We are in the late rounds of the 2018 NHL Draft and the New Jersey Devils have made their selection in the sixth round. The Devils selected center Mitchell Hoelscher from the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League with the 172nd overall pick. The left handed center is coming off of his first season in the OHL. Let’s get to know more about Mitchell Hoelscher.
Who Is Mitchell Hoelscher?
According to his OHL page, Hoelscher was born on January 27, 2000 and comes from Elora, Ontario. He is listed at 6’0, 158 lbs. and is a left handed center. He had a brief OHL stint in 2016-17 with Ottawa where he put up 2 goals in 6 games. During his rookie season in 2017-18 he put up 10 goals and 18 assists in 67 regular season games. He averaged 1.56 shots per game and won 47.64% of his faceoffs. In the playoffs he had a goal and an assist in 5 games. As we can see from his EliteProspects page, he came up through the Waterloo Wolves youth system and played with the Elmira Sugar Kings in the GOJHL prior to entering the OHL. He doesn’t have any experience in international hockey as of right now. On EliteProspects we can see that Hoelscher was ranked 81st by Hockey Prospect, 107th by Future Considerations, 149th by ISS Hockey, 134th by McKeen’s, and 62nd among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
What Others Say About Mitchell Hoelscher
Earlier today, OHL prospects guru Brock Otten tweeted this about Hoelscher when he was mentioning prospects he has interest in on Day 2 of the draft:
Second is Mitchell Hoelscher. Tremendous character forward who brings energy in all three zones. Excelled in the second half with more offensive responsibility. Think there is a lot of untapped potential as he matures with a strong young Ottawa 67's team.— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) June 23, 2018
Otten had Hoelscher ranked as the 17th best prospect out of the OHL this year. Here is some of what he wrote about the young center:
First 37 games of the season: 2 goals and 6 assists. Final 30 games: 8 goals and 12 assists. That’s a pretty significant jump in production and helps to explain why Hoelscher was one of the greater risers among OHL’ers in this year’s draft rankings. But even when he wasn’t hitting the score sheet at the start of the year, he was still a noticeable player (check out my description of him in my midseason rankings). Brought energy in all three zones, tenaciousness on the penalty kill, and a real effectiveness on the backcheck and in the defensive end. As he was given more responsibility as the 2nd line center later in the year, we really started to see him come out of his shell. Confidence with the puck improved ten fold and we started to see the type of offensive potential that he possesses. Not only is his hockey sense excellent, but he has good hands too. We also saw him play with a lot more intensity; dare I say almost pest like. This kid has everything and is such a well rounded player. He’s just so slight right now. Strength is an issue. But that’s going to improve and as it does, just how much better can this guy get? Ottawa is going to be crazy good (likely) over the next two seasons and Hoelscher will be a critical component.
Dominic Tiano of OHL Writers has this profile on Hoelscher. Here is some of what he wrote about the player:
Hoelscher plays the game with a tenacious motor and never quit work ethic. At 158 pounds, he obviously needs to add a lot of bulk to his frame, and when he does, he’ll have more confidence to crash and bang and add more physicality to his game.
Hoelscher is such a smart player, he easily makes the adjustment to play whatever role he is asked to play. He can certainly keep up playing the skilled game with more offensively gifted players, or he can adjust a play a more defensive game if the situation calls for it. His tenacity, ability to adjust and hockey smarts make him very effective on the penalty kill.
Offensively, Hoelscher sees the ice extremely well. He can find open lanes and make a very good pass to set up teammates. He possesses a very deceptive shot that can catch netminders off guard.
My Initial Reaction of the Pick
Overall, I am happy with this pick. Hoelscher was projected by most to go a bit earlier in the draft so getting him this late is nice. Like all late round prospects he’s far from a finished product and has areas of his game that need work. I like that he already is a character player that can play a two-way game and perhaps has another level of offensive waiting to be untapped. He was a noticeable prescence on the Ottawa PK this season and seems to have the defensive game down well at this point in his career. He definitely needs some time to get stronger and fill out his frame. Hopefully he can build off of his rookie season and develop his offensive game over the next few seasons. Hoelscher is another prospect the Devils will have to be patient with but he could have some nice upside as a reliable center. For where they got him, it’s absolutely a fine selection in my opinion.
Now that you’ve read my initial reaction and know a bit about the prospect, let me know what you think of the selection in the comments. Do you agree or disagree with the pick? What are your expectations for this player going forward? Also, please vote in the poll below to let us know how you feel about the pick. Thank you for reading!
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The Devils drafted Mitchell Hoelscher 172nd overall! What do you think about the pick?
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