Player: Mareks Mitens
Height: 6’1” Weight: 176 lbs.
Team: Aston Rebels(NAHL)
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: Not ranked
What I Like
Stellar International Play
Mitens has been one of the top goalies for Latvia in international competition, including this past year at the World Juniors. His numbers haven’t been overly impressive, which is hardly a shock given Latvia comes into nearly every top division IIHF game as a huge underdog, but he has turned in some incredible performances to almost steal wins for the overmatched Latvia squad.
Mitens moved to North America to play for the Aston Rebels of the NAHL this past season, which provided a good test to see how he performed when he wasn’t being bombarded by high-quality shots every game.
Aston is a good team in a weak division, but the numbers Mitens posted for the Rebels were nothing short of amazing. He led the league with a 1.63 goals against average and was seventh in the league with a .925 save percentage. He was named the NAHL’s top goalie and the league MVP for his effort
What makes Mitens so effective is his excellent positioning in net. He’s calm in the crease with good balance, and doesn’t give up many cheap goals. He shows remarkable consistency whether he’s getting blown out or is playing in a tight game.
What I Don’t Like
Miten is listed at 6’1”, but given the eyeball test, I’d say he’s a lot closer to being 6’0” than he is to being 6’2”. In today’s NHL that favors behemoth goalies, he’s definitely on the smaller side. His positioning makes him seem a little bigger than he is because he doesn’t give a lot of net to shoot at, but NHL players have the ability to pick smaller goalies apart.
He’s a solid, consistent performer that makes almost all of the saves that he should, and he has decent movement in his crease, but he doesn’t have outstanding athleticism. He’s not a true butterfly goalie like many modern goalies, playing more of a hybrid style.
Even though I’m really down on this Draft class in general, it’s one of the deeper years for goalies that I can remember. I like Mitens, but there’s also as many as eight to ten goalies that I like just as much or more. There’s no guarantee he’s picked, but with the rest of the draft class seeming to be very thin, he would probably be worth a late round draft choice.
Nobody would pick a goalie if they didn’t think he had NHL starter upside. Mitens will head to Lake Superior State next season where he will compete for the starting goaltending job. He’ll have up to four years to further develop in the Soo before a team would have to make a decision on him. He’s pretty developed for a draft-eligible goalie, so he might be closer to his ceiling than other goalies his age. He’d need a few years in the minors after leaving Lake Superior State, but could potentially compete for an NHL job some day.