2016 NHL Draft: Adam Mascherin Fighting to be First Rounder

Adam Mascherin is a prospect to keep an eye on heading into this year's NHL Draft. Photo By: Terry Wilson/OHL Images http://www.gthlcanada.com/article/breakout-star-of-the-week-adam-mascherin

Adam Mascherin is a prospect to keep an eye on heading into this year’s NHL Draft.
Photo By: Terry Wilson/OHL Images

2016 NHL Draft: Adam Mascherin Fighting to be First Round Pick

When the Canadian Hockey League announced the players filling out the rosters for the 2016 BMO Prospect Game, Many were left wanting more. Obviously, two teams can only hold so many players on their rosters, but something does not feel right when Noah Gregor of the Moose Jaw Warriors is on Team Cherry, and Adam Mascherin is not playing at all. 

You could make a case for many other 2016 NHL draft eligible prospects not playing in the game on Thursday, January 28th. Victor Mete has been an underrated factor of the successful London Knights, Vladimir Kuznetsov of the Acadie-Bathurst Titans in the QMJHL has had himself a quietly productive season this year, which could have earned him an invite.

With Mascherin, the case seems to be all in his favor. He leads the Rangers in points and according to prospect-stats.com, is 9th in goals created and 13th in goals created per game. His production is a clear plus and his improved defensive zone play is also intriguing to say the least.

His larger role with the team has allowed him to play more defensive minutes, he told the Kitchener Rangers website.

“The coaching staff is putting me out there and letting me prove that I can not only play in the offensive end, but also in my own end as well.”

The more time he has gotten in his own end has generated confidence for Mascherin. He has grown from being a player with just a very good shot to an offensive threat and an asset in getting the puck back in the D-zone and moving it out with control. 

Mascherin added “Coach Van Ryn is giving me a lot of opportunities, and that has given me a lot of confidence, I feel like a new guy as opposed to last year. I think my game is improving.”

Obviously, his two-way play is not the attribute that will get Adam Mascherin drafted this year. That would be his elite shot and release. What started as an unknown gem to his play has turned into something that other teams game plan for when facing the Rangers.

Kitchener Rangers coach Mike Van Ryn has described his shot as an “NHL level” shot. He does a great job of finding open ice and using his release to beat goaltenders down on the ice a little too early.

Or if the goalie has the top of the net covered well, Mascherin can beat them down low through the five hole. With this particular goal, he does a great job of cutting to the middle to open up the goalies legs. He times the shot perfectly as he beats Steelhead goaltender Jack Flinn through the wickets.

To add to those simple, yet impressive goals, Mascherin’s hand-eye coordination is above average. First he collects the slot pass by Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco. That attempt is unsuccessful and the puck flies skyward. Without reaching above the crossbar, Mascherin swats and redirects the puck into the net for a pretty cool goal.

So why isn’t Adam Mascherin seen as a 1st round talent to some? His size puts him in the ongoing narrative that small forwards in junior hockey will not transfer their success to the NHL. Yet Mitch Marner was selected 4th overall last year.

If Adam Mascherin had a bigger frame he would be much more attractive to scouts. Physical play isn’t a strong suit for Mascherin, but it is not something that he lacks in his game; however, with more pounds, he would be able to hold his own on the ice better than he does now.

That should not take away from how he has taken over offensively this year for Kitchener. He has great hands that could make any defender in the Ontario Hockey League look foolish. His power is overlooked, but it is there. He wins battles in the corner and on seldom occasions takes face-offs.

God forbid there should be an injury that keeps a player out of the BMO Top Prospects Game, but Adam Mascherin could really use that spotlight to beef up his draft stock. The only way he will play in the game is if someone comes out due to injury, unfortunately.