Mason McTavish is a man amongst boys, both in physical stature and maturity. He is one of the several players that the Calgary Flames may choose to select with their 12th overall selection in the 2021 NHL Draft on July 23.
The 6’2, 207 pound left-handed center played 13 games for EHC Olten of the Swiss League due to the cancellation of the 2020-21 Ontario Hockey League season. His OHL rights belong to the Peterborough Petes. In Switzerland McTavish posted nine goals and 11 points in those 13 games before jetting off to the Under-18 World Hockey Championships in Texas. McTavish centered Canada’s second line with Logan Stankoven and 15-year-old phenom Connor Bedard. McTavish posted five goals and six assists in 7 games, as he helped captain Canada to their first gold medal at the event since 2013. In his first full season in the OHL as a 16-year-old, the power forward scored 29 goals in 57 games, finishing as the Petes’ sixth leading scorer and enough for him to be named to the OHL All-Rookie team.
In terms of McTavish’s play style, he is very feisty and doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas of the game. According to EliteProspects 2021 NHL Draft Guide McTavish “makes the right play at the right time and in the right place every single shift. He moves one way, drags the defender that way, makes them turn their feet, and then passes to supporting teammates in the opposite direction. He’s a net-front driven forward with a real knack for pouncing on loose pucks and banging rebounds home. McTavish’s unrelenting work rate makes him a constant threat without the puck, too.” He also posses an elite shot that allows him to score goals at a rapid pace at any level. It is also very accurate to go along with McTavish’s power. He is the definition of a ‘meat and potatoes’ type player. He is an excellent stickhandler and has no problem attacking heavy-traffic areas, but he makes the smart play instead of trying to stickhandle his way through and make the fancy pass.
In terms of skating, McTavish is a solid, but not outstanding skater. He will never be mistaken for a burner. He does have a good first step and is able to accelerate quickly. He is also well balanced and powerful on his feet due to a strong lower body, which allows him to thwart off defenders while he’s in possession of the puck and also makes him harder to move away from the front of the net. One thing I noticed during the U-18 tournament was how solid McTavish was defensively. He works extremely hard on the backcheck and gives good support to his defencemen down low, while also giving them a quick option for a break out pass to start the transition the other way. He’s very good in the face-off dot, he was tasked with almost every defensive zone draw for Canada and was relied upon often to shut down the other teams top lines, while also contributing at a high rate offensively.
I project McTavish to become a top nine center in the NHL, with a play style similar to that of Nazem Kadri or Jeff Carter. Two players that can contribute at both ends of the ice and are a pain to play against.
Here are some of Mason McTavish's best highlights from the past two seasons.
Stay tuned for profile number 4 tomorrow!