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11 Minnesotans to audition for NTDP U-17 team

By Peter Odney, 03/14/23, 1:00PM CDT


Eight forwards and three defensemen will make up the Minnesotan contingent in Plymouth, Mich.

Garrett Lindberg, Moorhead

Player: Conrad Fondrk
Hometown: Vadnais Heights
2022-2023 Team: Mount St. Charles 15O

The Vadnais Heights native has been a scoring machine since his days in the White Bear Lake youth program, and the 5-foot-9, 150-pound forward hasn't slowed down a tick since moving on to the powerhouse Mount St. Charles program, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. 

Fondrk racked up 58 goals and 108 points for last year's 14U Saints team, and is on pace to surpass that total this season with 53 goals and 95 points in 46 games. Fondrk's production was on full display during last year's 14U Nationals, where he tallied five goals and five assists in four games. 

Fondrk also tied for fourth among all skaters at the USA Hockey Select 15 camp with six points. His five goals at the camp were second among all skaters, one behind his Mound St. Charles 15O teammate Nicolas Whitehead. 

Player: Jacob Kvasnicka
Hometown: Plymouth 
2022-2023 Team: Wayzata High School

Kvasnicka's speed sets him apart on the ice, and it's part of what earned him so much ice time for the Wayzata varsity as a freshman during the 2022-2023 campaign. 

Kvasnicka flashed during the summer of 2022 with the Bantam Elite League, recording eight goals and 17 points during the league's month-long run. His play impressed again during Minnesota Hockey's Tier I Fall League, where he totaled 11 goals and 32 points, including seven assists in four league playoff games. 

After a single season with the Wayzata Bantam AA team, Kvasnicka moved on to the high school program this season, scoring 11 goals and adding 34 assists to help the Trojans to a 19-7-1 record and an appearance in the Section 6AA championship game. 

Player: Garrett Lindberg 
Hometown: Moorhead
2022-2023 Team: Moorhead High School 

If he performs well in the tryout, Lindberg could be the second member of the 2021-2022 Moorhead Bantam AA team to make the jump to the NTDP, joining the program one year after his Bantam defensive partner (2006 birth year) Sam Laurila made the move. 

Lindberg's skating is elite, and he logged major time on the ice for the Spuds this season. Lindberg was a key piece of the team's power play unit, where he recorded 10 assists and 11 points. His season totals were four goals and 19 points for the Section 8AA champion Spuds.

Lindberg skated in the Upper Midwest Fall High School Elite League prior to the high school season, dishing out nine assists in 18 games for Team Sanford Power.   

Jacob Kvasnicka, Wayzata

Player: Mason Moe
Hometown: Eden Prairie 
2022-2023 Team: Eden Prairie High School 

Standing six feet tall and almost 170 pounds, Moe is still growing, and has room to fill out his frame with more time in the weight room. His technical skating ability is immediately noticeable, with good hip movement and undeniable offensive ability. 

Moe played a top-six role for Eden Prairie's varsity last season, totaling 18 goals and 27 points in 26 games. His 18 tallies led the Eagles, and his 27 points were third overall.  

Player: Mace'o Phillips  
Hometown: Wayzata
2022-2023 Team: Benilde-St. Margaret's 

One glance at Phillips, and it's easy to see why the NTDP would want a closer look at him.

The smooth-skating defender stands 6-foot-5 and nearly 200 pounds, giving him a robust frame. Combined with his skating ability, Phillips fits the mold of the big, agile defender that can provide an offensive spark. 

Phillips totaled seven goals and 22 points in 27 games this season for Benilde-St. Margaret's, his second year at the high school level. 

Player: Cullen Potter
Hometown: Minneapolis
2022-2023 Team: Dallas Stars Elite 16U 

Arguably the best player in the 2007 age group, Potter has had an interesting path to this point, having never played for a traditional Minnesota youth association.

Potter spent last season with the Northeast Wisconsin Jr. Gamblers program and is now the leading scorer (by an 18-point margin) of the Dallas Stars Elite 16U team, according to Elite Prospects. As of this writing, Potter has amassed 40 goals and 79 points in 49 games for the DSE. 

Potter arrives in Plymouth with a strong hockey pedigree as the son of U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer, gold medalist, and former Ohio State women's hockey coach Jenny Potter (formerly Schmidgall) and former Maple Grove girls' hockey coach Rob Potter.   

Mason Moe, Eden Prairie

Player: KJ Sauer
Hometown: Andover
2022-2023 Team: Andover High School 

In his final season of youth hockey, the ultra-athletic Sauer scored 25 goals and totaled 70 points for the Andover Bantam AA team, which eventually finished the season sixth in the state after going 1-2 at the Bantam AA State Tournament. 

This season, Sauer skated in all 31 games for the Huskies, recording seven goals and 14 points as Andover concluded the campaign with a third-place finish in the Class AA State Tournament. 

The hard-nosed forward comes from an athletically gifted gene pool. Grandpa Curtis spent time in the Minnesota Twins farm system. Uncle Craig went to a Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons. Uncles Kurt and Michael, plus dad Kent, all played professional hockey, with Kurt reaching the Stanley Cup finals with Anaheim in 2003.  

Player: Cooper Simpson 
Hometown: Shakopee
2022-2023 Team: Shakopee High School

Simpson may have the most extensive prep resume of any player on this list, considering his 50 games and two full seasons with the Shakopee High School varsity. 

In those 50 games, Simpson has already surpassed the career 100-point plateau, totaling 61 goals and 102 points. This past season he helped Shakopee to a record of 16-11, and an appearance in the Section 2AA semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Minnetonka. Simpson tallied team-highs in goals (37) and points (63) for the Sabers during the 2022-2023 season.  

At six feet, 170 pounds, Simpson has good size and some of the softest hands in the country. He's a natural goal-scorer with creative flair, aided by a sixth sense in the offensive zone. 

Player: Sam Spehar
Hometown: Chaska
2022-2023 Team: Sioux Falls Power 16U 

A year after recording nearly one point per game for Chaska High School during the 2021-2022 season, Spehar took his talents to the growing Sioux Falls Power organization, and has netted 22 goals and totaled 52 points in 28 games with the AAA program.

Spehar takes after his father, Minnesota hockey legend Dave Spehar, as a fluid skater with good hands. Sam scored three goals in four games for Team Gold at the USA Hockey Select 15 camp.   

KJ Sauer, Andover

Player: Mason West
Hometown: Edina
2022-2023 Team: Edina High School

West was thrust into a significant role on this year's Class AA State Tournament runner-up Edina squad, and the freshman forward didn't disappoint with 18 assists and 27 points in 30 games for the Hornets. Those 27 points ranked third on the team, which is impressive for a first-year player. 

According to Elite Prospects, West stands 6-foot-4 and approximately 175 pounds, an excellent frame for a forward of his offensive caliber. 

Player: Jacob Rombach  
Hometown: Blaine
2022-2023 Team: Spring Lake Park High School 

If you're a 6-foot-4 defender with reach and play heavy, teams will find a spot - or at least want to get a closer look - at you. 

Rombach registered nine goals and 10 assists this past season for the Spring Lake Park varsity, his first season at the high school level. Rombach's 19 points ranked fifth on the team, and his eight power-play points were tied for the team's lead.

"(Jake) uses his strong skating along with his big frame to his advantage to fend off opposing players and break pucks out of the d-zone," Spring Lake Park coach Connor Gagnon said via text message. "He's only going to get better as he continues to grow and become stronger (and) more explosive."   

Mason West, Edina

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