Jump to content
Hockey Wilderness
  • Rieger Lorenz Is Minnesota's Sleeper Prospect

    Image courtesy of Okotoks Oilers YouTube screenshot
    Kalisha Turnipseed

    The Minnesota Wild drafted Rieger Lorenz 56th overall in 2022. He scored 85 points (38 goals and 47 assists) in 60 games playing with the AJHL’s Okotoks Oilers the year before the Wild took him. Last year, Lorenz had 9 points (2 goals and 7 assists) as a freshman at the University of Denver. That was a transition year for him, and Dobber Prospects gave him a 15-point ceiling, which is a bottom-six forward. However, he has 28 points (15 goals and 13 assists) in 42 games as a sophomore this season, increasing his ceiling to 40 points, a hair below second-line potential. 

    Lorenz reminds me of four Wild prospects: Matt Boldy, Joel Eriksson Ek, Brandon Duhaime, and Jordan Greenway.

    Lorenz is often physical on the forecheck with his speed and knows how to win puck battles in the corners. He can also be a menace around the net. Like Eriksson Ek and Duhaime, Lorenz plays an energetic game and can be a pest. Lorenz has a good stick to break up plays, especially against defenders high up in the zone. He’s often in the right place at the right time and quickly transitions from defense to offense. Lorenz’s stick work resembles Eriksson Ek, Boldy, and Greenway’s

    Lorenz can transition the puck up the ice with speed to either dump it in to start a forecheck or skate the puck in the offensive zone and make plays. He can also cycle the puck along the boards. Lorenz plays on the wing and resembles Boldy in the way he’s ready to get the puck and stake up the ice. 

    He has a well-rounded game, but Lorenz needs to learn to utilize his size more, especially in the defensive zone. He can rely on his stick a lot instead of playing the body, which led to many of the Bandits’ goals with a minus-6. Lorenz sometimes cheats on defense. He’s an offensive-minded forward who wants to transition on offense but needs to prioritize defense to take his game to the next level. Much of the goals he allowed resulted from his aggressiveness on offense and lack of physicality. 

    Lorenz thrives on the forecheck, cycles, and is a pest around the net. He loves to help transition the puck up the ice, but he isn’t the best passer or playmaker on his line once he gets into the offensive zone. Lorenz can break up many plays with his stick. However, he doesn’t always use his body in his own end, allowing opponents to score against him. He’s a versatile player who can play center but is better off at wing. 

    Does Lorenz have more to offer? Can he be more well-rounded than Ryan Donato, who the Boston Bruins selected 56th overall in 2014 and traded to the Wild in 2019? His performance at Denver suggests that Lorenz is capable of having a breakthrough. However, I don't see anything higher than a second-line role if he taps into another level of scoring. Lorenz doesn't project to have the offensive consistency to be a game-breaker. Can he improve his versatility to be a more disciplined Ryan Hartman

    Hartman has filled many roles to be an effective depth player. However, his lack of discipline hurts the team’s ability to win consistently. Lorenz is playing third-line minutes for the Pioneers right now. That’s how Eriksson Ek found early success in his career. Lorenz has been a consistent scorer in that role, suggesting he has more to offer. 

    Lorenz and the Pioneers are in the Frozen Four, and he desperately wants to win an NCAA championship. He knows he isn’t going to be a franchise star, but he wants to make an impact to help his team win in many ways. If he can become a player who can contribute on the penalty kill and score a game-winning goal, then this is a sustainable role he can develop into to eventually make a difference for the Wild. 

    It’s just a matter of time when he’s done in the NCAA. He should return for his junior year, but if Lorenz has a successful junior year, he could be ready to sign an Entry-Level Contract (ELC) to play for the Iowa Wild (AHL). Because of Minnesota’s veteran contracts, Lorenz must wait for his opportunity. Still, he looks to be a keeper and belongs on a high-end roster like Riley Heidt, Liam Ohgren, Marat Khusnutdinov, Carson Lambos, Jesper Wallstedt, and Danila Yurov.

    Think you could write a story like this? Hockey Wilderness wants you to develop your voice, find an audience, and we'll pay you to do it. Just fill out this form.

    • Like 4

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Featured Comments

    I've got to disagree, I simply didn't see this in the game I watched from the tournament. Denver had 9 guys who had over 30 points, Lorenz is below that at 28. 

    From the eye test, I saw a guy who could peak at a 3rd line role. He seemed to be structurally sound, but played with one hand on the stick a lot. I thought his positioning was good, and for a team that was getting the snot knocked out of them physically, Lorenz wasn't. 

    I believe he's still got a lot more growing to do, but if he jumps like he did this season, perhaps we've got something. It wouldn't surprise me if he was a staple in Iowa, or if he made the big club. If I were him (broken record), I'd pay attention to bulking up a little and coming in around 210 next season. Lorenz is a wing, not a center. 

    If I were making a comparison, I'd put him in the Mikey Milne category, or the Duhaime category. His on ice battle needs to get more tenacious, but, he played the way he was coached to play. Denver didn't look like an overly physical team, and if he's taking coaching really well like it appears, perhaps we can adjust his game like finishing checks. If he's moving on to Iowa, coming in at 210 will grab everyone's attention.

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    23 hours ago, mnfaninnc said:

    It wouldn't surprise me if he was a staple in Iowa, or if he made the big club. If I were him (broken record), I'd pay attention to bulking up a little and coming in around 210 next season.

    If the University of Denver site is accurate, 210 should be attainable. They list him at 205. He was 184 in his draft year, so it seems he has already bulked up quite a bit. College height/weight isn't always the most accurate, and I see they list all of their players in 5 lbs increments, so I'm certain they aren't exact, but one would think he's at least around 200 lbs at the moment.

    • Like 2
    • Thanks 1
    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...