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 2021 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 bring you our Mason McTavish Scouting Report.
With the OHL Season never getting started, top NHL Draft Prospect Mason McTavish went overseas to play in Switzerland. Playing for EHC Olten in the second Swiss division, McTavish put up nine goals and two assists for 11 points in 13 games. He also added two goals and five assists for seven points in four playoff games. McTavish was part of Canada’s entry at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. This article was written before the gold medal game, but McTavish had five goals and six assists for 11 points in six tournament games.
In 2019-20, McTavish played for the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. He was the fifth overall pick in the 2019 OHL Draft. McTavish scored 29 goals and 13 assists for 42 points in 57 games. It was enough to see him named to the OHL All-Rookie Team. McTavish also played for Team Canada White at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. He scored two goals and an assist for three points in six games. McTavish’s father, Dale McTavish, also played for the Peterborough Petes. He had nine NHL games with the Calgary Flames before a long career in Europe.
Mason McTavish Scouting Report
Centre/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born January 30th, 2003 — Pembroke, Ontario
Height 6’0″ — Weight 198 lbs [183 cm/90 kg]
McTavish has a good first step and accelerates quickly. This helps him to get to loose pucks as well as quickly change speeds to elude a defender. However, his skating stride is still a little short and this limits his top-end speed. McTavish will never be confused for a speedster but could improve his speed with a bit of work on his technique. He has a strong lower body. This allows McTavish to maintain good balance and be strong on the puck. He can fight through checks and get to the front of the net. He is also good along the boards. McTavish has good edgework and lateral agility. His quick lateral movements and changes in direction allow him to avoid defenders, both in the neutral zone and on the cycle.
McTavish is a pure goal scorer. He has an outstanding wrist shot. It is very accurate and has very good power. His quick hands allow him to vary his release and fool goaltenders. McTavish also has a very good one-timer, getting himself open on the power play and firing it on the net. Willing to play a gritty game, McTavish gets to the front of the net, causing havoc with screens. He can also score goals in tight, using his backhand to get the puck up and over the goaltender quickly. McTavish has the hand-eye coordination to get deflections, short one-timers, and pounce on rebounds. He is a smart player, always finding open ice without the puck and setting himself up to take a pass and get a scoring chance.
While he is known for his goal-scoring, McTavish can also be a playmaker. He has good vision and can pass the puck through tight spaces or saucer it over sticks and set up a teammate. McTavish controls the puck down low, as he is tough to stop in the cycle game. His puck control and puck protection allow him to maintain possession and wait for teammates to get open. He is also good on the forecheck and in battles along the boards. By forcing the opponent into mistakes, his team is able to regain possession and create offence.
McTavish also does a good job in his own end of the ice. He works hard on the backcheck and supports the defence down low. He combines his size and strength with a quick stick to help defend against the cycle game. McTavish forces attackers to the outside and is not afraid to throw a hit or battle for a loose puck. His stick is quick and he is good at closing down passing lanes. McTavish is also good in the face-off circle. When a turnover is created, McTavish uses his passing skills to start the transition game and get the offence started.
Projection and Comparison
McTavish has the ability to play both centre and wing. With his strong defensive game, and his ability to win faceoffs, he could be a very good two-way centre at the next level. However, he will need continued work on his skating to stay in the middle. However, he should still be an NHLer, even if he has to transition to the wing. McTavish should be back in the OHL next season as he needs a bit more development before he is ready to go to the NHL. It could even be a couple years and some time in the AHL. However, once he makes the league, he should be a reliable forward who can be used in all situations. McTavish’s game is reminiscent of Jeff Carter. However this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Mason McTavish that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next article in our draft series.
Mason McTavish Scouting Report: Main Photo:
OSHAWA, ON – DECEMBER 13: Mason Mctavish #23 of the Peterborough Petes celebrates after scoring in the first period during an OHL game against the Oshawa Generals at the Tribute Communities Centre on December 13, 2019, in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)