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After overcoming some adversity, Glennie still on track

by John Tranchina / Dallas Stars

This is going to be a big year for Scott Glennie.

After completing his junior hockey eligibility, the 20-year-old forward is preparing for his first full season as a professional, and while he’s expected to start 2011-12 in the AHL, there is an outside opportunity for him to seize a roster spot on the Dallas Stars once training camp opens on Sept. 16.

As the Stars’ first-round choice (eighth overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, the club’s highest selection in the last 15 years, expectations remain high for Glennie, despite a rough stretch he endured early last season.

In fact, it was precisely his ability to overcome, and bounce back, from his slow start that has Stars management so encouraged with his advancement. The extent of his progression was evident by his solid performance during a brief stint at the tail end of last year with the AHL Stars, based in the Austin suburb of Cedar Park, where he had a chance to skate for new Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan.

“He’s like a lot of young guys, there are some bumps along the way and it’s educating him on the different lessons that he has to go through,” said Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson. “I think the experience he had last year at Texas at the end of the year was invaluable. We’ll bring him to camp, but he’ll quite likely start in Texas, he needs that experience. But I saw him play a lot last year and I’ve liked what I’ve seen. He’s making advancements, so we’ll see how he grows going ahead.”

“I’m glad to be putting that perspective right now in people’s minds,” noted Glennie regarding the possibility of making his NHL debut at some point this coming season. “Getting the experience going down to Austin with Glen was great - to get to meet him and play under him for a few games and get the experience there and see what it was like, the pace of play. I know the NHL’s going to be quicker than the American League, but just to get that experience and to meet the guys and to see the professional lifestyle was really big for me to go down there and I’m looking forward to next season.”

In four regular season games with the AHL Stars, Glennie recorded just one shot on goal and posted a -2 plus/minus rating, but improved significantly as he adjusted to the faster tempo. In the playoffs, he scored his first AHL goal, had an even plus/minus and fired three shots on goal in six contests.

It was an impressive conclusion to Glennie’s 2010-11 season, especially after his early struggles, when he managed just one goal and six points in the first 10 games with WHL Brandon. Making matters worse, his team, coming off an appearance in the 2010 Memorial Cup Final, stumbled to one of the WHL’s worst records after losing two offensive stars to the NHL in Brayden Schenn (now with Philadelphia) and Matt Calvert (with Columbus).

Glennie also suffered the stinging disappointment of not making Team Canada’s roster for the 2011 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, especially when he was considered a strong candidate to do so. All in all, it was a tough beginning, but eventually Glennie turned it around.

“Clearly, it was a disappointment,” Glennie admitted, regarding his exclusion from the World Juniors. “I don’t think I had the first half of the season that I wanted to, and definitely seeing that, it was a little bit of a wake-up call for me. But in the second half, our team really picked it up a lot. We were in last place in the first half of the season, and the second half, we had one of the best records in the league, so for me, it was a good experience, especially maybe not having the kind of talent that I was usually surrounded with in Brandon. It was good for my development.”

Glennie rebounded to pile up 34 goals and 85 points over the last 60 games of the season, including 12 goals and 26 points over the final 14 contests, as Brandon climbed out of the Eastern Conference cellar and into sixth place and a playoff spot. Unfortunately, Brandon was ousted by Medicine Hat in the first round, but Glennie did lead the club with three goals and 10 points in six playoff games.

Now that it’s over, a more mature Glennie recognizes that the whole experience was part of a valuable learning process. Adjusting to playing without other stars and shouldering a lot more of the offensive responsibility, Glennie also displayed the true nature of his character by battling through the adversity and conquering it.

“I think sometimes people would say I got a lot of credit for playing with good players, and I think this year, it really wasn’t like that on my team and I kind of had to do things on my own,” said Glennie, who collected four assists in five Memorial Cup games in 2010. “I think when you lose guys like Schenner and Calvert and all those guys that are going off to pro teams and the NHL, you play a little differently when you’re playing with guys like that, and when you’re playing on your own, you have to do a lot more on your own and create a lot more opportunities. Maybe I needed a year of that for my development and it was good for me.”

Jackson believes Glennie’s ability to push through the difficult times was an important step in his development.

“That’s part of growing and maturing,” Jackson said. “Glennie started the year, I think he was really disappointed he didn’t get on the Canadian team, but that was good. You can spin it any way you want, but at the end of the day, there’s lots of guys that go to that camp that don’t make the NHL. So in Glennie’s situation, he really made some great steps last year, played center, so I think we just have to be patient and keep working with him. He’s still just a kid, it’s going to take some time.”

The fact that Glennie played center is relevant because he was drafted as a right winger, and while he did line up at center at various times throughout his previous three junior seasons, last season he skated there exclusively. He’s expected to remain there this year in the AHL and the Stars hope that’s where he makes his mark in the NHL.

“We’ll probably keep him at center ice,” Jackson said. “That’s kind of a new position for him, he’s only been there one year, so that’s something he’s going to have to learn.”

One other area Glennie has been focusing on this summer is his conditioning. At 6-foot-1 and 188 pounds, he still has plenty of room to fill out, but his work this summer with Dallas Player Development Consultant (and former NHLer) Gary Roberts has clearly been paying off.

“Going to see him, he clearly knows his stuff,” said Glennie, a native of Winnipeg. “And for me to go there and for them to send me to Toronto to see him for a week - and I’ll probably go down there a couple more times to see him - he knows his stuff. I don’t think you’re going to find a trainer that’s better or as good as him, from nutrition and everything, you know he’s going to send you on the right path. He’s just going to do what’s best for you and he’s a really good person.”

“He’s been with Gary a lot,” Jackson confirmed. “He’s kind of his calendar boy, so I think he’s gotten some good experiences there. He’s a real outgoing kid and he has a real passion for the game.”

With Glennie penciled in to start 2011-12 with AHL Texas, he’s already being counted upon as a potential impact player at that level, partially due to how well he acquitted himself during his late-season trial.

Scott Glennie came in and joined us at the end of last year, which was a real valuable experience for Scott,” said Scott White, Dallas’ Director of Minor League Operations and Texas Stars General Manager. “He should garner a lot of ice time and excel in terms of moving his game along, from a development standpoint.”

With all the elevated expectations being heaped upon him, one could understand if Glennie felt a bit overwhelmed by it all, but he is proud of his lofty draft status and embraces the challenge before him.

“It was a privilege to be taken that high and to be recognized like that, and there’s obviously going to be added pressure with that, but I think most guys are fine with that and like that,” Glennie declared. “It’s pro hockey and you got to like that kind of stuff. The way these guys carry themselves, it’s something you look forward to being a part of.

“Yeah, the pressure’s there, but I think every guy looks and strives for that.”

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