2016-17 Team: Chicago Steel (#12)
Date of Birth: Newburyport, Massachusetts
Place of Birth: May 8, 1999
Ht.: 6’1” Wt.: 174 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: Prospect is eligible for 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- NHL Central Scouting: 48th (NA, Mid-term)
- NHL Central Scouting: 63rd (NA, Final)
- Craig Button: 99th (March)
- Bob McKenzie: Honorable Mention (Mid-season)
- Jeff Marek: Unranked (October)
- ISS: Unranked (May)
One of the final links to the Chicago Steel’s championship run, defenseman Ben Mirageas was traded by the Bloomington Thunder prior to the USHL trade deadline in February. When Mirageas joined the Steel, he had to make adjustments to his new environment, registering a minus-6 rating in 14 outings. His play improved dramatically when the 2017 postseason opened.
After settling in, Mirageas rose to the occasion. In 14 playoff games, he collected 10 assists and a plus-7 rating. Experience-wise, the transaction turned out to be a good move. He initially helped the Steel qualify for the postseason for the first time in nine years. Then he played a key role in the 17-year franchise capturing its first Clark Cup. Along the way, he earned extra exposure from NHL scouts by making an extended playoff run.
Considered by NHL insiders to be a long-term project, Mirageas has decent size and skates with determination. Scouts note the way he delivers crisp outlet passes, conducts smooth zone-to-zone transitions and competes hard shift-to-shift. His skating and motor are pluses. Opposing scouting reports suggest a strong fore-check can pressure Mirageas into making mistakes. Handling pressure will be key to his progression.
Committed to play for Providence College next season, Mirageas will begin refining his overall feel for defense and improving his on-ice vision. He often plays his best when he keeps plays basic. He has enough play-making abilities to earn future power-play responsibilities at Providence.
NHL Draft Projection
Mirageas has enough upside for NHL brass to take notice, especially with a championship pedigree. There is always room in an organization to add a sturdy defenseman, like Mirageas. He likely will be a mid-round selection, a value pick in the fourth or fifth rounds.
“He loves shooting the puck, he’s a good passer. He can find the open areas of the net. It’s going to bring him forward for the next three, four, five years wherever it takes him.” – Zach Mirageas, brother and former Thunder teammate
“A long-term project. He can make the quick outlets in transition, and hustles back into his end to retrieve pucks, but at times seems to lack in vision and overall hockey sense.” – Bill Placzek, www.draftsite.com
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Maintaining poise
NHL coaches gain confidence in young blueliners who consistently make the “safe play” and limit miscues. Mirageas will need to work hard on his game over the next few seasons, but insiders contend he will develop into a top-6 defenseman.
Risk – 3/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 7/10
Mirageas competed in the 2017 USNL/NHL Top Prospects Game last January. He played a role in Team USA placing second at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup. In the 2015 USHL Futures Draft, he was selected in the second round (No. 30 overall) by the Thunder.
Jeff Hawkins is a career sportswriter who has collected eight industry awards, including two Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) honors. Hawkins has served as a beat writer for the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks and UHL’s Adirondack IceHawks. A husband and father, Hawkins enjoys live music, hiking, New York-style pizza with Dr. Pepper, and writing with his golden Labrador retriever “mutt” cuddled around his feet.