DOB: Nov 22, 1998
Height & Weight: 6’1” & 201lbs
Casey Mittelstadt was taken eighth overall by the Buffalo Sabres in last year’s draft. He played half of his draft-eligible year with his Minnesota high school club. He ended up playing the other half of the season with the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. He put up 64 points in 25 games with his high school team and 30 points in 24 games with Green Bay. The talent is there but when it came to the draft, it was a question mark of where he would be taken. Buffalo made the choice at eight and he is our Eyes On feature in the Sabres season review.
What separates Mittelstadt from his draft class is his offensive instinct. He burst onto the scene during the 2018 World Junior Championship. He ended up with 11 points in seven games during the tournament, becoming the face of Team USA very quickly. On top of those numbers, he put up 34 points in 30 games in his freshman year at the University of Minnesota. Talk about having a solid 2017-18 season before going pro!
He has a unique skill set. He brings the whole package on offense. Speed, skill, and hockey IQ are just a few elements to his game. His speed gives him the ability to keep up with today’s NHL pace and to make the smart hockey play.
Mittelstadt with ANOTHER beautiful goal. Unreal speed and patience… pic.twitter.com/bzk0mTXUeD
— The Charging Buffalo (@TheChargingBUF) August 1, 2017
So, with that in mind, let’s look at the above tweet. Mittelstadt gets the breakout pass and turns on the jets. He catches the defensemen flat-footed and blows right by him. It’s those quick couple of strides that keep the puck away from the opposing defensemen while taking the open ice.
After, he shows off his hockey IQ and slows the play down. He waits for his teammate and fakes a couple of times trying to get the opposing defensemen or goalie to bite. Then he shoots and puts the puck in the net beating the goalie easily. This is a small sample size but shows what the potential can be for him going forward with these assets.
Casey Mittelstadt is going to like playing with Jack Eichel, and vice versa.
Good Lord, what hands.
Team USA up 5-0 after 20. pic.twitter.com/4KDRazsp6E
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 27, 2017
The one area the Sabres are excited about is Mittelstadt’s raw skill. He has one of the best hands of his draft class. Just like his speed, he can make some head-turning plays. He is very creative with the puck and really slows the game down. You can’t get much better than some of his goals with Team USA this past year.
Mittelstadt will be a solid piece for this Sabres team. If he can make the team out of training camp, which he probably will, he should fit into their top six perfectly. To add more confidence in his ability, Mittelstadt already has NHL games under his belt. With six games played, he had five points with one of those points being a goal.
Impressive numbers for a small stint in the NHL. It will be up to head coach Phil Housley if he wants to move him to the wing to play alongside Jack Eichel or have him center the second line. Putting Eichel and Mittelstadt together would be an offensive nightmare for opposing teams. Either way, Mittelstadt should have a big impact on this Sabres club. He shows us why he is the first installment of the weekly column, Eyes On.