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21 Days of 2021 NHL Draft Prospects: #9 — Mason McTavish

When he’s got the puck, watch out.

Peterborough Petes v Oshawa Generals Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images
Mason McTavish Fast Stats 2019-20
Lauren Kelly

Finishing one goal shy of the 30-goal margin, Peterborough Petes rookie sensation Mason McTavish led all 2003-born OHL rookies in scoring and tied-first in points this season (bested only by the 2004-born Shane Wright). Born in Switzerland while his father Dale was playing in the NLA and drafted fifth overall into the OHL in 2019, the dynamic offensive forward likely would have eclipsed that 30-goal mark had the OHL season not ended early.

The electrifying sniper recorded four game-winning goals and five tallies on the powerplay. McTavish finished sixth on his team in scoring (the Petes were exceptionally dangerous offensively this season, and McTavish was a big part of that). As far as international play went this season, McTavish recorded two goals and three points at the U-17s on Canada White’s top line (the highest finishing Canadian team at the tournament last November).

McTavish was scoring at will in the first half of the OHL season, recording 24 goals and 32 points in 35 games through 2019 (including a five point game on New Year’s Eve). When the calendar flipped to 2020, though his offensive production slowed. In the remaining 26 games of the season, McTavish only registered five goals and 10 points. Still, he was contributing in other ways — McTavish was nearly 60% in the faceoff circle this season and was still peppering goalies with pucks.

A likely 40-goal scorer next season, McTavish’s game is bolstered by his ridiculous (and pro-ready) shot and strength. Size is not an issue for him — when McTavish has the puck, he’s nearly impossible to push off of it. McTavish’s release is deceptive and he uses his fluid stride and agile edges to weave around the offensive zone before picking off corners of the net.

“One of the most gifted offensive players in the draft. He protects the puck real well but his greatest attribute is his shot. I haven’t seen a 15-year-old shoot the puck like Mason does.” [OHL Central Scouting]

Confident and in control, McTavish does it all offensively. Whether it’s taking the puck end-to-end or making nifty plays with the puck to open up space for himself and his teammates, McTavish is always a threat to score when he’s on the ice. He reads plays well and position himself for tap-in goals. An excellent puck-protector down low and along the boards, McTavish can also find his teammates with heavy, accurate passes when he doesn’t have the opportunity to get the puck off himself.

It’s incredibly likely that McTavish will be leading the offense in Peterborough next season — seven Petes hit or surpassed the 40-point mark this year, including McTavish, but only Nick Robertson is eligible to return to junior hockey next season (and odds are he could make the NHL out of training camp). McTavish played primarily on Peterborough’s third line this year, so taking over first-line center responsibilities next season would be a big opportunity in his NHL draft year.

Strengths: Shot, Strength, Vision

To Improve: Driving Offense, Consistency

Quotables

Mason demonstrates incredible offensive awareness, finding ways to get himself into high percentage scoring areas before shooting and finding open teammates with hard, accurate passes. He has a quick release, and an accurate, hard wrist shot. His quick hands and skill set in tight make him a consistent threat in the offensive zone when he has space. [2019 Black Book]

The rookie sensation is a pure sniper, and besides the much younger Wright, should lead all 2021 CHL Draft eligibles in goals. McTavish has a bomb of a shot, and man strength already. If he applies himself through the playoffs and into the summer, sky’s the limit on this potential 50-goal getter. [Sportsnet]

Mason is one of the purest goal scorers and has one of the best shots in this year’s age group. He will shoot the puck from anywhere, at any time. He has a hard snap shot, with an explosive release, and doesn’t need much time or space to get it on net. Mason protects the puck extremely well and is very hard to knock off it. He understands what it takes to score and will be a goal scorer at the next level. [OHL Central Scouting via The Peterborough Examiner]

Highlights

Statistics from Elite Prospects and the Ontario Hockey League.