USHL Report – The Home Stretch (March 2017)

Kevin Wickersham

2017-03-07

ushl

Entering the home stretch of the 60-game USHL regular season which culminates April 8, and gearing up for the Clark Cup Playoffs, the league’s top prospects have been largely impressive and continue to draw great interest from NHL scouts. Last year 45 USHL players and alumni were drafted by NHL teams and quite a few will be selected in the 2017 draft as well. Let’s take a look at some of the USHL’s most promising, including a few blue chip prospects projected to go early in the 2018 draft’s first round.

 

Casey Mittelstadt C/LW (Green Bay) #5 NA central scouting midterm rankings

The highly-heralded Mittelstadt is still pursuing his goal of the Minnesota State Championship with Eden Prairie High, who just took the Section 2AA title earn a trip to the state finals. The 18 year-old elite prospect with a great combination of size, speed, toughness, and smarts should be back with the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers by the end of March, following a ridiculously productive scoring campaign with his high school squad (thus far 21 G and 43 A in 25 games for 2.56 PPG). He tallied eight goals and 13 assists in just 16 games with the Gamblers this year, prior to his mid-November return to Eden Prairie. Still leads the USHL in points-per-game average this season at 1.31. Rated an ‘A’ prospect by NHL Central Scouting and is widely expected to be drafted in the top ten, if not top five, picks this June. A University of Minnesota commit.

Video: Casey Mittelstadt two-goal Night 10/6/16:

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Eeli Tolvanen – RW (Sioux City) #7 NA central scouting midterm rankings

Projected as high as a top-five pick in June’s NHL Draft, Tolvanen’s goal scoring has reached another level since mid-February. With seven goals and one assist in the last six Musketeer contests, including a February 18 hat trick against Green Bay, NHL scouts are looking to the Finnish forward as a potentially potent, NHL-ready wing. Tolvanen deservedly earned USHL forward of the week honors for the third time this season on February 27, and maintains a point-per-game pace with 24 goals and 17 assists in 41 games. Currently he leads the league with 203 shots, 40 more than his nearest competitor Fargo’s Hank Crone.

Video: Eeli Tolvanen 2015-16 Highlights Sioux City Musketeers and Team Finland

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Andrei Svechnikov – RW (Muskegon) – 2018 NHL Draft eligible

Could very well be next summer’s top NHL draft pick. While 2018 projections are in lesser supply than those for 2017, the younger brother of 2015 Red Wing first-round pick Yevgeni Svechnikov is considered at least a top-three selection next June. Despite missing ten Lumberjack contests this season Andrei, a 6-2, 185-pound, 16 year-old native of Barnaul, Russia is tied for fourth in the league in scoring (47 points), tied for fifth with Tolvanen in goals with 24, and is