I spent the past three days last week tripping across Minnesota to see as many of the top-ranked draft-eligible prospects in the state as was humanly possible. I saw two likely-to-certain first-rounders, Blaine center Nick Bjudstad and Minnesota State center Tyler Pitlick, and a couple of intriguing kids who'll go fairly early on draft Saturday, Minnetonka center Max Gardiner and Cretin-Derham defenceman Mark Alt. But before I get into the breakdown of the Minnesota prospects, I have to lay out a bit of groundwork. Please indulge me.
There's a language barrier in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Russia, it's political intrigue and boxloads of paperwork just to see the games. In the Dub, it's a daylong drive to an arena in a far-flung towns in a deep freeze.
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