The Dallas Stars have the third overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and it’s one of the most intriguing spots in the draft.
Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick and Halifax Moosheads center Nico Hischier are considered the top prospects in this draft class. There is some debate whether Patrick or Hischier will go first overall, but there seems to be a consensus opinion that neither will make it past the second pick.
That means the Stars could go in any direction at No. 3 and it’s not a bad spot. While this draft is considered weaker than past years, Dallas will still get a very good prospect at No. 3 and a player that should make an impact in the NHL.
Since the NHL Draft Lottery I’ve taken time to watch video and spoken with others that have watched these draft prospects closely to create my own scouting reports for 12 players that Dallas could consider at No. 3. Over the next 12 days I’ll post a scouting report each day for subscribers (it’s only $3 per month) on each of those prospects.
Subscribers can login and read the scouting report below. If you haven’t subscribed and pledged on Patreon you can do so by following this link.
(6-foot-1, 201 pounds)
Eden Prairie HS (Minnesota)/Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Dallas went the Minnesota high school route in 2016 when they took Riley Tufte with the 25th overall pick. The Stars could go a similar route with the third overall pick and select Casey Mittelstadt, who split the season between Eden Prairie High School and the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL.
Mittelstadt was expectedly dominant in high school and was named Mr. Hockey as the best senior in Minnesota as he posted 64 points in just 25 games. He was also very good in the USHL and had 30 points in 24 games for the Gamblers.
He finished the season as the third-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting.
Some scouts were reportedly unhappy that Mittelstadt returned to high school for his senior season. I believe that’s a bit overblown, four months of high school hockey and playing for the community he grew up in isn’t going to hurt his long-term development. It’s something the Stars aren’t going to worry about either and Middlestadt is going to be in a good spot next season at the University of Minnesota.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward has a quick release and is extremely skilled with the puck. Middlestadt looks like a complete player in the offensive zone and he made his teammates better in the USHL and in high school games.
On the defensive end Middlestadt is typically in the right position and uses his stick effectively to break up plays. He could be more physical in the defensive zone and there are times that he’s been caught cheating up the ice, but those are flaws that could be hammered out by coaches at the University of Minnesota next season.
Middestadt is listed as a center and has said multiple times that he’d prefer to play center long term, but he could have an NHL future as a left winger — especially if he doesn’t work out some of the defensive deficiencies in his game.
Middlestadt will likely spend at least two seasons at Minnesota, maybe three, so the Stars would be committing to a long-term project with such a pick. But then again, most draft picks are long-term projects. Dallas has a history of picking from the high school ranks in the past, and Middlestadt’s time in the USHL and his showings internationally — he was very good at the Under-18 World Championships in 2016 — could sway the Dallas brass.