2011 NHL Draft Prospects: No. 24 Scott Mayfield
June 1, 2011 2 Comments
At some point in every professional sports draft’s first round, the talent levels off, and players turn from dominant, right-away performers to more project players – guys that have great potential, but who will require a great deal of practice and development over the upcoming years to make it in the big leagues.
Midway through the 2011 NHL Entry Draft’s first round, that might happen. However, that’s not to lessen the impact that players such as Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Scott Mayfield might have on the NHL. Playing in the United States League, Mayfield is one of the largest players in the league (6-foot-4), and one of the most consistent in his own zone. Not one to put up the points, Mayfield has posted just 35 points in 106 career USHL games. His plus/minus rating of minus-16 through two seasons also looks unimpressive at first glance. But at second glance, scouts realize that he is playing on one of the worst teams in the USHL – a team that has the third-worst record and gave up 38 more goals than they scored.
But it’s Mayfield’s physical play and his defensive zone coverage that makes scouts antsy to see what he can contribute to an NHL organization. “He plays the body well and is physical but not in an overly rambunctious way,” NHL Central Scouting’s Gary Eggleston said in an interview with NHL.com. “He can close off the forechecker up high and is controlled, poised and calm in his play. He plays like a seasoned veteran.”
At the beginning of February, the USHL released their conference all-star picks, and Mayfield was pleasantly surprised to be included on the list. “It’s nice to be recognized and have personal success, but all that really matters to me is what the team is doing and how we are pushing to make playoffs,” he wrote on his NHL.com blog. “I am just trying to focus all of my attention on doing everything I can to help my team be the best we possible can.”
“The big blueliner has been turning heads in every rink he has played in so far this year,” said one scout on Mayfield. “A hulking strong defender, Mayfield moves extremely well and already has the look of a top level pro. Mayfield will represent the USHL at the World Junior A Challenge in Penticton, BC and will gain even more exposure to NHL scouts. His ability to play in all ends of the rink and be an impact player in all situations will certainly move his name way up the draft list. Few players have the maturity and ability to adapt to the different styles and emotions that a game takes on, Mayfield can without missing a beat. With Mayfield already looking so strong the question will be how much better can he get, but as far as this year’s prospects go there are few players that are this ready for the NHL already.”
Unfortunately for Mayfield, there won’t be any playoffs this year for him to hone his skills. But that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to help Denver University next season when he suits up for the Pioneers in the fall. In fact, he’ll most likely be able to help any NHL team that drafts him this June.
Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.