This past season,forward Rhett Gardner came to UND as an unknown for many UND fans. By the end of the season,everyone knew who he is. He is a strong relentless forward that loves to screen goalies in front of the net and win key puck battles in the corners. Gardner’s physical game helped shut down the CCM line in the NCAA Tournament against Michigan. The forward is even draft eligible this season. If picked he will be picked in the sixth or seventh round. The forward showed something special towards year’s end and dramatically improved his all around game.The Canadian forward scored 18 points last season in 41 games.
Next season, look for Gardner’s ice time to increase and for his point totals to rise. Gardner has a propensity to take penalties with 52 penalty minutes in 41 games played. If Rhett can take less than one penalty minute per game he can dramatically improve his standing with the NHL. We expect him to be drafted in the seventh round this year by a team willing to take a chance on a strong forward with a good net front presence. If Gardner can improve his discipline just a bit, regardless of which team if any selects him, he will be in a strong position to play in the NHL in the next five years.
If Rhett had an identical season to this one minus the 52 penalty minutes this grade would be a nine. We think that if he takes less penalties he will better provide another strong Austin Poganski-like net front presence that will see him generate a lot more goals from around the blue paint.