|(above) DU recruit Scott Mayfield is projected to be an NHL first round draft pick this summer|
by Ryan Kennedy
The USHL Youngstown Phantoms have all but been eliminated from playoff contention, but for the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Mayfield, at least they’re in the hunt this year.
“I think our attitude is a whole lot different than last year,” he said. “We have something to play for.”
With Youngstown in just its second United States League campaign, growing pains were expected, but at least Phantoms fans can hang their hat on having a legitimate first round talent on the blueline. Mayfield was part of Team USA’s winning entry at the World Jr. A Challenge this season and has embraced his role as a leader in Youngstown, helping newcomers find their place in the room.
“I know it’s hard your first year,” Mayfield said. “That was my first goal this year, to help out and lead by example.”
Though his offensive numbers are down this season, Mayfield noted that with Youngstown adding more offensive pop this year, he could concentrate more on defense. Either way, scouts love Mayfield’s physical attributes and the blueliner is aware of what makes him a highly ranked prospect.
“I try to focus on my skating and my size,” he said. “I can get the puck out of the zone, kind of grind it out and block shots.”
Mayfield still wants to work on his decision-making in the offensive end, but with a commitment to the University of Denver next year, he’ll be getting top teaching to round that out. Draft eligible in 2011.