Freshmen Spotlight: Max Gardiner

A late addition to the 2010-2011 Gopher hockey roster, Max Gardiner looks poised to contribute.

Edina native, Max Gardiner is a one of the last players to make up the recruiting class for this season. With the departure of Josh Birkholz, Gardiner got the call to play for the Gophers right away, instead of spending a season in the USHL with the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Gardiner's transition to college hockey may have been easier with a season in the USHL under his belt, but he is still the kind of player who can make an impact on a college team.

Despite sitting out part of his senior season due to injury, the 6-foot-2, 187-pound Gardiner had a solid year with 22 goals and 32 assists in 23 games including the post season. Gardiner led an extremely talented Minnetonka team to a second place finish in the State Tournament.

Gardiner's play earned him a third round pick by the St. Louis Blues in the 2010 NHL Draft.

Gardiner is a player who will give the Gophers some much needed size at the forward position. Gardiner is a big kid who uses his size to muscle smaller players off the puck. Once he adds me muscle, he will be a force in front of the net.

The Gophers need a player to plant himself out front and put away garbage goals. Gardiner also has sufficient speed to make him competitive at the college level.

He is a smart player who will make the right pass or take his own shot if he needs to. Gardiner's lack of experience beyond high school may cause some bumps early in the season but he should develop into a special player as the year progresses.

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