WCH favorite Mike Emrick made a comment in the third period of last night's game between Detroit and Dallas that caught the attention of TNABACG.
Emrick was wondering aloud how Toby Petersen, a kid that played at Bloomington Jefferson HS just outside of Minneapolis, ended up going to Colorado College, rather than becoming a Gopher. The implication is that it's basically a given that the top players from the Twin Cities area will matriculate to the University of Minnesota, and ultimately on to the NHL.
It's a seemingly logical theory, except that it doesn't seem work in practice. It's undeniable that Minnesota gets basically their pick of the top-rated high school players from the Twin Cities, but the numbers look much different by the time you get to NHL alums. Out of the 25 players to hail from the Twin Cities and their suburbs that played at least one game in the NHL last season, only 6 are alums of the University of Minnesota, just slightly worse than one out of four.
Here's what the list looks like. (Note: I used Let's Play Hockey Magazine's list of former college players that played in the NHL, and used Hockeydb for hometowns. I don't have a specific definition for Twin Cities suburb, but basically Maple Grove, Hastings, Coon Rapids, and Blaine all made the cut; Red Wing didn't.)
Barry Tallackson(The NHL lists him as from North Dakota, but Minnesota listed him as from St. Paul)
Andrew Alberts(Boston College)
Casey Borer(St. Cloud)
Tim Conboy(St. Cloud)
Bret Hedican(St. Cloud)
Joe Jensen(St. Cloud)
Toby Petersen(Colorado College
Mark Parrish(St. Cloud)
Brandon Bochenski(North Dakota)
Zach Parise(North Dakota)
Jack Hillen(Colorado College)
David Backes(Minnesota State)
Ryan Carter(Minnesota State)
Matt Smaby(North Dakota)
Tom Preissing(Colorado College)(Born in Illinois, but grew up in Minnesota)
Tim Jackman(Minnesota State)(Born in North Dakota, but grew up in Minnesota)
It would make sense that the non-Minnesota alums list would be a little longer since there are so many players in the Twin Cities and Minnesota can only recruit so many, but it's kind of surprising that there is that big of a gap, considering Minnesota is starting with the better talent in nearly every case.