Finalists revealed for state's top senior defenseman honor

Owen Buesgens helped Chanhassen secure its first section championship trophy, and he's in line to earn more hardware this season.

The St. Thomas commit is one of six finalists for the 2024 Reed Larson Award, which is given to the state's top senior defenseman.

The other finalists are Barrett Dexheimer (Edina), Ryan Lund (Warroad), Hawke Huff (Wayzata), Mason Stenger (Benilde-St. Margaret's) and John Stout (Minnetonka).

Buesgens leads all finalists with 41 points and his 36 assists are a team best. He helped the Storm reach their first state tournament after upsetting undefeated and No. 1-ranked Minnetonka in the Class 2A, Section 2 championship.

Dexheimer scored a shorthanded goal to propel Edina past Wayzata in the Class 2A, Section 6 championship. The Massachusetts commit has the second-most assists (24) this season for the Hornets.

Lund has more goals (18) than any of the finalists, and he has 40 points — totals that were key in helping Warroad go 20-5 overall.

All three are playing in this week's boys hockey state tournaments.

At 6-3, Huff anchored Wayzata's blue line. The St. Cloud State commit recorded 20 assists and 23 points on the season.

Stenger (6-1, 209 pounds) was a defensive stalwart for Benilde-St. Margaret's while also amassing nine goals and 21 assists (30 points).

A member of last season's Class 2A champion Minnetonka, Stout continued powering the Skippers this season. The 6-2, 187-pound Minnesota Duluth commit help Minnetonka extend its undefeated streak to 47 games, a run that ended in the Section 2 championship game.

The Reed Larson award-winner is selected by a panel of high school coaches, Division I coaches and junior league scouts and coaches. The winner will be announced March 9 in St. Paul.

Let's Play Hockey created the award in 2013 to honor Reed Larson, a Minneapolis native who was a defenseman for Minneapolis Roosevelt High School and the Gophers. He played in 904 regular-season NHL games and was a captain for the Detroit Red Wings. He was inducted to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame following a career with 685 points.

Others considered for the award were Will Esterbrooks (Hermantown), Brody Dietz (St. Thomas Academy), Joey Mugaas (Orono), Erik Charhcenko (Holy Family), Thomas Quast (Totino-Grace), Dylan Vornwald (Eden Prairie), Roan Bresnehan (Coon Rapids), Cooper Anderson (Elk River/Zimmerman), Ty Frank (Northfield), Austin Peterson (Centennial), Alex Ballard (Roseau), Lance Murray (Eagan), Colton Holzer (La Crescent), Grif Lind (Buffalo), Talan Plante (Marshall) and Kaleb Breuer (Morris/Benson).

Previous winners

Season: Winner, School

2022-23: Chase Cheslock, Rogers

2021-22: Leo Gruba, Hill-Murray

2020-21: Jack Peart, Grand Rapids

2019-2020: Wyatt Kaiser, Andover

2018-19: Mike Koster, Chaska

2017-18: Luke LaMaster, Duluth East

2016-17: Dylan Samberg, Hermantown

2015-16: Wyatt Aamodt, Hermantown

2014-15: Jacob Olson, Hill-Murray

2013-14: Luc Snuggerud, Eden Prairie

2012-13: Jake Bischoff, Grand Rapids