As the Stanley Cup Finals begin, the NHL Draft in quickly approaching. On June 23rd in Chicago, many kids from the State of Hockey will hope and wait for their names to be called. It is a moment in which a kids dream becomes a reality. I am going to give you a closer look at Minnesota’s top-5 prospects for the 2017 draft according to the final NHL.com Prospect Rankings of North American skaters and goalies.
Casey Mittelstadt – Hometown: Eden Prairie – Current Team: Green Bay (USHL)/Eden Praire (HS) – Final Ranking: 3rd
If you live in Minnesota, you have heard the name, Casey Mittelstadt. The electrifying Mittelstadt is the only player on my list to play in the Minnesota State high school league this season, where he dominated. He had 64 points in 25 games for the Eden Prairie Eagles. Not to mention he played before and after the high school season with the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL where led the league in points per game. Mittelstadt could go as high as 3rd in the upcoming draft and the team that takes him will love his complete game his bring to the ice. He is a player with great speed, high-skill, and tremendous hockey sense. Next year, Mittelstadt will be heading to the University of Minnesota, where Minnesota hockey fans can continue to watch his game grow before he makes the jump to the NHL.
Ryan Poehling – Hometown: Lakeville – Current Team: St. Cloud State (NCAA) – Final Ranking: 13th
Ryan Poehling was a part of the Lakeville North high school team that went a perfect 31-0 and captured the Minnesota State Title in 2015. Although Mittelstadt and Poehling are both likely to be first-rounders in the upcoming draft, they took different routes getting to this point. This season, Poehling decided to graduate high school early and join his brothers at St. Cloud State (Mittelstadt had the option to do this too). In his freshman year at SCSU, he tallied 13 points in 35 games for the Huskies. You will notice when you watch Ryan that he has acceleration that is impressive and vision/creativity to become a solid passer in the NHL. He is also a player that will play well in the defensive zone and his not afraid to kill penalties. Expect for Poehling to spend a couple more years at SCSU and I expect his point totals to climb year by year.
Grant Mismash – Hometown: Edina – Current Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) – Final Ranking: 24th
Grant Mismash is a player that uses his big body and power to control the game. Mismash laced it up for USA U-18 team and had a great season, which saw him rise on a lot of draft boards. He played in 98 games with Team USA and recorded 93 points including 37 goals. Mismash is a perfect example of a player that loves to go to the dirty areas of the ice to score goals and he uses his size well to do it. We could see Mismash being a 2nd or 3rd rounder come June 23. Next year he will be heading to the University of North Dakota where he fit right in with the style of game that head coach Brad Berry likes to play.
Scott Reedy – Hometown: Prior Lake – Current Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) – Final Ranking: 40th
Scott Reedy was teammates with Grant Mismash for the USA U-18. Like his team, Reedy has an extremely solid frame listed at 6’2” 205. Reedy who is originally from Prior Lake, played at Shattuck St. Mary’s before heading to the USA Nation Development Program. That is where we first saw his offensive skill tallying 125 points in 65 games in his bantam season. Reedy has continued to use his strong playmaking ability at Team USA putting up 58 points in 89 games. Reedy will likely be a safe pick late in the second round or early in the third. Next year, he will be teammates with Mittelstadt at the University of Minnesota.
Jake Oettinger – Hometown: Lakeville – Current Team: Boston University (NCAA) – Final Ranking: 1st (amongst North American goalies)
A former Lakeville North Cougar, Jake Oettinger was one of the youngest players to play college hockey this season but he looked like an experienced veteran in net for Boston University. His play at BU has put him at the top of the final draft ranking for North American goalies. Oettinger’s impressive year included a 21-11-3 record, 2.11 goals against average, and .927 save percentage. He was also apart on the USA world junior team that won gold this year. Oettinger has a stereotypical NHL built with strong mobility. With his stellar year, Oettinger is projected to go as high as late in the first round but in my opinion, he is likely to come off the board sometime in the second round.
Mikey Anderson – Hometown: Roseville – Current Team: Waterloo (USHL) – Final Ranking: 51st
Dylan Samberg – Hometown: Hermantown – Current Team: Hermantown (HS) – Final Ranking: 67th
Nate Knoepke – Hometown: Farmington – Current Team: USA U-18 (NTDP) – Final Ranking: 79th
Robbie Stucker – Hometown: St. Paul – Current Team: St. Thomas Academy (HS) – Final Ranking: 88th
Isaac Johnson – Hometown: Andover – Current Team: Des Moines (USHL) – Final Ranking: 97th
If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out the 3-part series of 10 players in each class to watch in the MSHSL next year: