With their fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs have selected their second defenseman of the day in left-shot blueliner Michael Koster of the Tri-City Storm (USHL).

After representing Team USA at the Hlinka tournament, Koster spent the majority of his season playing high school hockey in Minnesota for Chaska High, where he captained his team and finished second on the team in points with 59 points in just 24 games from the blue line.

For the second consecutive year, Koster finished his season with Tri-City in the USHL, where he was asked to play a much different role than he did with his high-school team this year and was praised for his ability/willingness to adapt to play a more responsible defensive game (previously a major hole in his game) in a less offensive role. He also chipped in six points in 15 games in the process.

Koster is the fourth player under 5’10 that the Leafs have selected in the first five rounds of the 2019 draft as he stands at just 5’9, 172 pounds. Koster was rated as high as 40-50 picks higher than this by many draft ranking services based on the skill, hockey IQ, and puck-moving ability present here.

Koster will join the University of Minnesota in the Fall.


Director of Amateur Scouting John Lilley on Michael Koster

We were really happy [he dropped]. Michael had a great Ivan Hlinka in the summer. He went head-to-head with a lot of the top players against Canada and Europe. He had a good high-school season; maybe not as good as people thought he would and he slipped a bit, but again, a very smart player who moves the puck well. Highly skilled. Just the type of player we were looking for. We were very excited to get him where he was.


Michael Koster Scouting Report

An excerpt from HockeyProspect.com’s 2019 Blackbook:

… Koster started to turn a corner in regard to his all-around game and started to pay more attention to his play in his own end. Koster is not a physically imposing defenseman, either in regards to his size or style of play, much of his defense comes from him having the puck much of the time but Koster showed growth in his gap control as well as his willingness to compete below his own goal line and along the walls… When Koster is rushing the puck, he can make things happen, he has quick hands and can make plays with pace through the neutral zone.

… Koster finished the season with Tri-City this spring where he was forced to take on more of a stay at home shutdown role with the Storm due to their two defenseman Ronnie Attard and Zac Jones who really like to lead and join the rush up ice. Koster showed the ability to adapt and excel in this role and often was Tri-City’s best defensive defenseman. If Koster can get stronger over the next few seasons at the University of Minnesota and his skating gains some explosiveness, Koster has the skill to be an effective puck-moving defenseman at the next level.


Mike Koster Statistics

STeamLeagueGPGATPPIM+/- POSTGPGATPPIM+/-
2015-16MNBEL FlyersBantam13213-|
Chaska HighUSHS-MN211818366|Playoffs10000
2016-17Chaska HighUSHS-MN251619354|Playoffs10000
2017-18Chaska High “C”USHS-MN2514415514|Playoffs21122
Tri-City StormUSHL2128108-3|Playoffs201120
2018-19Team NortheastUMHSEHL16210128|Playoffs32020
Chaska High “C”USHS-MN241940594|Playoffs21120
Tri-City StormUSHL1524624|Playoffs60002-3
2020-21Univ. of MinnesotaNCAA-----|