Casey Staum is a player that hasn't drawn much attention heading into this year's draft. He didn't make NHL Central Scouting's preliminary list this fall--though his strong Elite League performance definitely put him on the radar--and he didn't gain much hype during the high school season because he missed most of the year with an injury.
But for the teams that put in the work to watch Staum this year, they could be rewarded with a strong late round draft pick with the skating ability to be a good NHL player.
Player: Casey Staum
Team: Hill-Murray(MN) High School
Height: 5'11" Weight: 181 lbs.
Stats: 12 games, 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points
Final NHL Central Scouting rank: 159th among North American skaters
What I Like:
Staum has terrific balance which makes him a smooth, powerful skater with a great straight line burst. I also really like his quick feet and ability to move laterally. He's a really complete four-direction skater. That's his strongest asset and what will likely be the trait that gets him selected.
Staum always has his head up and surveying the play looking for a passing angle. He uses his feet to open up passing lanes and delivers crisp tape-to-tape passes.
What I Don't Like:
-Limited track record
Staum stayed in high school through his senior year, so he has yet to show if his game can even translate to the junior level, let alone beyond. He had a strong showing the Upper Midwest Elite League this fall, which put him on the Draft radar, but suffered a broken ankle five games into the high school season, so he didn't get an opportunity to build on that performance.
-Lack of physicality
Staum still has some room to mature physically, and would be better served on the defensive end if he added a little more meanness to his game. He'll need to get tougher and do a better job of fighting for position and battling for pucks along the boards as he moves to a higher level.
NHL teams have moved away from picking players that have only played at the Minnesota high school level in the early rounds of the Draft. The extra level of risk there is just too much to gamble a high pick on. So the odds of Staum being picked before the start of the fifth round aren't great. But once we get into those late rounds, I could see a team taking a chance on him. He's got an NHL-level tool with his skating ability. It's worth the risk to see if the rest of his game can reach that same level.
Staum will likely take the long path to the pros. He's expected to suit up for a year in the USHL before playing NCAA hockey at Nebraska Omaha. The Mavericks tend to keep their defensemen on a short leash, which might inhibit Staum's style of play a bit, but he should become more mature defensively, and after four or five years, he could develop into a smooth-skating two-way defenseman at the NHL level.