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Fourteen MN high school players on NHL 'preliminary players to watch' list

By Jimmy Gilligan, SportsEngine, 10/07/16, 9:45PM CDT

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Eden Prairie's Casey Mittelstadt was the state's only prep player to receive an “A Rating.”


Eden Prairie's Casey Mittelstadt was the only Minnesota high school player to receive an "A Rating" in the NHL's preseason "Players to Watch' list. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine

More than a dozen of Minnesota top high school boys' hockey players were named to the NHL Central Scouting's 2016-17 list of "preliminary players to watch" released Oct. 4. 

Eden Prairie’s Casey Mittelstadt and former Lakeville North forward Ryan Poehling were two of 29 players given an “A Rating” by the pro league’s scouting department, meaning they’re poised to be first-round picks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft next June. 

A Minnesota commit, Mittelstadt is splitting time this season between Green Bay in the United States Hockey League and Eden Prairie. The 6-foot, 201-pound senior led the Eagles with 59 points (22 goals, 37 assists) a year ago and is an early favorite to win Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award.

Poehling led the Panthers with 20 goals and 34 assists as a junior but is forgoing his senior year with Lakeville North to join his brothers, twins Nick and Jack, at St. Cloud State.

The state’s remaining prep skaters, including several potential Mr. Hockey finalists, received a “C Rating,” which indicates a draft position in the fourth, fifth or sixth round. They are Nick Leivermann (Eden Prairie), Sam Walker (Edina), Bram Scheerer (Edina), Grant Anderson (Wayzata), Dylan Samberg (Hermantown), Matt Anderson (Holy Family Catholic), Connor Mayer (Benilde-St. Margaret’s), Benton Maass (Elk River), Keaton Pehrson (Lakeville North), Joshua Ess (Lakeville South), Jesse Bjugstad (Stillwater), Noah Cates (Stillwater) and Micah Miller (Grand Rapids).

Thirteen former Minnesota high school players also received grades. Their names and grades are in the table below.

Minnesotans on NHL Central Scouting's preseason "Players to Watch" list

Rating Name Team Former High School Last Year/Class Position
A Casey Mittelstadt Eden Prairie C
A Ryan Poehling St. Cloud State Lakeville North Junior/2015-16 C
B Jake Oettinger Boston University Lakeville North Freshman/2013-14 G
B Nate Knoepke NTDP U-18 Lakeville South Sophomore/2014-15 D
B Grant Mismash NTDP U-18 Shattuck-St. Mary’s LW
B Scott Reedy NTDP U-18 Shattuck-St. Mary’s C
B Clayton Phillips Fargo (USHL) Edina Sophomore/2015-16 D
C Connor Mayer Benilde-St. Margaret's D
C Nick Leivermann Eden Prairie D
C Bram Scheerer Edina LW
C Sam Walker Edina C
C Benton Maass Elk River D
C Micah Miller Grand Rapids RW
C Dylan Samberg Hermantown D
C Matt Anderson Holy Family Catholic D
C Keaton Pehrson Lakeville North D
C Joshua Ess Lakeville South D
C Jesse Bjugstad Stillwater D
C Noah Cates Stillwater LW
C Grant Anderson Wayzata D
C Dylan Mills Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL) Hill Murray Sophomore/2015-16 C
C Isaac Johnson Des Moines (USHL) Anoka Junior/2015-16 LW
C Ryan Bischel Fargo (USHL) Benilde-St. Margaret's Junior/2015-16 G
C Matthew Hellickson Sioux City (USHL) Rogers Sophomore/2013-14 D
C Dayton Rasmussen Tri-City (USHL) Holy Family Catholic Freshman/2013-14 G
C Benjamin Copeland Waterloo (USHL) Edina Junior/2015-16 C
C Austin Pratt Red Deer (WHL) Shattuck-St. Mary’s RW

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