2020-21 Team: EHC Olten/Peterborough Petes
Date of Birth: Jan. 30, 2003
Place of Birth: Zürich, Switzerland
Ht: 6-foot-2 Wt: 207 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
NHL Central Scouting: 2nd (amongst NA skaters)
Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 32nd
Peter Baracchini’s Top 100 March: 25th
Craig Button, TSN: 14th
Bob McKenzie, TSN: 11th
Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet: 9th
McTavish is one of the players who has suffered from the OHL not finding a way to play their 2020-21 season and has fallen on the draft boards of most pundits, but that could line him up to be one of the steals of the draft. In a sense, he is one of the lucky ones who could hop the pond and head over to Europe to play with EHC Olten in the Swiss League, the second-tier behind the National League.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
The 6-foot-2 centreman was born in Zürich, Switzerland, but is actually Canadian and spent time in minor hockey with the Ottawa Valley Titans before graduating to play U18 with the Pembroke Lumber Kings playing five games with the junior ‘A’ team.
McTavish was drafted fifth overall by the Peterborough Petes in 2019, where he finished second in rookie scoring with 42 points, tied with Declan McDonnell and one point ahead of Francesco Pinelli, both of the Kitchener Rangers. This still left him well short of the 66 points set by the rookie scoring winner Shane Wright, but it was a successful first season in the OHL nonetheless.
Spending part of the 2020-21 season with EHC Olton, McTavish suited up for 13 games, where he scored nine goals and added two assists for a grand total of 11 points before heading off to play for Team Canada at the U18 Worlds in Texas earlier this month. In his seven games at the tournament, McTavish was impressive, scoring five goals with six helpers.
Much like Quinton Byfield, McTavish has the size and the skill that NHL teams are looking for. Despite his size, he isn’t quite ready physically to jump right into the NHL next season, something that is pretty easy to tell when you watch him play against the second-tier talent in the Swiss League. That being said, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He does all of the little things in the offensive end that you want him to do. He battles for loose pucks, he gets to the front of the net, and he makes things happen. That is fantastic on its own, but what if I told you there was more?
McTavish is not just big, he’s also supremely talented. For a big player, he can skate, making him all the more dangerous. Add that to his good passing, shooting, hands and intelligence and you have a player that is the complete package offensively.
Of course, there are some things that aren’t as great as they could be, but for the most part, they can be ironed out with time. Defensively, McTavish seems to struggle at times and has a bit of a tendency to float around. He could also stand to benefit from putting just a little bit more effort into the backcheck sometimes, but this is something that I find comes and goes. EHC Olten has had him both killing penalties and on the power play too, so there is certainly many roles he can fill.
When McTavish does head back to Peterborough for the start of the OHL season in October, he will be one of the players to watch. He will be looking to build on a remarkable rookie season, and he stands a chance of being one of the better players in the league, as crazy as that might sound.
Mason McTavish – NHL Draft Projection
Most everyone has ranked McTavish as a mid to late first-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft, but there is one ranking that stands out from the rest, and that is Eliteprospects.com ranking him number seven on their draft board. With the size and skill combination possessed by McTavish, he likely would have been inside the top ten range had the OHL had their season as normal and you shouldn’t be surprised to see him go earlier than most are predicting.
“His toolbox is highlighted by a bomb of a shot, which he can get off quickly and accurately from anywhere in various scenarios. However, the most impressive part of his game is his ability to put himself in high danger areas in the offensive zone. Once he is there, he uses his NHL-ready frame and strong offensive instincts to generate scoring chances for himself and his teammates. McTavish shows flashes of brilliance in transition as well, using his powerful stride and stickhandling ability to push the play forward quickly. However, these moments come less often than you would hope for, as consistency in his game seems to be the major piece waiting to develop. If he can contribute more to his team’s defensive zone play and transition to offense on a consistent basis, McTavish projects as a solid top 6 scoring winger that could also be a lethal force on the powerplay.” – Jacob Barker/DobberProspects
“Plays heavy and hard in every facet of the game. His great hockey sense makes him effective in all situations.” – Sam Cosentino/Sportsnet
- Scoring ability and shooting
- Gets to the front of the net and makes things happen
- The offensive side of the ice
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Bulking up and growing into his frame
- The defensive side of the ice
Seeing how far McTavish has fallen on some draft boards, he’s my pick for being the steal of the draft. That kind of player you ask yourself how he went that late when you look back at it in the next five to 10 years. He needs to grow into his frame and, as he develops, will become more physical. Pairing that size, speed, and skill together will make for a dangerous hockey play and there is no telling just how good he can get. McTavish should be able to at least become a serviceable NHL forward who can be leaned on offensively.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 5/5
While he doesn’t have a long list of accolades, his list is still impressive. McTavish was awarded for his rookie season by being named to the OHL’s Second All-Rookie Team. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the U18 Worlds in Texas, where he was also named one of Canada’s top-three players.
- Gold medal in hand, Mason McTavish’s stock continues to rise approaching NHL entry draft (The Recorder & Times, 05/12/2021)