This section is for lower level competition in North America. Outside of the Canadian Major Junior and USHL in America.
Casey Mittelstadt (6 – 15)
DOB: DOB: 1998-11-22 / POS: C-LW / H: 6’1 / SH: L
Has a chance to be the highest drafted high school pick in NHL since Blake Wheeler. Possibility he goes in top 5. The Hockey Writers compared him to Tyler Seguin. Skating and offensive ability are his strengths.
Elite Prospects: An electric offensive presence on the ice, Casey Mittelstadt brings the complete package of speed, skill, and hockey sense. He competes hard with every shift, and has the dynamic puck skills to keep up with his creativity, which is a hallmark of his game. His awareness is all-encompassing, and he never puts his teammates in positions where their time and space will be bottlenecked. Bigger players don’t phase him, as he thinks the game analytically and will find chinks in the opposition’s armor on the fly. As a result, Mittelstadt is often seen forcing more complicated plays that the opposition won’t be able to read in time. On top of all this, he can play a north-south game, and his transition game is already at an elite level. He’s a complete player with the predatory instincts necessary to succeed as a consistent and, perhaps, dominant point producer at the next level.
Cale Makar (6 – 15)
POS: D / DOB: 1998-10-30 / H: 5’11 / SH: R
Puckmoving defenseman. Been compared to Erik Karlsson. The major questions are going to be size and defense. He might be selected inside the top 5. Will be the highest drafted player drafted out of the AJHL.
Recrutes.ca: Terrific mobility and puck handling skills make NHL teams more likely to overlook size and defensive questions and make him a candidate to go as high as the top thee. Has the dynamic skill to run an NHL power play and produce like a top-two defenceman at that level. Tore up the AJHL this season as the only defenceman anywhere near the top ten in scoring. He’s a sure bet to be the highest drafted player in AJHL history.
2nd & 3rd Rounders
Ian Mitchell (D): DOB: 1999-01-18 / H: 5’10 / SH: R
Mobile, puck-moving defenseman. He’s a smart player and skating is high end. Size and level of competition will be a concern. Played well at the Ivan Hlinka and will be going to Denver to play college hockey next year. Likely a ceiling of a second pairing offensive defenseman similar to Tyson Barrie.
Riley Tufte and Mitchell Mattson will be selected in the NHL draft. Both likely within the first 60 picks.
Potential power forwards; Armstrong, Graham, Printz & MacNab
Two smaller skill players: Harper & O’Neil
I believe based on his size and skill Riley Tufte will be drafted in the first round. He’s not a typical power forward in the Milan Lucic mold. His scouting report reads like Rick Nash, his size, skating, stickhandling, acceleration make him a dynamic prospect. There is going to be worries about the quality of competition he didn’t play in the USHL and when he did he didn’t dominate only 14 points in 27 games, but 10 of those points were goals. Tufe just turned 18, he is offensively ahead of Kreider, Bjudstad & Hayes during their draft season. Tufte, like those propsects, will need years of development time and he’s a risk/reward prospect but the reward could be elite.
NHL.com: “I think when you have a player that big that has the mobility and the stick skills that Riley has, it makes him a tough combination to hold back and I think that will happen at every level as he adjusts to the level of play; he has that upside,” NHL Central Scouting’s David Gregory said. “He gets his shot off so quickly, he can move in traffic and get clear to make a pass or shoot the puck, and those are things that when a guy has the size that he does it’s a great combination.”
I am kind of on the fence about Mattson. He’s a big center but the numbers aren’t elite. He is projected to go in the second round right now. Button has him as a late first round pick and central scouting has him project as a late 3rd rounder. NHL Draft Site: ‘Big and really can skate well, and advances the puck well. Displays a strong stride, nice passing skills, and is committed to playing a 200 foot game. Needs to build his underdeveloped frame. Looks like he might project as the big center teams look for.’ Will he bring enough offense? Or is he more likely to be a 3rd line center?
The Rest (are all likely late round picks)
Jamie Armstrong is a grinder good work ethic and likely to project to be a bottom six. His father is part of the Blues organization. Jeff Cox wrote up an excellent scouting report.
Michael Graham late birthday, not a great skater but he’s got good size, will go in the tough areas and can score.
Jackson MacNab honestly I could not find anything out about this guy, but a 6’5 forward that can score at a decent enough rate, rated 169 by Central Scouting and a July birthday would be on my radar.
Patrick Harper regarded as an “elite playmaker” with a high hockey IQ. He’s going to an excellent hockey program at Boston U and that just graduated a smaller skill late round pick Danny O’Regan. The following BU blog Terrierhockey.blogspot.ca has an excellent write-up about Patrick.
Kevin O’Neil rated 122nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. He put up good numbers. Jeff Cox from SBnation had this to say last season, ‘his skating won’t blow anyone away, but he’s not a bad skater, and he has good hands and footwork.’
Scott Perunovich is a small defenseman, if he was 2 inches taller he would be a top 100 pick. Over the Boards said, “One of the best skating defensemen out of the Minnesota 98’s, sees the ice well, thinks it quick and possesses terrific speed.” Drawn comparison to Nick Leddy.
Kenny Johnson is the brother of Columbus defenseman Jack Johnson. Doesn’t have the skill-set his brother has. Known as a physical defender with a less offensive upside.
Carter Long is a 6’4, right-hand shot defenseman with decent offense that’s committed to U of Vermont next year. That’s about all I was able to find on the big guy.