Photo courtesy of TheAHL.com

Fantasy Summary

Two-way center that plays with a high level of smarts and pace. Lacks a high-end ceiling in terms of skill, but possesses definite top-nine NHL potential.


Observations

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June 2020 – Stephens spent the 2019-20 season split between the Lightning and their AHL affiliate in Syracuse, but ultimately played the majority of the season up with the NHL club in Tampa Bay. In 38 games, Stephens notched three goals and six points for the Lightning while playing a depth role, and overall had a very positive impact on the game in terms of shot share and possession. Offensive upside remains a question mark for Stephens, but he’s already well on his way to being a valuable depth piece for the Lightning moving forward. Brandon Holmes

November 2019 – Stephens returns to the Crunch in 2019-2020 for his third AHL season and to this point has seen a small dip in his production level. Through 18 games played, the Canadian center currently sits at four goals and seven points. However, the hallmark of Stephens’ game has always been his strong two-way play, which remains a primary focus and strength of the young center’s game. Stephens is a strong two-way, defensive center, and should be considered among Tampa Bay’s first call ups should the Bolts get into injury trouble this season. Brandon Holmes

April 2019 – While healthy during the 2018-2019 campaign, Stephens has developed into a reliable pro in the AHL and has become a staple in Syracuse’s top-six. Most recently, Stephens has found himself centering the second line for the Crunch alongside Alex Barré-Boulet and Carter Verhaeghe, while also finding time on the special teams for Syracuse. Stephens has established himself as one of Syracuse’s most versatile players during his sophomore campaign in the AHL, as his smarts on both sides of the puck have made him a strong option for the Crunch in all situations. While not only being one of Syracuse’s best defensive forwards, Stephens has improved his point production rate from his rookie campaign as he stands at 10 goals and 21 points in 29 games played as the Crunch head into the postseason. I remain cautious regarding his ceiling as an offensive player because of his skill level, however, I have no doubt Stephens will push to be a top-nine forward with Tampa Bay as early as the 2019-2020 season. Brandon Holmes

October 2018 – Stephens will miss six weeks with an upper-body injury. The reliable Syracuse Crunch centre will miss valuable development time after starting the season with four points in seven games. When healthy, he can provide tenacity and effort on the forecheck and may be able to do so this year in Tampa should there be injuries. Jordan Deshane

February 2018 – In their quest for the 2018 Stanley Cup, the Lightning made a major transaction to acquire Ryan McDonagh and JT Miller from the New York Rangers. In the deal, the Lightning dealt 2016 first-round draft selection, Brett Howden, along with second-round selection, Libor Hajek. Stephen’s had been a vulnerable Lightning prospect, looking forward to to Howden’s professional debut next fall. With his departure from the Lightning pipeline some pressure will be relieved from, Stephens, who will in all likelihood, continue his development in Syracuse for another season or two where he’s been a reliable pivot his entire rookie season. Brayden Olafson

February 2018 – After suffering an 11-game point slump through the end of October and throughout November where he admitted he may have become complacent, Stephens has a new jump in his step with the Crunch. Since December 1st, Stephens has recorded 22 points in 25 games and has been held off the scoresheet in only eight of those games. Playing alongside fellow rookie, Alex Volkov, Stephens now leads the Crunch with 16 goals, most of which have been the result of his quick release and attentiveness to loose pucks. With such a successful second half of the season thus far, he was chosen to replace Matthew Peca at the AHL All-Star Classic in Utica while Peca was on recall with the Lightning. Stephens represented the Crunch well at the tournament, finishing tied for the North Division lead in scoring with two goals and three assists. With a stretch of proof that his offense can be translated to the AHL, Stephens will keenly be awaiting his chance to take the next step within the Lightning system. Brayden Olafson

August 2017 – With three games of AHL playoff experience under his belt, Stephens will have the opportunity to carve himself a full-time position with the Crunch this season. Stephens took part in the annual BioSteel camp from August 22-25, alongside mainstay NHL stars like Connor McDavid and Tyler Seguin. With a natural hat-trick in the final game, Stephens led Team Seguin to victory over Team Del Zotto and Connor McDavid. Seguin anointed Stephens the MVP of the tournament and made a clear point that “He’s got a great opportunity down in Tampa.” It would be a surprise to see the tenacious second-round draft-pick make the Lightning out of camp, but make no mistake, with sustained success at the AHL level, Stephens could earn NHL time on a recall basis as soon as this year. With several key roles opening up in the Lightning roster over the next couple of seasons, expect him to push himself very close to the front of the line for a scoring role. Brayden Olafson

July 2017 – After joining the London Knights part way through his final season in the OHL, Stephens continued on a strong offensive pace, despite the depth in the Knights lineup. Stephens earned consistent power play time with the Knights and was a force throughout the playoffs. So much, in fact that it would be conceivable that the Knights would not have made it to the second-round of the OHL playoffs, much less, game seven against the powerhouse Otters without the offensive touch provided by Stephens. The Knights drew a tough hand, however, facing both the Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires, as well as finalist, Erie Otters in their only two playoff series. Mitchell Stephens will join the Syracuse Crunch this fall, and look to provide that same offense early in the year. Brayden Olafson

February 2017 – The Lightning’s first pick in the 2015 draft was traded in January from the Saginaw Spirit to the London Knights as they bulk up to challenge for another Memorial Cup. He’s part of a deep roster in London so he’ll have to find another gear in order to earn some of the ice time he was used to in Saginaw. The versatile second round pick is putting up a little more than a point a game at the major junior level, so expect that he will need some more development in the Lightning farm system before making the jump to the NHL. Brayden Olafson

April 2016 -The Tampa Bay Lightning announced the team has signed 2015 second round selection Mitchell Stephens to an entry level contract. Stephens, an offensively skilled centerman, improved his two-way play throughout the season with the Saginaw Spirit until they were swept in the first round of the OHL Playoffs by the Erie Otters. The Peterborough native’s shot still remains to be his best asset. In a season cut down due to injuries, Stephens potted 20 goals in a season where he played in 39 games, and will now most likely finish the season with the Syracuse Crunch (AHL). Max Marko

January 2016 – Stephens was a member of the disappointing Canadian U-20 squad in the 2016 WJCs, with which he scored one goal and one assist in five games. He has spent the 2015-16 season as Assistant Captain of the Saginaw Spirit (OHL), where he currently has 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 13 games. He suffered a broken foot in October 2015, limiting his playing time to start the season, but he has played well since returning. Hayden Soboleski

June 2015 – Taken by the Lightning with the 33rd overall pick, Stevens will have a long wait ahead of him. The team obviously has a ton of young roster players and prospects ahead of him, so he will be allowed to develop slowly over four years or so. – Dobber

June 2015 –Blazing hard-working pivot Mitchell Stephens had a late surge up the draft rankings with an excellent second half season, showcasing his quick feet, two-way awareness and his ability to find the back of the net with a deceptively quick shot. Stephens exemplifies strong leadership traits and when combined with a smart hockey mind, he’s got the makings of an impact middle six option. He’s not big but owns good strength for a smaller player. Stephens was a high OHL selection and he’ll get attention as soon as the second round opens up. Brendan Ross

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 6.0
NHL Certainty 7.0
Country CAN
Position C
Roster Type Minors
Shoot/Glove Right
Date of Birth February 5, 1997
Height 6‘0”
Weight 196 lbs
Drafted 2015 Round 2; Overall: 33

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 Toronto Marlboros U16 AAAOHL Cup2 0 11 0|        
  Toronto Marlboros U15 AAAGTHL U15- - -- -|        
 2012-2013 Toronto Marlboros U16 AAAGTHL U1658 44 4084 12|        
  Toronto Marlboros U16 AAAOHL Cup7 4 37 8|        
  Team GTHL Red OGC-165 0 22 0|        
 2013-2014 Saginaw SpiritOHL57 9 1221 8|Playoffs5 0 22
  Canada Ontario U17WHC-175 0 22 6|        
 2014-2015 Team Red U18-Dev3 2 13 0|        
  Saginaw SpiritOHL62 22 2648 44|Playoffs4 0 00
  Canada U18Hlinka Gretzky Cup5 4 26 2|        
  Canada U18WJC-187 5 510 10|        
 2015-2016 Saginaw SpiritOHL39 20 1838 14|Playoffs4 2 13
  Syracuse CrunchAHL5 1 01 0|        
  Canada U20WJC-205 1 12 2|        
 2016-2017 Saginaw SpiritOHL22 11 1728 14|        
  London KnightsOHL29 11 1425 12|Playoffs14 7 310
  Syracuse CrunchAHL0 0 00 0|Playoffs3 0 00
  OHL All-StarsJr Super Series2 0 11 0|        
  Canada U20WJC-205 2 35 0|        
 2017-2018 Syracuse CrunchAHL70 19 2241 24|Playoffs7 1 56
 2018-2019 Syracuse CrunchAHL32 11 1324 6|Playoffs4 0 11
 2019-2020 Tampa Bay LightningNHL38 3 36 10|Playoffs7 1 01
  Syracuse CrunchAHL24 5 510 15|        
 2020-2021 Tampa Bay LightningNHL- - -- -|        

Highlights