Future Gopher freshman Casey Mittelstadt is expected to be a Top-5 pick in the NHL Draft on June 19. Based on that status, he had had quite the whirlwind week. As Michael Russo of the Star Tribune recaps, Mittelstadt took place in the NHL Combine last weekend before flying to Nashville for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Mittelstadt performed at the NHL Draft Combine in Buffalo this weekend. He interviewed with fifteen different NHL teams on the weekend. While his skill with the puck is well known and is the main reason why he will be a top pick, it is what he failed at that is making noise. Casey could only do one rep of a 150-pound bench press and failed to complete a single pull up at the combine. He also measured in at 5’ 11.5” which is a big shorter than some NHL scouts thought.
While the NHL scouting rube community went into a tizzy about Mittelstadt’s lack of strength at the combine, he had a well thought out reply ready to all of the media jackals:
Casey Mittelstadt aptly answered questions on why he wasn't able to do a pull-up/did one 160-pound bench press at the scouting combine. pic.twitter.com/6Gg1TbTmTD— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) June 5, 2017
After the combine, Mittelstadt and three other top draft prospects flew to Nashville prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The four players spent the day on Monday going through a gauntlet of press interviews. One golden moment came when Middelstadt and the three other prospects were being interviewed be eccentric hockey legend Don Cherry.
(Note: Click on the image the Twitter Link to see Mittelstadt’s reaction as for some reason he is cut of out the photos in the preview images)
I'm dying right now. Casey Mittelstadt is so incredibly uncomfortable and I have to say.. I don't blame him. pic.twitter.com/n0yuJF34fm— Filipovic Forsberg (@DimFilipovic) June 6, 2017
The day did get better for Casey and the other prospects as Russo describes:
Casey Mittelstadt got to meet a number of players from Stanley Cup finalists Pittsburgh and Nashville, including his childhood hero, Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins captain spent a few minutes with the Eden Prairie and Green Bay Gamblers star and three other NHL draft-eligible top prospects after the Penguins’ morning skate. Mittelstadt didn’t tell Crosby that he’s been his favorite player since he was a year old.
“I tried not to be too much of fan,” said Mittelstadt, the University of Minnesota-bound 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey. “I let him go do his business. They obviously have a big game tonight.”
He also got to meet many Predators players, including P.K. Subban and his brother Luke Mittelstadt’s favorite player, Roman Josi.
Casey Mittelstadt (blonde hair) and 3 other top NHL prospects meet Sidney Crosby pic.twitter.com/lTXaHwu3iM— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) June 5, 2017
The players took in Game 4 as well Monday night. Its just a quick reprieve for Mittelstadt who just graduated from Eden Prairie High School a week ago and moves into his apartment this weekend before beginning summer classes at the U on Monday.
Gopher fans are excited for Mittelstadt to put on the Maroon and Gold this fall and hopefully make an immediate impact on the ice.