With the third pick of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, the Anaheim Ducks have selected Mason McTavish from Peterborough Petes of the OHL.

About Mason McTavish

There isn’t a player that has the mindset and work ethic every time he is on the ice than Mason McTavish. He had an impressive rookie season, recording the second-most goals (29) and points (42). Despite having no season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and in only 13 games with EHC Olten, he made the most of his draft year.

Already with an intimidating frame at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds, McTavish made sure to make his presence felt at the World U18 Hockey Championships. He helped lead a dominant Team Canada to a gold medal where he finished the tournament with five goals and 11 assists in seven games.

THW Prospect Profile Excerpt

“McTavish is one of the players who has suffered from the OHL not finding a way to play their 2020-21 season and has fallen on the draft boards of most pundits, but that could line him up to be one of the steals of the draft. In a sense, he is one of the lucky ones who could hop the pond and head over to Europe to play with EHC Olten in the Swiss League, the second-tier behind the National League.

“The 6-foot-2 centreman was born in Zürich, Switzerland, but is actually Canadian and spent time in minor hockey with the Ottawa Valley Titans before graduating to play U18 with the Pembroke Lumber Kings playing five games with the junior ‘A’ team.

“McTavish was drafted fifth overall by the Peterborough Petes in 2019, where he finished second in rookie scoring with 42 points, tied with Declan McDonnell and one point ahead of Francesco Pinelli, both of the Kitchener Rangers. This still left him well short of the 66 points set by the rookie scoring winner Shane Wright, but it was a successful first season in the OHL nonetheless. 

“Spending part of the 2020-21 season with EHC Olton, McTavish suited up for 13 games, where he scored nine goals and added two assists for a grand total of 11 points before heading off to play for Team Canada at the U18 Worlds in Texas earlier this month. In his seven games at the tournament, McTavish was impressive, scoring five goals with six helpers.

“Much like Quinton Byfield, McTavish has the size and the skill that NHL teams are looking for. Despite his size, he isn’t quite ready physically to jump right into the NHL next season, something that is pretty easy to tell when you watch him play against the second-tier talent in the Swiss League. That being said, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He does all of the little things in the offensive end that you want him to do. He battles for loose pucks, he gets to the front of the net, and he makes things happen. That is fantastic on its own, but what if I told you there was more?

“McTavish is not just big, he’s also supremely talented. For a big player, he can skate, making him all the more dangerous. Add that to his good passing, shooting, hands and intelligence and you have a player that is the complete package offensively.

“Of course, there are some things that aren’t as great as they could be, but for the most part, they can be ironed out with time. Defensively, McTavish seems to struggle at times and has a bit of a tendency to float around. He could also stand to benefit from putting just a little bit more effort into the backcheck sometimes, but this is something that I find comes and goes. EHC Olten has had him both killing penalties and on the power play too, so there is certainly many roles he can fill. 

“When McTavish does head back to Peterborough for the start of the OHL season in October, he will be one of the players to watch. He will be looking to build on a remarkable rookie season, and he stands a chance of being one of the better players in the league, as crazy as that might sound.”

Full player profile can be found here

How This Affects the Ducks’ Plans

The Ducks are getting a quality centreman that does whatever it takes to win. McTavish’s will and determination to be a difference maker every time he’s on the ice is what makes him a highly regarded prospect. Whether it’s laying a massive hit to force a turnover or using his already NHL-like shot with a quick release to score a goal, he’s in the centre of everything.

With McTavish in the fold, he immediately projects as their top centre prospect. While he may not see top-line minutes, he’s definitely going to be a an effective second-line centre. Already boasting a promising prospect pool like Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zebras, they now have a strong foundation for the future up the middle to compliment Zegras as a potential offensive duo.

This article first appeared on The Hockey Writers and was syndicated with permission.

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