2016-17 Team: Des Moines Buccaneers (#10)
Date of Birth: September 17, 1998
Place of Birth: King City, Ontario
Ht.: 5’11” Wt.: 179 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: Prospect is eligible for 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
- Future Considerations: 67th (2017 Draft Primer)
- NHL Central Scouting: 78th (NA, Final)
- NHL Central Scouting: 107th (NA, Mid-term)
- Craig Button: Unranked (March)
- Jeff Marek: Unranked (October)
- Bob McKenzie: Unranked (Mid-season)
- ISS: Unranked (May)
An offensive-defenseman, Des Moines Buccaneers defenseman Mario Ferraro doesn’t often get caught up ice. His speed and tenacity allows the University of Massachusetts commit to quickly make up ground – fast.
Ferraro has the ability to create offense from the blue line and havoc around the net. A bit undersized, Ferraro plays with an edge. When called upon, he can play a physical game and wins his share of battles in the corners and around the crease. Scouting reports suggest he plays bigger than his size. Over the next few years as he competes against stronger players, he will need to hit the weight room.
— RHA HOCKEY ACADEMY (@RHA_hockey) April 6, 2014
An elite USHL skater, Ferraro collected eight goals among 41 points in 60 regular-season games. He also was called for 42 penalty minutes. Known for reading the right plays, he has the footwork to smoothly change directions. However, scouts would like to see him develop a stronger shot on goal.
Consistency and a dedicated work ethic are characteristics coaches at all levels seek in a front-line defenseman. Those are traits Ferraro has demonstrated with the Buccaneers. One the USHL’s top offensive blueliners, Ferraro’s all-around talent and consistency continues to attract the attention of NHL brass.
NHL Draft Projection
Ferraro’s diverse style will attract an NHL organization to take a chance on the smallish defenseman. He can skate, defend and provide elements of grit. He is projected to be drafted as high as the second round and likely will be off the board by the middle rounds.
“He’s the same guy every night, you know what you’re gonna get. That’s his work ethic, and he can play a lot of minutes.” – Nate Weossner, Des Moines Buccaneers assistant coach
“Undersized two-way defender who is an excellent skater, with high-end hockey send, vision, and competitiveness. Plays physical like he is a much bigger guy, and doesn’t see each puck battle as one that he is at a disadvantage.” – Bill Placzek, www.draftsite.com
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Ferraro has the all-around tools and if he continues to develop, NHL scouts see him as a future top-4 defenseman. He has the ability to make quick decisions but will need to add strength to his shot to become more of a goal-scoring threat.
Risk – 2/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7.5/10, Defense – 8/10
Ferraro was selected to participate in the 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game and named to the 2016-17 USHL First All-Star Team and All-Rookie Team. He was picked an OJHL Second Team All-Prospect in 2015-16 and paced the Toronto Patriots to the 2015 Dudley Hewitt Cup.
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.