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2016 Draft Prospect Profile: Riley Tufte — High School Crush

When you think of high school, you tend to think of things like prom, getting your driver’s license, football games, etc. Not Riley Tufte. This high school senior thinks about goals — lots of goals, both in-the-net style and aspirational style. How about 47 goals and 31 assists? Impressive , right? Now consider that those numbers came in just 25 games, and you begin to understand the kind of talent we’re talking about. Here’s the tale of the tape:

Position: LW
Current Team: Blaine High School
Date of Birth: April 10, 1998
Place of Birth: Ham Lake, Minnesota, USA
Height: 6′ 5″
Weight: 190 lbs
Shoots: Left

Tufte serves as the Captain of the Blaine H.S. squad, after bypassing the chance to go to the USHL in order to finish out his high school career with his teammates. That’s some testament to his character. If that’s not enough, he does all of this while battling diabetes. Tufte is ranked #17 among North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings and #22 in the ISS Rankings. Chris Carroll, the Blaine High School coach, praises Tufte’s on-ice talent and off-ice leadership:

Aside from just his on-ice gifts, what he brings to our room, to our guys even off the ice is, believe it or not, probably more special than what he brings on the ice . . . and what he brings every night is an NHL talent.

Probably the biggest issue with Tufte is how his game will translate from high school to the pros. Even though Minnesota high school hockey is heady stuff, it is a large leap from their to the pros. He has some international experience, but was blanked over the course of four games in the Hlinka Memorial. He has committed to University of Minnesota-Duluth for next season, but a first round selection in the NHL draft can change those plans . . .quickly.

A Good Fit in Columbus?

Probably not. His eye-popping numbers come at the high school level, and he likely needs a good bit of seasoning. Given where the Blue Jackets’ draft choices fall, he would likely be gone by the time a second pick comes around, and even then, there are less risky choices available. However, if Jarmo lands his Flying FInn with the #3 overall pick, he might be in a position to take a chance on Tufte, depending upon the draft landscape at the moment.

Tufte in Action