we were all gassed. My shot was just a shot from the high slot, nothing special." Richels said on Tuesday night after his MSP Magazine UMHSEL team won 7-3 over TDS Transportation.
With another big season, Richels could leave Blaine as the school's all-time leading scorer. "I'm really excited for the season, I have my linemate (Cole) Hansen returning," Richels said. Richels is eligible for the NHL draft this year. The NHL Central Scouting rated him a B prospect (second to third round), one of only three Minnesota high school seniors to get a rating that high. One NHL scout told YHH Tuesday, "Richels is the reason we come to the Elite League. He's got the body and skill set teams are looking for."
When asked about the hole left behind without Brodzinski, Richels said with a gleam in his eye, "We will definitely miss him and his flashy plays, but we have some guys that can fill roles, and we'll be alright."