With the 126th overall selection at the 2016 NHL Draft, the Calgary Flames picked up centre Mitchell Mattson.
The forward split time between the United States Hockey League (USHL) and United States High School (USHS) league last year and will be spending the full 2016-17 season in the USHL with the Bloomington Thunder.
In 25 games with Grand Rapids High in the USHS, Mattson put up 17 goals and 46 points. In three section playoff games, he scored three goals and registered 12 points. In two games at the state tournament, he had one assist.
Both Mattson and the Flames organization stated the hulking forward is a project who needs time to develop his raw skill.
"Mitch Mattson is a big, tall guy with a huge ceiling," Tod Button explained. "He played high school hockey in Grand Rapids and he's going to the USHL next year. He’s got skill and can handle the puck.
"I think if you asked him, he would say he’s a skilled forward with some size. He’s a bit raw experience wise playing in northern Minnesota, but we’ve got time on his side. He’s going to North Dakota after Bloomington next year, so we’re happy about that."
Here is what scouts had to say about Mattson:
INTERNATIONAL SCOUTING SERVICE - RANKED 61ST OVERALL
Mattson continued to physically charge his way through his senior season for Grand Rapids. He was the heart and soul of one of the state's most offensively talented teams. Mattson had a somewhat disappointing playoff run for Grand Rapids. He had an outstanding regular season ... Riley Tufte and Mattson clearly emerged as the two top draft eligible Minnesota High School players as the season wore on but Mattson seemed to struggle in the playoffs. He wasn't consistently willing to fight his way into the tough areas and didn't have the kind of offensive impact expected.
NHL Potential: Secondary scoring option could fit in well on second PP unit
FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS -- RANKED 112TH OVERALL
Mattson is a big-framed forward who is still gangly like a newborn giraffe. While his foot speed is a little slow right now, his skating overall is a strength as he generates a long, powerful stride and cuts into the ice with his edges to make sharp cuts and turns. He has a good hard wrist shot, though he takes the puck wide when he should be using his size to his advantage, dropping his shoulder and taking it to the net. But, he chooses to be a perimeter player. Mattson has a very strong one-timer and goal-scorer’s instincts. When he moves his feet on the forecheck, he can use his large frame and reach to force turnovers. He has good vision, and some playmaking creativity in his game. Mattson can be frustrating to watch because he has size that can’t be taught and is a gifted skater, but just gets so little done. He floats through the neutral zone and circles way too often in situations that call for starts and stops. Mattson can be about as invisible as any skilled 6-foot-4 forward can be. He does have an intriguing mix of tools that make him a long-term project who still needs to put it all together. Mattson makes himself available away from the puck and puts himself in places to get solid scoring chances, but at the USHL level, he had a few issues completing those chances. The kid has some strong upside, and would have better benefitted from playing the entire year in the USHL as opposed to splitting time between Bloomington and Grand Rapids H.S. He will be a power forward with potential to put up points, but the extent of his impact remains to be seen.
NHL Potential: Middle-six offensive centre