Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Blog: Gopher commit Casey Mittelstadt ranked fifth in NHL Central Scouting

Led by Eden Prairie native Casey Mittelstadt, five University of Minnesota commits were named to NHL Central Scouting's Mid-Term Rankings.

Ranked fifth among North American skaters, Mittelstadt is the top player with college hockey ties. The 6’0”, 201 lbs forward was leading the USHL in scoring as a 17 year-old (he has since turned 18) when he left Green Bay to come back to Eden Prairie and try to win a Class AA championship. He will return to Green Bay after Eden Prairie's season ends.

Barring injury, Mittelstadt is expected to be Minnesota's first player selected in the first round since Brady Skjei was chosen 28th overall by the New York Rangers in 2012.

NHL Central Scouting is a department within the NHL acting as a hypothetical 31st 32nd team. Other Minnesota commits in the mid-term rankings (all North American skaters) include US U-18 forward Scott Reedy (Prior Lake, MN) at #47, Fargo Force (USHL) defenseman Clayton Phillips (Edina, MN) at #72, US U-18 defenseman Nate Knoepke (Farmington, MN) at #106, and Chicago Steel (USHL) forward Brannon McManus (Newport Beach, CA) at #178.

All except Phillips, who is a junior in high school, have signed Letters of Intent and will be freshmen for 2017-18.

Edina's Sammy Walker was earlier named to NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list, but was left off the mid-term rankings.

Highly ranked Minnesotans include St. Cloud State freshman forward Ryan Poehling (#13), US U-18 forward Grant Mismash (#30 and a North Dakota commit) and Hermantown defenseman Dylan Samberg (#43 and a UMD commit).

Three current Big Ten freshmen - Michigan D Luke Martin (#67), Michigan State F Patrick Khodorenko (#127), and Penn State F Denis Smirnov (#131) are also ranked. After Mittelstadt, Michigan commit Josh Norris is the 46th ranked NA skater, just ahead of Reedy.

I'll have more on a couple of the draft-eligible Gopher commits early next week.

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