ISS Ranks Top 30 Freshmen
Hockey scouting service identifies best in a talented rookie class.

CJHL Player of the Year Cale Makar is one of two Massachusetts defensemen in the top 15.

A pair of top-eight NHL Draft selections and two more players who could be selected that high in June headline ISS Hockey’s ranking of the top 30 freshmen in NCAA hockey for 2017-18.

Minnesota’s Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie, Minn./Green Bay-USHL) earned the No. 1 spot from ISS Hockey, edging out Massachusetts defenseman Cale Makar (Calgary, Alta./Brooks-AJHL). Those two were selected eighth and fourth, respectively, in the 2017 NHL Draft.

ISS Director of Scouting Dennis MacInnis has high expectations for Mittelstadt and Makar.

“Mittelstadt will add instant offense to Gophers’ lineup; he is very explosive and will challenge the opposing defensemen one-on-one at this level,” MacInnis said. “Makar is an exceptional skater who loves to carry the puck and put defenders on their heels. UMass is staying young this season, with a roster set to include up to 11 freshmen. Look for Makar to have immediate impact.”

Prospects for the 2018 NHL Draft followed in the next two spots in the top 30, occupied by Michigan’s Quinn Hughes (Orlando, Fla./U.S. NTDP) and Boston University’s Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./U.S. NTDP). Hughes’s Michigan teammate, Josh Norris (Oxford, Mich./U.S. NTDP), rounded out the top five.

Hughes will have NHL scouts following the Wolverines closely.

“Watch for Top 2018 NHL draft eligible Quinn Hughes to make seamless transition to Big Ten hockey,” MacInnis said. “He’s extremely smart, handles the forecheck ease and isn’t easily rattled. He makes quality decisions with the puck and plays with confidence. While not the biggest guy, he uses his IQ and skating ability to shut down attackers.”

Eighteen schools have a player featured in the top 30, led by Boston University (five) and Wisconsin (three). Twenty-seven of the top 30 have been drafted by NHL teams, with 18 franchises represented by prospects in the rankings. Chicago and San Jose lead all teams with three draft picks each in the top 30.

Defensemen made up half of the 60 NCAA players selected in the 2017 NHL Draft, and similarly make up half of this list. Twelve forwards and three goaltenders round out the selections.

With the top 30 made up of 1998 and ’99 birthdates, MacInnis also offered College Hockey Inc. ISS Hockey’s top-five ’97s in the freshman class:

  1. Cornell forward Kyle Betts (Flesherton, Ont./Powell River-BCHL)
  2. North Dakota goaltender Peter Thome (Minneapolis, Minn./Waterloo-USHL/CBJ)
  3. Union forward Jack Adams (Boxford, Mass./Fargo-USHL/DET)
  4. Minnesota Duluth forward Nick Swaney (Lakeville, Minn./Waterloo-USHL/MIN)
  5. UMass Lowell defenseman Croix Evingson (Anchorage, Alaska/Shreveport-NAHL/WPG)

Many of these freshmen will make their NCAA debuts this weekend or next as the NCAA season begins.

ISS Hockey Top 30 Freshmen
Rank Name School Pos. NHL Rights DOB
1. Casey Mittelstadt Minnesota C BUF 11/22/98
2. Cale Makar Massachusetts RD COL 10/30/98
3. Quinn Hughes Michigan LD Draft elig. 10/14/99
4. Brady Tkachuk Boston University C Draft elig. 9/16/99
5. Josh Norris Michigan C SJ 5/5/99
6. David Farrance Boston University RD NSH 6/23/99
7. Shane Bowers Boston University C OTT 7/30/99
8. Dylan Samberg Minnesota Duluth LD WPG 1/24/99
9. Jack Badini Harvard C/LW ANA 1/19/98
10. Cayden Primeau Northeastern G MTL 8/11/99
11. Ben Mirageas Providence LD NYI 5/8/99
12. Grant Mismash North Dakota LW NSH 2/19/99
13. Evan Barratt Penn State C CHI 2/18/99
14. Scott Reedy Minnesota C SJ 4/4/99
15. Mario Ferraro Massachusetts LD SJ 9/17/98
16. Cameron Crotty Boston University RD ARI 5/5/99
17. Matthew Cairns Cornell LD EDM 4/27/98
18. Mikey Anderson Minnesota Duluth LD LA 5/25/99
19. Max Gildon New Hampshire LD FLA 5/17/99
20. Sean Dhooghe Wisconsin C Draft elig. 3/9/99
21. Linus Weissbach Wisconsin LW BUF 4/19/98
22. Bryce Misley Vermont C MIN 9/5/99
23. Reilly Walsh Harvard RD NJ 4/21/99
24. Keith Petruzzelli Quinnipiac G DET 2/9/99
25. Matt Hellickson Notre Dame LD NJ 3/21/98
26. Kasper Kotkansalo Boston University LD DET 11/16/98
27. Parker Foo Union LW CHI 9/12/98
28. Jeremy Swayman Maine G BOS 11/24/98
29. Tyler Inamoto Wisconsin LD FLA 5/6/99
30. Jake Ryczek Providence RD CHI 3/19/98