Player: Grant Mismash
Position: Center/Left Wing
Height: 6’0” Weight: 183 lbs.
Team: USA NTDP U18
Final NHL Central Scouting Rank: 24th among North American skaters
What I Like
Mismash has great one-on-one stickhandling ability. He’s not likely to beat a defender with his speed, but he’s got really quick hands that can help him move a puck through a defender. This makes him effective on zone entries and can help him create opportunities in heavy traffic situations.
Effective in front of the net
A perpetual source of frustration for me this past season was the NTDP’s insistence on using Mismash in the high slot or point on their power play. Mismash does have a very good shot, but I feel like he could incredibly effective working down low in front of the net. He’s not huge, but he’s a strong and solidly built which allows him to gain position, and his great hands allow him to make quick plays in tight spaces. I think that is where he’ll be best able to use his offensive skills going forward.
What I Don’t Like
As mentioned above, Mismash’s skating is passable, but not elite. He’s much more effective once play is established inside a zone rather than a more up-and-down style game. He’s decent off the rush when he can use his hands to create an angle to get off his heavy snap shot, but he’s much more effective when his team can set up on the cycle in the offensive zone.
Mismash is more of a finisher than a player that creates opportunities for his teammates. That’s not necessarily a huge negative because teams need players that can finish off opportunities, but it also means he needs to be paired with players that can do the dirty work and get him the puck in good situations, and means he can be a bit inconsistent at times.
Mismash is ranked right around the bubble of the first round, with some people putting him in the first round, and a few more putting him outside the first round. The safest bet is to project him in the first ten or so picks of the second round, but the NTDP traditionally surpasses expectations when it comes to the first round of the Draft. I think Mismash will end up being picked in the latter half of the first round.
I’m not sure Mismash ever develops into a truly elite top-line forward at the NHL level, but he does have some offensive upside to play a scoring role at the NHL level. I’ve made the comparison between Mismash and Drew Stafford before, and I think it still holds. Both are big, strong players but not quite true power forwards that can score a little bit, but their skating isn’t quite elite enough for them to be true top line players. Mismash will play for the University of North Dakota and should see a significant role right out of the gate as a freshman. He will likely spend at least two years with the Fighting Hawks before he’s ready for pro hockey.