The Sabres drafted Casey Mittelstadt eighth overall in Friday's NHL Draft. Here is the transcript of his interview with reporters in Chicago, via the Buffalo Sabres.
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I mean, obviously I think going into it, a lot of people were saying how wide open this draft could be, and I definitely think it played out to what people were saying.
Like I said, I’m happy going to Buffalo. It’s a great place to play, and obviously they’ve got a really good team up there already. It’s definitely an honor.
Q. When you look at some of the forwards, the young guys, what have you sort of -- do you pay much attention to the younger Sabres?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, being American, I like to watch Eichel. I think he’s one of the best Americans in the league, and a lot of Americans like to look up to him, so I definitely have watched them before. Like I said, I love watching Eichel. I’ve seen a lot of him throughout the years. It’s definitely, like I said, an honor to be there and an honor to one day play with those guys.
Q. Have you met him?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: No, I have not met him before.
Q. What do you think about playing for Phil Housley?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: I mean, yeah, that’s awesome. I think -- I just met him for the first time about five minutes ago, so being able to meet him was obviously an honor. Obviously he’s done pretty much everything you can in hockey, and just being from Minny is just kind of a cherry on top.
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I think I’m a two-way center with some offensive upside. I like to think I can make some plays with the puck, use my vision, creativity, try to make guys around me better, and I think that’s what I do best.
Q. What did you learn last season?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: I think one of the main things I learned was just being able to kind of live away from home, travel a lot. I think especially being in Green Bay, moving away from home and having the long bus trips and things like that was something that I really learned and kind of how to get your body through all that stuff.
And going back to Minnesota, obviously just being a high school kid, you learn quite a bit in your senior year. I would say definitely in Green Bay I learned a lot about managing my time and things like that.
Q. Was that difficult when you went to Green Bay? Was that a hard transition?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: To be honest, no, not really. I actually really enjoyed playing in Green Bay. I think in high school sometimes some teams had two, three guys on me the whole game, so going to Green Bay I only had one guy on me, and it was somewhat of a relief, and I enjoyed playing in both spots a lot.
Q. Do you still plan to go to the University of Minnesota next year?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I think that’ll still be the plan, and obviously we’ll evaluate our options, but I should be going to Minnesota next year, trying to develop and get bigger and stronger in the weight room and trying to develop from there.
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, obviously it’s a huge honor. I grew up looking up to a lot of those guys who have been picked and who have been picked high. It’s definitely a huge honor, and like I said, me and my family, we’re going to stay here and soak it all in.
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I think I’m really looking forward to that. Obviously these last few months have been a lot of fun, but at the same time I’m ready to get back and move into school, get in the weight room and start focusing on hockey a little more, and like I said, it’s been stressful but it’s been great.
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I think obviously my parents have been absolutely great. My parents never played, so they never put too much pressure on me or anything. If I had a bad game, they always said good game no matter what, and I think -- I love it that way. It’s helped me out a lot. I think my brothers, too, we give each other a hard time. We’re all super competitive and probably drive my mom crazy around the house.
And then the last one I would say was my great-grandma who is -- she’s supported me the whole way, she’s pretty much my second mom.
Q. What was it like going to the Stanley Cup Final?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: I think for me, you hear a lot about how Nashville is like crazy and all the fans are absolutely crazy, and then when I actually got there, they didn’t sit down once. I had dress shoes on, and my feet were getting all blistered up from standing up the whole game. I would say that’s probably the main thing that stood out to me, but how good the hockey was and how well constructed the teams were at that time of the year was definitely impressive, too.
Q. (Indiscernible) What do you remember?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I mean, we didn’t have much time to explore, but I obviously loved the city right on the lake over there. We went out to the pier a few times, and that was great, just kind of go out and get some nice weather and things like that. But the rink is absolutely amazing. We obviously had interviews and things like that in the rink, so it’s a great spot to play and the rink is gorgeous.
Q. What did you learn about yourself through the Combine experience?
CASEY MITTELSTADT: Yeah, I think the Combine, it teaches you a lot, especially in interviews. I think learning kind of answering new questions, and they ask you some questions that you’ve never even thought about in your head, so you’ve got to kind of adapt to those and adjust to those on the spot, and I think that helps you learn a lot about yourself.