A gritty left winger with some slick mitts, Grant Mismash was an early cut from Team USA at the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase despite the fact he had led his gold medal-winning under-18 team in scoring four months prior.
After a successful freshman campaign with the University of North Dakota, Mismash was determined not to let history repeat itself at the 2018 event in Kamloops, B.C. “I’m kind of going in with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “Last year, seeing those older guys and how they go about their business, that’s what I’m trying to do at this camp.”
Mission accomplished. Mismash, who was selected in the second round, 61st overall, by the Nashville Predators at the 2017 draft, collected five points in eight games, starting with a two-point performance against Finland. “He wasn’t just a one-dimensional player,” said Team USA coach Mike Hastings. “He was good offensively, but he brought his game physically. He was hard to play against, and I thought we needed a bit more of that.”
In his freshman season at North Dakota, Mismash worked on developing a more well-rounded game. He wants to add other dimensions to his hardnosed approach. “It’s really difficult as a young guy to dominate physically,” he said. “I want to play on the penalty kill, be good in the defensive zone and just be good all around.”
The Edina-born Mismash is a native of the State of Hockey but chose to cross state lines for college rather than suiting up for the University of Minnesota. “I’m not going to lie,” he said, “I did like the Gophers, and I always wanted to play there. But once it got down to things, the culture at North Dakota is unbelievable, as are the coaches. It was pretty hard to turn down.”
As for his timeline for reaching the NHL, it’s a bit of a moving target. “It all kind of depends on what kind of year I have,” said Mismash, who has plenty of competition in Nashville’s deep prospect pool. “If I’m in college for three years, I’m fine with that. It’s just more time to develop. I’m taking it year by year.”
This story appears in the Prospects Unlimited 2018 issue of The Hockey News magazine.