Mitchell Stephens THW Close-up:
Team: Saginaw Spirit (OHL)
Hometown: Peterborough, ON
Birthdate: February 5, 1997
Height: 6’0″ Weight: 187lbs
Draft Eligibility: 2015 1st year eligible
THW Ranking: 48th
NHL CS (North America): 112th
Future Considerations: 66nd
Hockey Prospect: 51st
Last Word on Sports: 58th
A very intriguing prospect in the sense that he is one of the more difficult prospects to predict where he’ll land on draft day. As evidenced by his draft rankings by various experts, there is a large spectrum of opinion on Stephens.
He’s a talented two way player with exceptional speed, a quick release and the ability to contribute at both ends of the rink.
He also possesses a good work ethic and leadership skills as he has worn a letter at every level. He was captain of the Toronto Marlboros as well as the U18 Canada squad this spring. He also wore an ‘A’ for the Spirit.
He is still considered a raw prospect with some maturity to come in his game, likely the hesitation by some in his ranking. However he has shown to be a player quick to improve, which will make whatever team that drafts him quite happy no matter where he is selected.
“A strong offensive player who has the perfect amount of resiliency, character, and attitude to play in key roles and not back down. Nimble skater with a threatening top speed. Physically willing to pursue the puck in the hard areas of the ice. Smart and crafty defensively. Very good hands and puck skills. Quick, accurate release on his shot that can fool a lot of goalies. All-in-all, an offensive, upwardly mobile presence that the opposition can’t let out of their sight”
Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
“Mitchell Stephens is among the fastest players in this draft class. He wins a ton of races whether they be short ones to loose pucks, or being first on the puck on a longer forecheck due to a great first step, tremendous acceleration and great top end speed. He can really fly out there, and this also makes him deadly off the rush. If defenders arent careful he will beat them to the outside and cut to the net. As defenceman have to back off him to protect against that speed, he can use them as a screen, and get off a strong shot. Stephens also has very good agility and edge work which allows him to get by defenders both with and without the puck. He has a powerful lower body which gives him good balance and makes him hard to knock off the puck. He can fight through checks, and win board battles in the offensive and defensive zone”
Ben Kerr, Last Word on Sports
“One of the draft’s best forecheckers, Stephens uses his speed and hockey sense to get in on pucks quickly and that trait should make him valuable middle-six attacker capable of playing in all situations. Stephens is a high-character player with a competitive will-to-win and that attribute ensures that he’ll likely be an impact player when crunch time strikes. Stephens had a bit of an offensive surge as captain of Canada’s Under-18 team, continuing from a strong offensive second half. He was a fantastic scorer in his pre-draft season and he may just be beginning to tap into a promising offensive half. Look for Stephens to be a mid-2nd or early-3rd round pick.”
Brendan Ross, Dobber Prospects
Where He’ll End Up in June:
Based on the variety in opinion Stephens could go anywhere from the 2nd to the 5th round on draft day. The most likely position would be a late 2nd to early 3rd round selection.
- 2-3 years
- Risk: 3/5 Reward: 4/5
- 2nd line two way centre
- Quick release
- Work ethic
Flaws/Aspects to Improve:
- Awareness in all zones
- Offensive: 7/10
- Defensive: 7/10
With his speed and forechecking ability as well as his quick release and wrist shot, he has a similar game to Anaheim’s Ryan Kesler
Carl covers the Edmonton Oilers for THW as well as providing additional prospect coverage. Follow him on twitter @carlTHW, connect on Facebook or contact at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions, comments or if you’re interested in him writing for you.