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Detroit Lakes standout gets drafted by NHL's Thrashers

Tanner Lane got the call that most high school hockey players only dream of.

The Atlanta Thrashers drafted the Detroit Lakes, Minn., player in the sixth round with the 160th overall pick of the NHL's entry draft Saturday.

"You never really think it's going to happen, coming from a small town like this," the 17-year-old Lane said.

Lane, who spent Saturday at a wedding in Detroit Lakes, said he has an adviser in Boston who told him he was drafted by Atlanta.

"He called me and told me the news," said Lane, adding that he had talked to the Thrashers a few times prior to Saturday. "I turned on the NHL Network and saw it on TV."

News like that might have caught Lane off-guard, but Detroit Lakes head coach Chris Denardo wasn't surprised by it.

"We were thinking there was going to be a chance," Denardo said.

Lane finished his junior season last year tied for the Minnesota state lead in scoring with 90 points. His 49 goals were second only to the 53 tallied by St. Francis' Joey Benik.

Lane has some big decisions to make this summer.

He has not committed to a college yet, but he says he is visiting Nebraska-Omaha next weekend. He also confirmed that the University of Minnesota and St. Cloud State are interested in him, and he expects to choose one of them by the end of the summer.

He also hasn't decided whether to play his senior season at Detroit Lakes or join the United States Hockey League's Fargo Force. The Force drafted Lane earlier this year.

He said getting selected in the NHL draft has him leaning toward playing the Force moreso than he was before getting picked, but he has yet to make a decision.

If Lane did choose to join the Force for the upcoming season, he would play alongside another sixth-round draft pick in goalie Zane Gothberg.

Gothberg, who was a senior at Thief River Falls, Minn., last year, will be playing for the Force this season. He was drafted by the Boston Bruins with the 165th overall pick in the sixth round of the NHL draft, just five picks after Lane was selected.

The Force host a camp near the end of July. Lane might make a decision on his future after that.

"He's definitely an offensive gift," Denardo said. "He's 6-foot-3, but he's got wheels and hands to boot. ... He's got all of the tools that an NHL team would want."