2015-16 Team: Muskegon Lumberjacks
Hometown: Grosse Pointe, Mich.
College Commitment: Michigan State
Mitch Eliot, ranked 132nd in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings, saw his stock fall from the midterm to the final in large part due to the fact he doesn't possess a truly elite skill set at any one thing. It all comes down to the fact that Eliot doesn't stand out as doing one thing overly well, but he's a solid all-around defenseman that should be taken higher than his CSS grade.
He's a good skater with a smooth, fluid stride. He's not overly fast, but he has enough foot speed to stay competitive. He has a good first stride that allows him to accelerate to loose pucks and retrieve dump-ins behind his own net.
At the 2015 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game, Eliot was steady, but not spectacular. He had a few good shifts and skated well, but wasn't able to set him self apart from any of the other defenders at the mid-range level.
In this observer's opinion, he was easily the best defenseman at the 2016 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Omaha back in January. He created pace with his ability to carry the puck in transition by moving well. He impacted breakouts of his own zone as well as zone entries at the offensive end. He was poised with the puck and made good decisions. He had good gaps and was able to win possession battles.
He has a decent shot from the point that he gets on net more times than not. He will likely never be relied upon as an offensive-producing defenseman. He's added a nice element of physicality to his game. He has a strong lower body that allows him to be rugged and play with a mean streak at times.
While the jury is definitely out on whether or not he can continue to progress and make it to the NHL, there's little doubt that he can be an impact player at the collegiate level for his home state Spartans. He is the son of former Los Angeles Kings and Cornell goaltender Darren Eliot, who is now a TV analyst.
Draft Projection: While his limited offensive capabilities and his inability to really perfect one skill set might have hurt him in the mind's of some at NHL Central Scouting, he's a defenseman who is solid and steady. His skating is strong and he could be a nice fifth or sixth defender down the road. He'll likely be scooped up in the fifth or sixth round, but it wouldn't be a shock to see a team take him higher.