Weight: 180 pounds
Date of birth: March 15, 2001
Hometown: Lucan, Ontario
Position: Left Wing
OHL Draft: Round 5, 83rd overall, 2017 Priority Selection
NHL Central Scouting Rankings: Pre-season, November: NR. Mid-term: 120th North America
Tenacity. Fearless. Reckless. And to quote Brian Burke, truculence.
Those are words that could at one time or another, be used to describe Hamilton Bulldogs left winger Navrin Mutter. While the game has changed, and will continue to change, Mutter has made somewhat of an adjustment. That adjustment is reflected in the National Hockey League Central Scouting’s rankings, going from not even being mentioned as a player to watch, to 120th among North American skaters on their mid-term rankings.
Mutter will make my final list come June. Where Central Scouting ranks him however will be interesting to see.
Mutter played his Minor Midget AAA with Elgin-Middlesex during the 2016-2017 season in which he scored 10 goals and added 12 assists in 29 games while racking up 84 minutes in penalties. He would add 3 goals and 5 assists in 13 playoff games and another 38 minutes in the sin bin.
Last season, the Bulldogs championship season, Mutter appeared in 28 games scoring twice while assisting on another. This season he appeared in 67 games and scored 6 goals and 7 assists while racking up 96 minutes in penalties, the most by a wide margin among draft eligible players.
Mutter is a big body who thrives playing in a physical game whether he is taking a hit or the one delivering it. Ontario Hockey League coaches voted him the second best body checker in the Eastern Conference in this year’s Coaches Poll.
Once Mutter gets his feet moving, he has some decent speed in his long strides and is surprisingly smooth on his skates. Combined with his physicality, he has opposing defencemen with their head on a swivel as he goes in on the forecheck. Just his presence and knowing a hit is coming forces defenders to move the puck quickly, sometimes making the wrong decision. If he could add a quicker first step, it could only help. There’s nothing more to say about his strength on his blades other then he’s as strong as an Ox.
Perhaps his greatest attributes are that he’s a team-first guy, his work ethic, and his willingness to do whatever it takes to win mentality. Few players put their bodies on the line like Mutter does not only game-to-game, but shift-to-shift.
Mutter will never be known as an offensive threat – he went pointless in his first 21 games of the season. But as the season progressed, he showed that he has some decent vision and that he could distribute the puck. He won’t overpower goaltenders with his shot, although he has a pretty good shot. His bread and butter on offense will come from battling in front of the net, setting up screens and trying to dominate that small area of the ice. And as he gets stronger, cleaning up on those pucks in front of the net.
It’s a rare occurrence that late round picks find a regular home in the NHL. But Mutter is one of those guys that could find a home as a fourth line energy guy who is strong on the forecheck and can create havoc for defences and wearing them down.
Those types of players still have a place in today’s game.