Oshawa Generals center Allan McShane has an ace up his sleeve when it comes to dealing with the highs and lows of navigating toward the 2018 NHL Draft.
He found it in Generals assistant coach Greg Nemisz, who went through the same ups and downs as a member of the 2008 draft class.
"I talk to him all the time about it," McShane said. "It wasn't long ago that he went through it, obviously. It's a good thing. He's a good outlet to have. It's just one of the many pieces here that are helping me along.
"It's definitely all positive."
Nemisz, then a member of the Windsor Spitfires, was chosen by the Calgary Flames with the No. 25 pick in '08. He knows the ropes, even if a lot has changed over the past decade.
"Allan's handled it well," said Nemisz, who played 15 games with the Flames and another 241 in the American Hockey League before retiring in 2015.
"It's a lot harder for kids nowadays because it's a lot more well-documented, the draft rankings and everything online. Even five, 10 years ago you didn't pay as much attention to rankings or what's going on. These kids are pretty dialed into what's going on. For Allan, he's handled it well. He's a really mature kid. He's focused on his game and not worrying too much about the draft or what people are saying online."
Nemisz offered that advice to McShane. Generals teammate Jack Studnicka, who was selected in the second round (No. 53) by the Boston Bruins in 2017, also helped drive the point home.
"The first thing he told me at the start of the year was to try not to pay attention to the rankings," said McShane, 33rd in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of North American skaters. "He did and he said he wished he didn't.
"It's hard not to see those things, but at the same time it's all a learning curve. I'm trying not to pay too much attention to the rankings. Everyone has their own opinions of different players and that. It's the first time I've gone through it, but it does help I have people like Greg and teammates to help me along.
"I'm trying to keep to my own game and keep to what I know makes me the player that I am."
That player has impressed. McShane (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) has 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists), second on the Generals to Studnicka's 49.
"He's a go-to guy with our team already at 17 years old," Nemisz said. "That's exactly the mindset he has. He's an extremely smart player. He makes everyone around him better and he sees plays happening a couple seconds before other guys around him realize what's going on. He's just a really smart player.
"He's a big part of what we're trying to do here. Him along with another couple of younger guys on our team, they're really the centerpieces of our team going forward and they're already contributing at a young age in this league, which is hard to do."
McShane said he has more to offer, too.
"I don't think my production has been as consistent as I'd like, but it's something that is coming along," said McShane, who had 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists) in 62 games with the Erie Otters and Generals in 2016-17.
"You can't pay too much attention to the production because in the end, I'm confident with my game and I think it's going to come along fine no matter what happens. I think it's closer to the end goal and it's getting there. I'm not trying to pay too much attention to it, but it's looming ahead. It's pretty exciting.
"There's lots of time left for me to up my game and get to that level where I know I can be and we'll see what happens. I'm pretty confident I'll get back to playing the top hockey I can and we'll see what happens."
It's a smart approach and advice Nemisz has shared with McShane during a stressful season.
"With these guys, that's what I try to preach," Nemisz said. "You just have to worry about coming to the rink and getting better every day and being an Oshawa General. Don't worry about the draft. It'll take care of itself through your play and through the team's success."