Forward Grant Mismash of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program hopes his physicality combined with skill resonates with NHL scouts.
Mismash, 17, a top prospect for the 2017 NHL Draft, tried to showcase each element of his game during high-profile events last month, the United States Hockey League Fall Classic East at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, and the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
At the USHL Fall Classic, the NTDP Under-18 team split games against Dubuque and Youngstown, but Mismash combined for three goals and one assist while displaying grit and tenacity.
At the All-American Prospects Game he scored the game's first goal for Team Leclair in a 6-4 victory against Team Howe.
"I'm big (6-foot, 186 pounds). I'm physical. I like to play outside of the game," Mismash said. "I like to shoot the puck and make passes. I just like to work for my teammates and compete."
Mishmash has continued his strong play into the start of the season with two goals and two assists in seven games. Last season he led the NTDP U-17 team with 23 goals and was second with 44 points in 58 games.
NTDP U-18 coach John Wroblewski said Mismash is able to be physical without sacrificing agility.
"His first goal [at the USHL Fall Classic], he just overpowered the opposition," Wroblewski said. "To me, he's got a little more of a speed game and power game. I think Grant, when he's really wheeling and he stops, starts, and gets to the neutral zone, blue line to blue line with a lot of speed, that adds a tremendous amount of momentum to his game. So he's got to be a guy who continuously is on the hunt. And when he is, he's an extremely effective player."
Mismash will play with the NTDP U-18 team this season, then is committed to the University of North Dakota. He decided North Dakota was the school for him after his first tour.
"That was a fun process, the whole college process," he said. "When I toured there the facilities were just Grade A. The coaches were awesome. It was just something I felt comfortable with, so I pulled the trigger on that and I haven't regretted it at all."
Mismash said there are a few areas of his game that he wants to work on, this season and moving into North Dakota.
"I think I need to get a little more consistent," he said. "I need to move my feet and get quicker, faster. I need to work on my backcheck a little bit. That's something I've always lacked. I'm trying to improve on that."
Mismash said he's attempted to emulate Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry's physicality and scoring touch. He's always welcomed contact and doesn't see that changing if he reaches the NHL.
"I loved the physical side of it," Mismash said. "I loved … and playing physical. That was how I kind of how I fell in love with it."
Mismash isn't a lumbering forward, though. He possesses the skill necessary to eventually play in the League, and Wroblewski believes he'll have the opportunity to show that soon.
"He's got a great shot and a nose for the net," Wroblewski said. "You saw him on the breakaway [at the Fall Classic]. He can get out into the open. His power package, to me, is going to be his calling card in the NHL."