From Minnesota to Denver, Scott Mayfield’s journey is just beginning.
The son of a Denver University grad, a Pioneers jersey hung above the younger Scott’s bed, where he dreamt of donning those same colours one day in college hockey. But even before stepping on USHL ice, the NCAA came knocking.
“My dad graduated law school there, so that definitely played a part in it,” the young blueliner said of his commitment to Denver University, come September. “But the coaching staff is great; I love the way they coach. They kind of coach to how I play, within a winning tradition there.”
That’s not to rule out the huge impact that the home team blue and gold had on his life growing up.
The now six-foot-four rearguard found inspiration in the St. Louis Blues and a young defenseman by the name of Erik Johnson. Strangely enough, Mayfield will get a chance to see Johnson live with the Colorado Avalanche when he begins his season with the Pioneers.
“He’s a big defenseman, who went the college route like I am,” the St. Louis native explained. “His size, and just good with the puck; that’s what I admire about him. When I go to Denver I’ll get to see him play too.”
Yet, with many high profile hockey players going the college route, there have always been questions. Drafted in the OHL Draft by the Kitchener Rangers, known for given NCAA teams a run for their recruiting money, some wondered if going to a team with such a successful track record in developing NHL stars would tempt the Youngstown Phantom defender.
“It’s pretty much been Denver, from day one,” Mayfield explain. “I know sometimes after the NHL Draft, some teams will want you to play Major Junior, or pressure you to, but I really feel like Denver has the tools to move me onto the next level.
“My goal is to make the NHL, and I feel Denver has produced some guys that are top NHL players.”
Paul Stastny would agree.
However, Denver is just but one piece of the puzzle.
It all begins June 24th, where Mayfield is expected to be taken somewhere between the end of the first round or earlier on in the 2nd round. The eventual goal being quite obvious: an entry-level contract to begin his NHL career.
“I definitely want a new car,” he laughed. “I really like the Dodge Challenger.”
And while that shiny new car and beautiful paycheque look appetizing right about now, this 18-year-old still has work to do. The draft is just the beginning,
Wherever he may end up next season, a summer of hard work will be necessary for continued improvement and furthered development.
“After the draft, I’m hoping to go to camp. I’m really hoping to go to the Under 20 Junior Camp, too. That’s always been a goal of mine,” said the recent invitee to Hockey USA’s National Junior Evaluation Camp this summer.
So how will he get there?
“I think I should keep it simple. At times everyone (in Youngtown) was trying to do too much, including myself.”
Continued improvement in the game could pay heavy dividends, as many have pointed out a high ceiling for the big and mobile defenseman. After a season where many expected to see bigger numbers, Mayfield’s stock is still up in most draft circles. One can’t deny the size and raw upside.
Ranked at 37th Overall by Future Considerations, this American blueliner has nowhere to go but up from here. The journey has taken him around the United States, but the focus lies solely on Minnesota in the coming weeks.
It’s just the beginning.
Brian Huddle is a Future Considerations correspondant and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!