Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Casey Mittelstadt.
Casey Mittelstadt spent most of the 2015-16 season playing high school hockey. However, he impressed enough to get a spot on the American team for the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Tournament. A strong performance, seven points in four games, would lead to him being invited to join the US NTDP late in the season. He scored a point per game. Mittelstadt was also invited to the IIHF U18 World Championships. He had another impressive tournament, with nine points in seven games.
This year, Mittelstadt is again playing for his high school team, as well as for for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. In the USHL he has put up 12 goals and 29 points in 22 games in a season broken up into two segments by his high school commitments. He is committed to the University of Minnesota in 2017. He is the recipient of this year’s Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award, given annually to the top high school player in the state. He was also the MVP of September’s USA Hockey All-American Top Prospects Game.
Casey Mittelstadt Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #4
Center — shoots Left
Born Nov 22 1998 — Eden Prairie, MN
Height 6’1″ — Weight 201 lbs [185 cm / 91 kg]
Mittelstadt is an outstanding skater. He has excellent top end speed, as well as the quick first step, and strong acceleration to take advantage of it. This strong skating allows Mittelstadt to get to loose pucks, and to play a strong two-way game. He has excellent agility and edgework, along with the the ability to make cuts on a dime. His ability to quickly change speeds is another weapon that he uses to beat defenders. Mittelstadt has decent balance on his feet. He could stand to add strength to his lower body, which would allow him to win board battles and to fight through checks at higher levels.
Mittelstadt has excellent puck handling ability. He can beat defencemen one-on-one with a number of moves, and has the soft hands to stick handle in a phone both. He combines this with his skating ability to really create chances both on the rush or working down low. Mittelstadt is an excellent play maker who creates passing lanes with his quick puck movement, stops and starts, and deceptive moves. He only needs a small opening and can make difficult passes through tight spaces, or the tough saucer pass. Add to this excellent hockey sense, and the intelligence to make smart plays with the puck, and Mittelstadt makes his linemates better.
He can also be a goal score. Mittelstadt has a varied arsenal of shots. His wrist and snap shots both feature good power, accuracy, and a lightning quick release. He can score from further out with a good slapshot. Mittelstadt also has the soft hands to finish plays in close to the net, including rebounds and deflections.
Mittelstadt’s defensive game has been good. He shows strong work ethic and a commitment to backchecking and being involved in supporting the defence down low. He has also shown a willingness to block shots, though could improve his timing and technique. Mittlestadt will also need to get physically stronger in order to help defend against the cycle game and support the defence. He does have good positioning and anticipation, and can use his stick to create turnovers and start the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Mittelstadt has the potential to be a top line centre in the NHL. He has some areas to work on but he has the skillset to lead a team, if he develops properly. There are some questions, generally about the level of competition he has faced to this point in his career, and how his game will translate at the next level. In terms of a comparison, he plays a similar style to Tyler Seguin. This is a stylistic comparison only though, and not an indication of talent level.
The following is a compilation of highlights, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.