With their fifth round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Calgary Flames have gone back to school. High school, that is. They’ve selected Minnesota high school center Mitchell Mattson at 126th overall.
What is he? He’s big.
A native of Grand Rapids. Minnesota, Mattson stands 6’4″ and weighs 200 pounds. He split this past season with his high school team (46 points in 25 game) and the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder (2 points in 21 games). We have a decent barometer these days of what USHL success turns into, and perhaps Mattson just needs to adjust to the different pace and talent level after being a gigantic human in a high school hockey setting, but his numbers aren’t exactly making me think this is an offensively-gifted prospect.
Chris Dilks of SBN College Hockey liked his size and raw tools, but didn’t like his lack of offensive production or how passive he played.
Mattson is boom-or-bust as a
prospect. If he hits his ceiling, he could be an effective two-way
center in the mold of a Brian Boyle. But he still has a very, very long
ways to go to reach that potential, and early returns don’t suggest a
high likelihood of reaching it.
Mattson was ranked 61st among North American skaters by Central Scouting and 112th by Future Considerations, who characterized him as “gangly like a newborn giraffe.” Craig Button had him 37th in his final rankings. His size probably projects him as a power forward to some degree, but he’ll need to show that he can put up offense at a higher level of hockey first. He’s committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of 2017, but will return to the USHL and Bloomington for next season.