#NHLDraft2013: Our Friendly Neighbors...Wisconsin and North Dakota

We're pretty prideful about our homegrown products- i.e. "Bloomington Native Tom Gilbert"- so every year round this time the natives set their focus on the locals. Whether it be the high schoolers, the kids in junior (NAHL, USHL, and yes, WHL), or the collegians, we want to nod in approval after looking at the tag in the shirt and seeing that yes, "This Product Was Made In Minnesota."

This year though, there are some pretty good players coming out of some neighboring states.

Ian McCoshen
McCoshen's got a pretty decorated resume; international experience, three years in the USHL, and the tangibles- his size, shot, and skating make him a pretty high profile draft-eligible. The Hudson native played his bantam year with Shattuck St. Marys in Faribault. There is some pretty divergent opinions on who the Boston College commit is as a player and who he can be though; some see a legitimate Top-4 defender who routinely makes the safe play while the other camp worries about his poise and his ability to do more than just make a safe play, like routinely chipping the puck off of the glass.

Will Butcher
The pride of Sun Prairie, Butcher has been on of the offensive catalysts for the USNTDP program the last two years. The 5'10" defender participated on the gold medal winning 2012 U18 team as a 17 year old, but hasn't quite impressed this year like many thought he would. He is a Denver University commit, but will keep his CHL options open; the Windsor Spitfires are said to be interested in acquiring his services.

North Dakota:

Keaton Thompson
The Devils Lake native left home to play for the National Team program two years ago, and has emerged as one of their key defensemen. The North Dakota commit has tremendous poise and skating ability, and frankly was one my favorite prospects I viewed all year. There will be more on Thompson as Draft coverage continues on FRB. Thompson, by the way, is the second youngest draft eligible this year, with a 9/14/1995 birthdate; He's one day older than Edina's Connor Hurley.

Alec Rauhauser
Having recently finished his career at Bismarck Century High, Rauhauser had competed in the Fall Elite League the last few years for Team Great Plains (or whatever commercial name it is now, like Team Rudy Luther Bitchin Auto Wholesale Lot), but became a darling of NHL Central Scouting after this goal made him a viral sensation:

He tendered with NAHL Bismarck, but was taken in the USHL Entry Draft by Des Moines. There were far more scouts at the Spring NIT tournament than last year, presumably to watch him play for Team North Dakota (no commercial affiliation as of yet), and I've been told that he became a priority viewing for NHL teams late in the season. He's got potential, but looks to be a longer term project.

Luke Johnson
Set to follow in the family footsteps of donning the North Dakota Fighting Sioux To be named later sweater, Lincoln Stars forward Luke Johnson has a decent season, but overall it could be considered disappointing considering the weighty expectations he had coming in this year; he was point-per-game as a 16 year old, and Central Scouting gave him an A rating; there's no question about the offensive tools he possesses, it all comes down to when he feels like using them to their full extent. I've seen him be brilliant when he's engaged, and other times he looks to be going through the motions. The Grand Forks native should be a mid-round pick; he isn't the only draft eligible who has been knocked for inconsistency.

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