Casey Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie's forward and the Gophers' prized recruit, is rated fifth among 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 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 left-shooting forward, spent the fall playing in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers. He returned to Eden Prairie 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.

Jason Gonzalez