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Top UND prospect Grant Mismash readies for NHL Draft

Grant Mismash will be in the United Center in Chicago on Friday night, waiting to see if he extends UND's run of first-round NHL draft picks to four years in a row.

Grant Mismash skates the puck up the ice in a game earlier this season with the U.S. Under-18 team. Mismash is UND's top draft prospect. Photo by Rena Laverty/USA Hockey.
Grant Mismash skates the puck up the ice in a game earlier this season with the U.S. Under-18 team. Mismash is UND's top draft prospect. Photo by Rena Laverty/USA Hockey.
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Grant Mismash will be in the United Center in Chicago on Friday night, waiting to see if he extends UND's run of first-round NHL draft picks to four years in a row.

Some draft projections have UND's top prospect sneaking into the late first round.

Most have him going in the second round.

"Obviously, it's going to be an exciting time," Mismash said. "It will be a little more nerve-racking when I get all in there and seated and it starts to go, but it should be fun, though."

If Mismash does go in the first round, he will be UND's seventh first-round pick since 2010 and 20th overall.

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If he does not, next year will be just the second UND team in the last 15 years without an NHL first-round draft pick on the roster (the other was 2009-10).

No matter where he goes, Mismash has potential to jump into UND's lineup next year and add a goal-scoring ability that will be much-needed after the NHL signings of Tyson Jost and Brock Boeser, who combined for 25 percent of UND's goals last season.

Mismash is a 6-foot, 181-pound winger, who was the top scorer and prospect out of the U.S. Under-18 team.

The Edina, Minn., product scored 26 goals and had 61 points in 65 games for the U18s, which capped their season with a gold medal at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in April.

One NHL scout described Mismash as a player who can compete for a spot in UND's top two lines next season.

"UND fans will like him because he will be physical and because he can score," an NHL scout told the Herald. "He's a good blend of skill and high compete. He's got a great shot and a knack for scoring goals. He can beat goalies with a deceptive first shot and he can score the garbage goals, too. He's got legit, hard skill in that he can score in the hard areas around the paint. He's also really competitive, spunky and physical. He's a bit of a rat and will agitate opponents.

"He needs a lot of work in the weight room and in the details away from the rink. He practices hard, but hasn't bought into the strength, conditioning and nutrition side yet. On the ice, his habits have to get better. He can't cheat or chase pucks to bad spots."

Mismash has spent the last couple of weeks in Grand Forks getting to know his teammates-including roommate Jordan Kawaguchi-and getting a feel for his future home.

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"It was fun to see around a little bit and be with the team," said Mismash, who is expected to arrive in Chicago today. "It was fun for sure. Pretty much the whole team was there, so it was a good time."

But for the next few days, he'll head to Chicago with his family to find out which NHL team will own his rights.

Mismash attended the NHL Combine earlier this month in Buffalo. He interviewed with 25 of 31 teams, including his hometown Minnesota Wild, who are the only NHL team to have never picked a UND player in franchise history.

The Wild don't pick until the third round, though, and Mismash is expected to be gone by then.

Mismash will likely attend the summer development camp of whichever team takes him in the draft. He'll compete in the U.S. World Junior summer camp as well before heading to campus in the fall.

"I want to go in there and be a big player and get a lot of ice time and play how I know I can play," Mismash said. "Hopefully, I can make a big impact on the team and hopefully, as a team, we can do some special things throughout the year and make a run for a championship. That's what I expect out of myself and as a team. It should be a fun year."

Schlossman has covered college hockey for the Grand Forks Herald since 2005. He has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors as the top beat writer for the Herald's circulation division four times and the North Dakota sportswriter of the year once. He resides in Grand Forks. Reach him at bschlossman@gfherald.com.
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