At the conclusion of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Hurricanes Director of Amateur Scouting Tony MacDonald summarized each of the team's five picks from day two.
MacDonald: He’s a player we think might have been somewhat underrated. We liked him a lot earlier in the year and we had him in the first round, and then he sort of flat lined a little bit over the course of the year. He was up and down a bit and went down to a lower division to play so he could get some more ice time.
We saw him playing with the men several times where he was pretty good. Then in the tournaments he was a little inconsistent, but at the end had an outstanding under-18 tournament. He’s a very skilled centerman, great puck distributed, great shot, quick release. He’s good in the faceoff circle and is a very intelligent hockey player with a lot of speed and lot of skill.
You don’t want to say we stole him, but we were pretty pleased that he was there for us in the second round. He did ask to be sent down to a lower-division team so he could play some more and that took a bit of an adjustment. That put him under the radar a little bit, more than it would have been.
We interviewed him at the combine and we knew a lot about this kid. We weren’t concerned. He’s a guy that’s still finding his way and is a work in progress, but he’s one of those players that the upside is quite significant. How far he can take that will be in his hands, but we think he’s certainly ready to do that and wants to do that.
MacDonald: He’s one of those players that physically matured and got bigger and stronger as the season developed. At the beginning of the year he weighed around 175 and was playing a very physical game, but might have been a little light to be playing that type of game. He’s now around 195 or 200 pounds and is 6’2” going on 6’3”, so he’s a big, strong guy.
He put up some penalty minutes but he also put up some numbers. We like the way his game has progressed and evolved as he has matured. He’s another player where we think his upside is significant.
I think he’s being modest about his ability to generate some offense. We see him as a two-way guy. He’s a good, solid physical defender and he’s good at that part of the game, but he’s there’s some offensive dimension there to his game too that can still be developed.
MacDonald: He’s a two-position player who can play center and play the wing. He had a pretty good World Junior tournament with the Swiss national team and we watched him play with Ambria of the Swiss Elite League and he played pretty well over there. He’s got good skill, he can shoot the puck, he plays a pretty involved game physically for a European player. That’s one of the things we noticed first when we saw him play early in the Fall in Penticton when the Swiss came over to compete in a tournament there – how involved physically he was. He followed that up by showing us the same thing at the World Juniors, so he’s an exciting young player and a talented young man.
We had him higher than where we took him, so we were quite pleased that he was still there. The last couple of years we’ve had pretty good luck with our list in terms of players sitting there that are still there when our turn comes around. Our list has been pretty cleaned up and we’ve been able to cash in on some of those guys, and he’s one of them.
Playing against men in professional leagues – it’s a pretty challenging situation for a young man, but most of these kids, if they can handle it at that level, maybe they’re just a little bit more prepared to compete at the next level than their peers.
MacDonald: He was the best one available at that time that it made sense to take a goalie. He’ll be given lots of time to develop because we don’t need to push our goalies into situations where they can’t handle it. We feel we’ve got a pretty good stable of young goalies, and this man gives us some depth at that position. We’re pretty happy to have him. He’s a big kid, and as he gets stronger he’s a pretty formidable presence when people are coming down the wing and looking at that big body.
Fundamentally he’s a pretty sound guy, and it’s just a matter of the goaltending coaches evaluating where he is and seeing what he should be working on. I’m not as well versed as the goaltending guys when it comes to picking goalies, but we pick guys that stop a lot of pucks and let the goaltending coaches take care of the rest.
Certainly (Plymouth coach) Mike (Vellucci) helps us out and he’s a goaltender we know a little bit more about than some of the others. It just turned out that he was the next goalie left on our lift when it came time to make that pick. The fact that it was Plymouth sure helped.
MacDonald: He’s a big man with bloodlines. He’s progressed slowly through his junior career and is a work in progress, but he’s a big man who is pretty skilled with good hands.
He’s probably underachieved to this point in time, but with that Sutter edge and determination and the big body and some skill, we think he’s a player that could achieve some things of some significance down the road.