Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: C Casey Mittelstadt

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks failed to secure a spot in the NHL playoffs. So, instead of competing for the Stanley Cup, Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the upcoming months to prepare next season’s roster. Now that the organisation is officially in a ‘transition period’, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be of utmost importance.

A four-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 season gave fans hope for the playoffs. But — blame the coach, the roster, injuries or anything else — unfortunately, the team was unable to play competitively for an entire season. With that, they are guaranteed another high draft pick this year.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming draft by profiling as many eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

This year’s draft seems wide-open, with no real consensus in any of the seven rounds. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who will put on a Vancouver Canucks jersey come June.

Under the microscope today: American center Casey Mittelstadt.

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Name: Casey Mittelstadt

Position: Center, left wing

Shoots: Left

Birthdate: 1998-11-22

Height, weight: 6’1”, 201 lbs

Team, league: 

Stats (from 















#3 by
#5 by ISS Hockey
#4 by Future Considerations
#4 by McKeen’s Hockey
#3 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: First-line centre

Draft Range: Top five

Scouting report

"A smart, quick and highly skilled center…has a tremendous first-step jump, change of pace and ability to make defenders miss…though not the biggest or strongest player on the ice, he finds success in loose puck battles by using his smarts and insane ability to shield the puck from defenders…never takes a shift off, and has added noticeable muscle and speed this season…will finish chances with a quick release on a wrister or powerful snap shot…puckhandling skills are excellent and he is able to create scoring chances in almost all of his offensive-zone shifts using his great vision and understanding of the game…aware of his defensive responsibility and backchecks hard to cover…sets up scoring chances using accurate, hard passes…always in the action and loves being the go-to guy…can beat defenders or gain the zone by utilizing this hands, feet or brain…a potential future top-line, two-way guy. (Future Considerations, November 2016)"


Casey Mittelstadt is the complete package. He combines speed, skill and hockey sense into a game that makes him look like a future top-line player. And in case he doesn’t work out as a center at the NHL level, Mittelstadt has also played on the wing before and could well become a first-line winger, too.

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Whenever he is on the ice, Mittelstadt wants to make something happen. More importantly, he succeeds at making things happen. Mittelstadt has insane puck skills and creativity that allow him to stickhandle through opponents at will and constantly create offense. Combining his elite hockey sense with an excellent shot and top-notch passing ability, he is a consistent threat as both a playmaker and a shooter. And let’s not forget about his two-way abilities either.

Mittelstadt started the 2016-17 season in the USHL, then returned to high school (where he won the Minnesota Mr. Hockey award), and finished the year back in the USHL. Scouts were slightly worried about his decision to play high school hockey instead of competing at the highest-possible level. Some players might make that decision because they don’t feel ready or aren’t competitive.

Mittelstadt, however, tore it up at both the USHS and USHL levels — there is no doubt about his abilities anymore, and he undoubtedly has top-three potential. Mittelstadt competes hard every night and works extremely hard off the ice as well, always looking to get better. Playing in high school didn’t help his stock, but Mittelstadt has proven it shouldn’t move him down scouts’ lists either.


Perhaps the only thing scouts really criticise about Mittelstadt is his stride. It just isn’t pretty. But, Mittelstadt is working on that. Plus, scouts also rave about his speed and ability to play a fast-paced game — so who even cares? The goal should always be to have near-perfect technique, but as long as the flawed technique works, there is no reason to believe it will hurt the player at the next level.

After a long list of strengths and virtually no weaknesses, why isn’t Mittelstadt No. 1? Well, maybe Nico Hischier just looks a little more flashy. Maybe Nolan Patrick has been too good for too long to move someone like Mittelstadt ahead of him. Maybe Gabriel Vilardi‘s upside is a tiny bit higher. But, honestly, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Mittelstadt ranked first overall when we rank the 2017 draft class five years from now.

Final Thoughts

If the Canucks fall out of the top two — and the chances of that happening are unfortunately quite high — they will need to look for someone other than Hischier or Patrick. That someone could be any one of Mittelstadt, Vilardi, Cale Makar or about seven others. This year’s class might not have a Connor McDavid-type franchise player, but the quality outside of the top-two picks is actually great.

So, the Canucks really won’t need to worry. Mittelstadt would be an excellent option. At the very least, he could become a second-line, two-way guy like Bo Horvat. But unlike Horvat in his draft year, Mittelstadt displays terrific scoring upside that might just be enough to become Vancouver’s top-line center for the next decade.

Next: 2017 NHL Draft Profile Overview

Ever since seeing Mittelstadt for the first time at the All American Prospects Game in September, I have really liked Mittelstadt. Now seeing how successful he was in the USHL, needing no time to adjust after playing against much weaker competition, I probably like him even more. Mittelstadt is extremely talented and could fill one of two needs the Canucks currently have: a high-end center or a high-end left winger.