RYDBERG SET TO JOIN MULLETS
Reconnects With High School Teammate in Juniors
By Brandon Laxson
The Minnesota Mullets are honored to announce that defenseman Mason Rydberg has signed for the 2022-23 season. Rydberg is the second of this recruiting class from the Pine City area.
Rydberg accompanies Jimmy Lindblom in joining the Mullets from Pine City Area High School after playing there together for three years. The two of them also follow in the footsteps of Jimmy’s older brother, Jake, who played for the same high school program, joined the Mullets, and is now seeing success at the collegiate level.
Needless to say, it is a hockey hotbed that Mullets’ Head Coach Chris Walby is privy to and which brought Rydberg to his attention.
“Mason is a player that I’ve been watching since June of last year. He’s been to our spring main camp the past two years and from a Pine City High School program that I am very familiar with.”
The Pine City pair both expressed excitement at the prospect of getting back on the ice together.
“I think it's awesome that me and Jimmy will get to keep playing together,” said the Mullets’ newest defender.
“We have been really good friends since a very young age and have grown up playing hockey with each other our entire lives. I think it's gonna be great to have an opportunity to keep playing together and to help each other get better and better at the sport every single day.”
Lindblom shared a similar sentiment. “We’ve played together our whole entire lives … We basically live together and I can’t wait to play with him again.”
The players aren’t the only ones eager to get back on the ice. Coach Walby is looking forward to getting Rydberg in the building.
“I’m very excited to finally get him here and get to work. My first impression of Mason was that this kid has potential to be a star in our league.
“He has great size and mobility, skates very well and has a solid skill set. His on-ice vision, decision making, and first pass are going to develop quickly here and I see Mason becoming the star I envisioned after we put the work in.”
And what kind of skill set will he develop, exactly? Rydberg believes it to be his offensive abilities. The 2004 defenseman has been a “shut-down” defender his entire career, but he believes he found some scoring capabilities to add to his toolbelt.
“I didn't see my offensive side really show until my senior year of high school and believe that with the Mullies I'll be able to improve that side of my game greatly.”
The numbers don’t lie. Through two high school seasons, Rydberg put up only six points (2-4=6) in 41 games until his final season with the Dragons when he managed 19 points (5-14=19) in 23 contests. He trailed then-and-now teammate Jimmy Lindblom by a mere two points and was third among team defensemen in scoring that season.
Rydberg is proud of the newfound success he had in his final season in green and white, but recognizes the coming challenge of playing juniors. He looks to the forthcoming challenge with optimism.
“I am really looking forward to stepping my game up to the next level. It's not high school anymore and it will only get tougher and tougher from here on out so I want to improve in every aspect of the game that I possibly can.”
Coach shares in the optimism of the young blueliner. “I’m confident Mason is going to make an immediate impact here for us,” he said. “He’s going to log major minutes for a rookie in our league, but I anticipate he’ll be more than ready to handle that type of role.”