Unlike some of the salary cap related moves they’ve made in the past, the Tampa Bay Lightning actually received some players back in the deal they made with the Nashville Predators that involved Ryan McDonagh. Defenseman Phillipe Myers and young forward Grant Mismash were the return in addition to the cap relief. Despite being in the organization mere months, Mismash finds himself at the 22nd spot in the Top 25 Under 25.
Our readers were a bit higher on him than the staff as he was left off of a couple of the writer’s lists altogether. That likely speaks more to the uncertainty of the organization’s prospects more so than Mismash’s actual talents. Once we get out of the top ten prospects there seems to be quite a lot of dart throwing going on in the rankings.
Mismash does have a pretty good pedigree. The Edina, Minnesota native is a product of the United States National Development program where he played with the likes of Brady Tkachuk, Josh Norris, and Quinn Hughes. After being drafted by the Predators in the second round of the 2017 draft he went on to play four seasons at the University of North Dakota, recording 71 points (32 goals, 39 assists) in 117 games.
He made his professional debut last season with the Milwaukee Admirals and scored 6 goals in 57 games while adding 6 assists. He’ll likely spend most of this season with the Syracuse Crunch.
There is a little bit of offense in the 6’0, 185 pound forward, but that’s not what is going to get him to the NHL. If Mismash is going to succeed in Syracuse and make it to Tampa it’s going to be through puck possession and defensive work. He projects to be a bottom-six forward and penalty killer. It’s not the most exciting role in the world, but it is extremely valuable.
Mismash can go into the boards and emerge with the puck and is willing to fight for position in front of the net. His skating isn’t elite, and that could be an issue as he moves up in competition, but for now it’s adequate. While his shot isn’t necessarily elite, it is better than the results showed last season. He did only manage 53 shots on goal last year with the Admirals, less than one shot a game.
There are some Ross Colton-vibes coming from some of the scouting reports. As in, there is enough offensive skill to score a few goals, but preventing the other team from scoring is going to be his calling card. Much like Colton, Mismash will probably begin the season centering either the third or fourth line in Syracuse.
His path to the Crunch, and potentially the Lightning, is one we’re seeing quite a bit of among recent Tampa Bay draft picks. Players that have spent time in the USHL that are then given time to develop at the university level. When they arrive at the AHL level, it seems they can adjust to things a little quicker than a player who has gone through the junior level. Age has something to do with that. Starting professional hockey at 22 or 23 is a lot different than doing it at 20.
A big bonus for Mismash would be if he could stay healthy while in Syracuse. Injuries have kind of dogged him throughout his career. A knee injury ended his 2018-19 season early. He also missed some time in his senior year at UND with an upper-body injury.
He’s off to a good start in the organization, having impressed some folks during the prospect development camp in July. Hopefully he can continue that in Syracuse this season.