See, McKenzie's rankings are not just his. They are based off discussions with a number of NHL scouts and paint a picture of where players are on various teams' draft boards.
In an unpredictable draft year like this one, it's no easy task.
Two Gopher commits - Casey Mittelstadt and Scott Reedy - are among the 80 players in Tuesday's mid-season rankings
Only Minnesota and Boston University (Lakeville native Jake Oettinger and Shane Bowers) has two commits in the top 50. McKenzie has Mittelstadt, a forward from Eden Prairie, slated fifth overall while Reedy is ranked #50.
Mittelstadt is also both the highest-ranked player with collegiate ties and highest American.
From McKenzie's article:
Minnesota high schooler Casey Mittelstadt of Eden Prairie – the highest-ranked American started the season with Green Bay of the USHL and will return there once the high-school season is over – is No. 5. The offensive centre's range on balloting was No. 4 at the high end and No. 13 at the low end.
We don't keep track of such things, but it's quite likely this is the first time this has ever happened: Every prospect ranked from No. 3 to No. 13 on the TSN Mid-Season Draft Rankings list got one or more votes in the top five and one or more votes at No. 12 or lower.
Reedy, a native of Prior Lake, has 13 goals in 39 games for the United States U-18 team.
Both players have signed National Letters of Intent and are expected to be on campus for the 2017-18 season.
Besides Oettinger, currently a freshman at BU, at 25th, St. Cloud State freshman forward Ryan Poehling (also a Lakeville native) is ranked 17th by McKenzie. Those two and Mittelstadt are the only three Minnesota natives among the top 31. (Still weird to type 31 with Las Vegas now joining the fray.)
The University of Minnesota has not had a player chosen in the first round since Brady Skjei went 28th overall to the New York Rangers in 2012. Three other Minnesota commits - Nate Knoepke, Brannon McManus, and Clayton Phillips - were named to NHL Central Scouting's mid-term rankings along with Mittelstadt and Reedy earlier this month.