- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
Former Chaska standout defenseman Sam Rinzel is showing why the Chicago Blackhawks made him a first-round NHL draft choice.
"I'm just figuring out how to use my skating, my size and my tools to put my strengths to use," Rinzel said. "And then obviously, you work on your weaknesses. My defensive game is something that has really grown."
Rinzel improved his defensive skills in late December and early January in the World Junior Championship, playing a shutdown role as Team USA went undefeated on the way to winning the gold medal against the best under-20 players in the world.
"Being able to home in on the defense there and really stick to and find that niche was really big for me and my development," said Rinzel, who had one assist and a plus-3 rating in the tournament.
Motzko believes Rinzel returned from Gothenburg, Sweden, to the Gophers with something just as valuable as the gold medal.
"There's no question he came back with confidence," Motzko said. "Just to be on that stage with that group of players, everything there was a positive for him."