Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie’s star forward and the Gophers' prized recruit, is rated among the top five North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting’s midterm rankings of players eligible for the 2017 draft.
A dozen Minnesota high school standouts, several Gophers recruits, and two St. Cloud State freshmen were recognized in the rankings released Wednesday.
Mittelstadt is ranked No. 5 overall and is the top-rated player from Minnesota and outside of the Canadian Hockey League. St. Cloud State’s Ryan Poehling is ranked No. 14 and Edina native Grant Mismash is No. 30.
Mittelstadt, the 6-1, 201-pound lefthanded shooting forward, spent the fall playing in the USHL and scored eight goals, 13 assists in 16 games with the Green Bay Gamblers. He returned to Eden Prairie this winter for his senior season of high school hockey.
The Gophers wanted Mittelstadt to enroll early and begin his college career as a 17-year-old, but his desire to win a high school state championship fueled his decision to return to Eden Prairie. The Eagles lost last year’s 2A state championship game to Wayzata.
Poehling, the 6-2, 183-pound lefthanded forward, has three goals and four assists through 21 games in his first season at St. Cloud State. Mismash, the 6-foot, 183-pound lefthanded forward, has 13 goals and 13 assists in 37 games with the U.S. U-18 National Developmental Team. The Shattuck St. Mary’s alum is committed to North Dakota.
Hermantown’s Dylan Samberg is Minnesota’s second-highest rated prep standout on the list. The 6-3, 190-pound lefthanded defenseman helped lead Hermantown to a Class 1A title last season with five goals, 13 assists. The Minnesota Duluth recruit has six goals and eight assists through 14 high school games this season.
Scott Reedy, the Gophers recruit and Shattuck-St. Mary’s alum from Prior Lake, is ranked No. 47. The righthanded forward has 11 goals and 13 assists this season in 35 games with the U.S. U-18 team.
Former Edina High School standout and Gophers recruit Clayton Phillips is ranked No. 72. The lefthanded defenseman has four goals and seven assists in 29 games with the Fargo Force this season in the USHL.
Other Gophers recruits, defenseman Nathan Knoepke (U.S U-18/Farmington) is ranked 106th, and forward Brannon McManus (USHL/Newport Beach, Calif.) is No. 178.