Kitchener Rangers wing Adam Mascherin is another proven goal scorer in the OHL who has enough promising potential to be tracking for the late first/early second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. This post will do a deep dive on Mascherin and attempt to make the case for him to land inside the top-30 selections.
Adam Mascherin, LW/C
Height/Weight: 5-9/202 Shoots: L Born: June 6, 1998 in Maple, Ontario
Current stats Games: 57 Goals: 34 Assists: 41 Points: 75 Penalty Minutes: 12
Background: Mascherin played minor hockey with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens and Vaughan Kings. He was the second overall selection by the Kitchener Rangers in the 2014 OHL draft, taken one pick behind Jakob Chychrun. He plays for one of the OHL’s more storied teams, which has been in operation since 1963, beginning existence as a junior-sponsored club of the NY Rangers. The Rangers have won a pair of Memorial Cups in their team history- in 1983 and 2003- and they’re in the running to win the OHL this season and make a run for 2016 under head coach and former NHL defenseman Mike Van Ryn. Some of the greatest players in Kitchener Rangers history: Bill Barber, Brian Bellows, Mike Richards, Larry Robinson, Al MacInnis, Scott Stevens.
Kirk’s film study: Mascherin is a short, but thick-bodied wing whose lack of height does not deter him from making an offensive impact regularly in the highly competitive OHL. He’s not a dynamic skater and has a bit of short and choppy stride, but he gets where he needs to go quickly enough and is slippery elusive in the way he evades checks and darts in and out of skating lanes, forcing defenders to execute fluid footwork and transitions to stay with him. He’s an above average puck handler who exhibits impressive control at speed and especially in tight spaces. Mascherin possesses an exceptional, NHL-caliber shot and release at age 17. He hides his release point and does not tip his hand when firing pucks on net; he keeps his head up and gets impressive flex on his shots, wiring them into the top corners with relative ease. Has that killer instinct you look for in pure scorers- finds ways to get up under guys who are trying to separate him from the puck and will fight through traffic to get shots on net. Has the vision and creativity to set up plays from the wing and makes crisp passes on either side of the stick. Although not tall, uses stocky build to power through checks and low center of gravity means he’s tougher to knock off the puck than he looks. Compete levels can waver at times- needs to keep his feet moving and rev his motor on high to be at his best. Mascherin’s height will scare some teams off, and he doesn’t have the explosive wheels that is ideal in a smallish frame. He makes it all work because he’s so dangerous with the puck on his stick and strong on his skates- he will take hits to make the play and forces opponents to account for him when he’s on the ice.
Rogers TV has a good profile on Mascherin here:
Statistical outlook: Mascherin is third in points among the OHL’s draft eligible players with 75 points. His 34 goals are second only to Alex DeBrincat, while 26 of his 41 assists are primary assists. His primary points rank 16th among all OHL players while his primary points per game rank 10th (source: Dominic Tiano). Another undersized forward with a thick build from the Kitchener Rangers- Jeff Skinner– scored 70 goals in his draft year (he went 7th overall to Carolina) with 50 in 64 regular season games with 20 in 20 playoff contests- so Mascherin isn’t at that level, nor is he going to be a top-10 selection in Buffalo. However, like Skinner, Mascherin is criminally underrated by Central Scouting in their mid-term rankings- 57th is pretty low for a player of his offensive acumen. They did the same thing to Skinner in 2010, who was well outside even the most acceptable range of selections and obviously- the Hurricanes made that projection look foolish.
The view from the others:
“When you go to the games and he’s scoring, which is quite a few, you come away impressed with him. But when he’s not scoring, you have to make an effort to find him.”- NHL scout
“Mascherin has an elite level shot. What makes it even more dangerous is that he has the ability to put himself into open ice and use his lightning quick release to get that shot off, and with accuracy. He is a powerful skater with deceptive speed who can move north/south as well as east/west. He has excellent puck possession skills with an ability to slow down the play and create lanes to find teammates.”- Dominic Tiano, OHL analyst
“Pro release/shot. Nose for the net and stronger on the puck all the time. Improved skating. Hates to lose. Smart.”- Mike Farwell, Radio 570 News Kitchener and Kitchener Rangers play-by-play announcer
“Size will be of concern but he is built like a tank and has incredible strength. He uses that strength in spite of his height to win battles along the walls. He is not afraid of the dirty areas and will not shy away from playing a physical game. His defensive game has improved markedly over last season and continues to be a work in progress.”- Tiano
The case for Mascherin: Scoring is king, and this kid provides it.
He wasn’t the second overall OHL draft pick by accident, though the fact that he essentially stopped growing when he reached major junior hasn’t exactly helped his NHL draft stock. Having said that, he’s such an advanced shooter with the vision and creativity to make things happen on every shift. He can speed the pace up or slow things down and has such a quick stick that he’s very difficult to defend against. Even if you try to put the body on him, he’s likely to just bounce off the check or in many cases hit you before you can hit him.
Watch the way he slides through seams on defenses and unleashes rockets and lasers from outside the circles, between the hashmarks, at the top of the paint- you name it. Mascherin’s sublime hands are among the absolute best the NHL draft class of 2016 has to offer.
This guy just seems to ooze the kinds of attributes that the Boston Bruins in particular are looking for these days- a player who can pile on the goals from the wing, but who is versatile enough to play center if need be.
If he isn’t taken on Friday night in primetime, it’s hard to imagine Mascherin not being one of the first three to five selections in the second round. If the Bruins keep both firsts, it makes sense to take the best possible defenseman first, but if Mascherin is on the board for that second selection, then he’s one of those classic upside/swing-for-the-fences type picks.