by Tom Williams
Scott Mayfield said he is “more excited than anxious” in anticipation of next week’s NHL draft.
“It’s new chapter in new life and I am kind of ready for it,” said Mayfield in a telephone interview from his home in St. Louis.
On Wednesday the Youngstown Phantoms defensemen will travel to St. Paul, Minn., for the draft, which begins on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Excel Energy Center, the home of the Minnesota Wild.
Mayfield, who plans to play for the University of Denver this fall, is projected to be a middle-to-late first-round selection.
Mayfield will make the trip with goaltender Matt Mahalak, who was the Phantoms’ backup goalie during the 2009-10 season, the team’s first in the USHL.
Last season, Mahalak was a backup goalie for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. He had eight wins, eight losses, one overtime loss and one shootout loss.
In a NHL.com ranking of North American goalies eligible for the draft, Mahalak is eighth.
Mayfield resumed regular skating two weeks ago in case he’s drafted by a team that holds a rookie camp after the draft.
“I have no idea what my summer will look like,” he said. “But if there is a camp, I know it won’t take up my whole summer.”
Even though his classes won’t begin until mid-September, Mayfield plans to be in Denver a month early to get acclimated. He looks forward to using the trail bicycle he purchased.
And he won’t be far from family as his brother, Patrick, is at the Air Force Academy about 90 minutes south of Denver in Colorado Springs.
“My Dad went to law school at DU, so we’re familiar with the city,” Mayfield said.
He’s undecided on his major but is leaning toward Hotel & Restaurant Management, something he figures could come in handy once his playing days are over.