Mittelstadt Series – Playmaking

Casey Mittelstadt’s vision and playmaking skills are at the top of the list for what make him such a dynamic prospect. He has probably the best vision I’ve personally seen in a prospect besides Connor McDavid. He often surprises teammates with the puck on their stick when they didn’t even see a passing lane, yet Mittelstadt finds them. He has the ability to find any tiny space in equipment, between a players legs, or under their stick, and he makes highly difficult passes while at top speed. He has a unique ability to create space for his teammates and immediately makes everyone around him better. In a few years I think he’ll be among the top 10 if not 5 passers in the league.

Mittelstadt has elite escapability and a great/active stick that is reminiscent of Pavel Datsyuk. He’s always in a dangerous position to steal the puck from the opponent and has the IQ to know what he’s doing with the puck before he even takes it.

The playmaking category consists of Mittelstadt using different areas of his skill set to create scoring chances for himself and his teammates.

  • Passing Ability (different variations)
  • Using offensive skillset (speed, hands,etc) to create
  • Takeaway ability

Passing Ability

Backdoor passes 

Mittelstadt has elite ability to cut out of the corner and use a soft pass to find a teammate for a goal. His vision and passing ability allow him to thread the needle and find teammates backdoor from all different passing positions both on the power-play and at even strength. These type of plays should be bread and butter for Mittelstadt and either Conor Sheary or Jeff Skinner on his wing.

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Escape-ability / backdoor vision

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Creating for Teammates

  • Mittelstadt shows great patience and vision not forcing the first passing option he saw, instead finding the trailing defenseman for a good scoring chance.

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  • Consistent throughout this project is highlights of defenders respecting Mittelstadt’s speed and backing up as he enters the zone. Sometimes he wires a shot in their face, sometimes he beats them wide, other times like so – he draws in all the attention creating time and space for a teammate in the slot.

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  • So smooth. The catch between the legs was great, but this pass to the inside is a common one in Mittelstadt’s toolbox and it always seems to be effective.

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Case in point: one of the best in the business at the pass to the inside while hitting a player in-stride.

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  • Quick hands into a nice pass inside.

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  • Mittelstadt starts with a change of speed before using a backhand toe-drag move on Quinn Hughes. The move quickly gets Mittelstadt’s back positioned towards Hughes, allowing him to survey the ice and his teammates entering the zone — finding one for a golden chance.

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  • Unreal poise here to basically pull the defenseman and goalie on a string before slivering a pass back the other way for a wide-open tap-in goal.

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  • Great awareness of the sliding defenseman and having the patience to wait for the lane to open up and find Scott Reedy backdoor.

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Creating for Himself

  • Mittelstadt burns a defenseman coming out of the zone allowing him to use his hands and shiftiness to sell a pass before ripping a quicker wrister through the five-hole.

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  • Great speed through the neutral zone that allows him to absolutely blow by the defenseman and just miss the top corner on a good attempt short-side.

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  • A common theme through these different series have been Mittelstadt’s consistency at attacking the middle of the ice. He uses his Patrick Kane-esque shiftiness to back up the defense and attack the middle for a shot again here.

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  • I captured this play from the playoff series vs Penn State. The dangle didn’t work due to a great stick by the defenseman, but when this stuff does work it’s going to lead to some fun plays.

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  • 1-on-1 ability vs a strong defender. Strength clearly not an issue.

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  • Great power-move out of the corner to escape a defenseman and give himself space to get a good shot that leads to a goal.

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  • Mittelstadt embarrasses a flat-footed defender shortly after catching a pass. He enters the zone with good pace, again backing up the defense. This opens up a lot of space for Pitlick in the slot, and Mittelstadt keeps track of the puck and follow through to pot the loose puck in OT.

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  • Stickhandling ability to get inside.

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Takeaways

I talked on this a bit above, but Casey Mittelstadt reminds me of Pavel Dastyuk in the way that he can use his stick as a tool to pick-pocket opponent players.

  • We saw the best example of Mittelstadt’s takeaway and playmaking ability first-hand at the World Juniors when he scored this beauty.

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  • This play is what makes me immediately think of Pavel Datsyuk. The way he snuck under the defender to steal the puck and find Rem Pitlick in the slot before he could even blink is vintage Datsyuk.

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Thanks for checking out this section of the Mittelstadt series! If this is the last section you’re checking out, I appreciate you following along. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated on twitter at either of the links below.

@JxredNHL @TheChargingBUF 

If you haven’t checked out the other 2 sections, you can find them at the main page HERE.

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