Casey Mittelstadt keeps moving up Central Scouting's 2017 NHL Draft board.
Mittelstadt is the third-highest North American skater in the final rankings released Tuesday by NHL Central Scouting. He moves up two spots from the mid-term rankings released in January. Mittelstadt earlier began the year with an "A" rating as a player expected to go in the first round.
Sitting behind two CHL forwards (Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier) who are the popular picks to go #1 overall, the Eden Prairie, MN native is both the highest ranked American and player with college ties.
Mittelstadt, a 6'1", 201 lbs center, split his season between high school, where he won the 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey, and Green Bay (USHL). In 8 games back with the Gamblers after Eden Prairie fell short of the Class AA championship, Mittelstadt had 9 points (5G-4A). He led the league in points before coming back to high school.
No Minnesota commit has been ranked as high as Mittelstadt since Erik Johnson was the #1 North American skater in 2006 (then-freshman Phil Kessel was fifth).
The 2017 NHL Draft is scheduled for June 23-24 in Chicago. Brady Skjei in 2012 was the last Gopher to be drafted in the first round of the NHL Draft.
Other Minnesota commits in Central Scouting's Final Rankings (all rankings are North American skaters)
-40: Scott Reedy, F, US U-18 (Prior Lake, MN)
-79: Nate Knoepke, D, US U-18 (Farmington, MN
-99: Clayton Phillips, D, Fargo (USHL) (Edina, MN)
-131: Sam Huff, F, Maple Grove (MN-HS) (Maple Grove, MN)
-191: Brannon McManus, F, Chicago (USHL) (Newport Beach, CA)
All except Phillips and Huff are expected to be on campus next fall.
Both US players, Reedy and Knoepke, moved up from their mid-term rankings. Reedy was 47th in January while Knoepke jumped up nearly 30 spots, from 106th.
Phillips and McManus both dropped despite playing in the USHL Top Prospects Showcase. Phillips, a HS junior and one of the youngest players eligible for the draft, went from 72nd to 99th. McManus fell from 178th to 191st.
Huff, who committed to Minnesota in March, was not ranked in the mid-term rankings by Central Scouting.
Sammy Walker (Edina) remains off the list after being a "C" ranked player in the preliminary before dropping off the mid-term rankings.
Other prominent players with Minnesota ties include Jake Oettinger (Boston University) as the top North American goalie, Ryan Poehling (St. Cloud State) at 13 among North American skaters, and Grant Mismash (US U-18/North Dakota commit) at 24.
Central Scouting exists as a hypothetical 32nd team and how that team would have its board if the NHL Draft was held today. Other teams may, and do, see things differently.