2015 Top 25 Under 25, #16: Matt Mistele

"You know, Edzo, he's a proven winner"

He's the first Memorial Cup champion from the Los Angeles Kings' system since Andrei Loktionov. Based on that, O predict his future is going to be... very unpredictable.

Rank Player DOB Nationality Draft Year/Position Current League 2014 Rank
16 Matt Mistele
10/17/1995 CAN 2014/180th overall (6th) OHL (Canada) Not Ranked

Matt Mistele probably moved up a few spots in this ranking thanks to the OHL playoffs and the aforementioned Memorial Cup, but his 2014-15 regular season didn't hurt his cause either. Mistele came in at #5 among LA prospects in NHLe-projected points, largely on the back of his 37 goals (more than anyone else in the organization at any level) during the OHL regular season. That includes 24 in 35 games with Plymouth and 13 in 25 games after a deadline move to Oshawa. When the OHL playoffs rolled around, Mistele's assist rate dropped quite a bit, but he kept lighting the lamp, and his 13 postseason goals were second only to... Connor McDavid. Basically, Mistele was Jeff Carter-lite, which is an appropriate comparison given those trade deadline stakes and the future pay-off.

Mistele's Generals went on to triumph in the OHL playoffs and run the table for the Memorial Cup, validating Oshawa's big move. (Fun fact: Oshawa gave up FIVE draft picks in the trade!) It also backed up LA's decision to draft Mistele with the 180th pick in 2014, which was a typical LA high-reward late-round selection. Mistele had a terrific draft minus-1 season in 2012-13, but his scoring dropped off considerably the next season along with his draft stock. Like Hudson Fasching and Nick Ebert before him, Mistele's past excellence was enough to earn him a shot with LA, and sure enough, his draft-plus-1 season showed some gas in the tank.

(I don't know if that's the correct metaphor, but I'm rolling with it.)

The biggest problem for Mistele is the position he plays. Left wing has been a bugaboo for the Kings in recent years, and as a result, the Kings have filled out the prospect ranks with promising wingers. Mistele is going to have to eventually get through the likes of Zykov, Kempe, and Mersch, to say nothing of the established guys already in LA. Mistele's definitely on a three or four-year plan, though, so he shouldn't worry too much. Also helpful: his size and raw ability will work in his advantage when tough decisions need to be made by the organization. Another 37 goals would work in his favor, too.