Casey Mittelstadt is no physical specimen, as you’ll see below, but boy can he do some incredible things while wearing a pair of skates. A true speedster with great vision and playmaking ability, the forward could become the highest-drafted player ever to emerge from the Minnesota high school system.
“Mittelstadt is one of these anomalies that come along every few years [from high school hockey]. We’ve watched him play against his peers in international tournaments and have seen him play in the USHL and at various camps, and he always makes a difference,” is director NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr’s take. “It doesn’t really matter where he plays because you get the same game from him no matter the environment.”
Here is some more on Mittelstadt.
Age on June 23: 18
Current Team: Green Bay Gamblers, USHL
Weight: 200 pounds
From: Eden Prairie, Minnesota
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America): 3
Jeff Marek’s Take: “Has put up big points everywhere he’s played. Great separation speed.”
He was ‘Minnesota Mr. Hockey’ in 2017
After registering 64 points in 25 games as captain of the Eden Prairie High School varsity team, the senior earned the Minnesota Mr. Hockey award as top high school player in the state. Current NHLers Ryan McDonagh, Nick Bjugstad, Nick Leddy (also attended Eden Prairie) and Paul Martin are among the 33 players to have won the award since 1985.
Mittelstadt finished his high school career with 65 goals, 105 assists for 170 points and just 28 penalty minutes in 75 games over three seasons with Eden Prairie. He is his school’s all-time leader in goals and assists and during his senior year he played like a man among boys.
Mittelstadt began the 2016-17 campaign playing for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL, but left mid-season to go back to Eden Prairie to attempt to win a state title.
“It’s pretty hard to explain to someone who’s not from Minnesota,” Mittelstadt said via Buffalo Hockey Beat. “But I think the main reasons are I’ve had the same teammates since I was four or five years old. We’ve all been playing together for a long time. It was a last great year with all my buddies.”
He returned to the Gamblers following the high school season and he finished with 30 points in 24 games.
Mittelstadt will be sticking close to home next season after committing to play for the Gophers at the University of Minnesota.
He couldn’t do a pull-up
Middlestadt received some negative press during the Scouting Combine after failing to complete a single pull-up and was only able to do one 160-pound bench press rep.
Sam Bennett, a fourth-overall pick of the Flames in 2014, notably failed to complete a pull-up during his combine. Bennett has turned into a fine NHLer, despite coming off a down year in Calgary, and Middlestadt knows upper-body strength doesn’t directly translate to on-ice performance.
“I try to work on being a hockey player. I don’t try to work on my bench press or pull-ups,” Mittelstadt told Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “I want to be a hockey player and that’s what I train to do…I think it’s good to be strong, and I think there are things I can get stronger at and work on, but I don’t think being able to do a pull-up is going to make me be able to handle the puck better or be a better shooter.”
He’s a proud Minnesota boy and loves a nice frozen pond
Mittelstadt is from Minnesota don’t cha know, and if you hadn’t noticed yet you can really see how proud he is of where he’s from in this interview.
He could be a USA Hockey staple for years to come
If his performance at the 2016 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship and the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament are any indication, Middlestadt raises his game when he dons a Team USA uniform. He led that Hlinka tourney in scoring with seven points in four games and had nine points in seven games en route to a bronze medal at the 2016 U18s.