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Glennie aiming to fulfill high expectations

by John Tranchina / Dallas Stars

As a first round draft pick, expectations are already high for Scott Glennie, but when one considers he’s following a similar path as highly-successful Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn, it’s tough not to get pretty excited about Glennie’s chances of developing into an impact NHLer in the not-too-distant future.

Still, for the 19-year-old forward, who was chosen by the Stars eighth overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, to be able to eventually replicate Benn’s contributions in Dallas, he will have to demonstrate plenty of growth, both on and off the ice, over the next couple of seasons.

Like Benn the year before, Glennie enjoyed a strong season in junior hockey, helping his team battle in the Memorial Cup, the tournament symbolizing the Canadian national championship, although, like Benn’s Kelowna squad in 2009, Glennie’s club lost the final to OHL Windsor.

In town this past week participating in the Stars 2010 Development Camp at the Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco with many of the organization’s top young prospects, Glennie accepts and even embraces the pressure of having to live up to his lofty draft position.

“It was a privilege to be taken that high and to be recognized like that,” said Glennie, who can play right wing and center with similar proficiency. “And there’s obviously going to be added pressure with that, but I think most guys are fine with that and like that. Yeah, the pressure’s there, but I think every guy strives for that.”

Glennie got a good taste of having the hockey world’s spotlight on him during the Memorial Cup in May, particularly with it taking place on his home ice in Brandon. After getting blown out in their first game, the Wheat Kings rebounded to reach the final before succumbing to Windsor, who won their second straight championship. In five tournament contests, Glennie recorded four assists, including two in Brandon’s 5-4 overtime win over Calgary in the semi-final. 

“It was really good,” said Glennie of playing on such a big stage. “We didn’t finish out the way wanted, but it was a good experience to play some of the top guys out there and in championship hockey, it was really nice to be part of that.” 

“It was a good experience and that helps you a lot,” Benn said of playing in such high-stakes scenarios. “Whenever you can play in high-end situations and with lots of pressure on you, it’s good for you. I think and you can learn a lot from it. I think it just makes you better.”

Glennie may have finished the season strongly, but the year started off with a few setbacks. First, he was forced to miss Team Canada’s World Junior orientation camp last summer with an injury, which kept him off the team that lost to the U.S. (and goaltender Jack Campbell, the Stars first round pick this year) in the gold medal game last January. Then he had to sit out Stars training camp in September when he got hurt the week before during the annual prospect tournament in Traverse City, MI, but through it all, Glennie maintained a positive attitude.

“It was obviously really tough,” Glennie admitted of having to sit out his first NHL training camp. “You come here and you want to get the experience of getting out there with the guys and seeing what it was like. To be with all those NHL guys and not be able to skate with them, it was hard. But there’s another year coming up soon, so I’m just looking forward to that.”

“I think a little adversity has been good for these guys, they have to fight through,” said Stars Director of Scouting and Player Development Les Jackson. “And I think Scottie getting hurt at the World Junior camp probably was a disappointment to him, but he rebounded and he can play this year. So the ball is really back in his court as far as where he wants to go with it.”

Glennie did bounce back once he returned to the ice, once again displaying the elite skill level that prompted the Stars to bring him into their organization, racking up 32 goals and 89 points (good for third on his team and 10th in the WHL) in 66 regular season games. He also recorded three goals and 10 points in 15 playoff games.

“Scott brings a lot of speed and skill,” said Dallas Director of Amateur Scouting Tim Bernhardt.  “He has very good vision and sees the ice well.” 

“For the most part, I think it went good,” Glennie said of his year. “It was a really long season, but it was a good situation and a good experience playing for a championship. Personally, I thought I did pretty well, I thought I had a pretty good season and team-wise, I think we did really well.”

One aspect of his game that Glennie focused on this past season was developing more of a physical dimension. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, he needed to bulk up a bit, and working this week with Stars strength and conditioning coach J.J. McQueen has further enhanced that process. 

“I think I’ve put a little bit more physical aspect into my game,” Glennie said. “I think that’s something that everybody wanted, for me to hit a little bit more. I think I’ve gotten a little bigger over the last year, too, which has helped out.”

“Scottie, I think this year, he made some really good steps,” Jackson said. “He’s still got some work to do. He’s going to spend some time here this summer and work with J.J. and I think that will be good for him. He’s still a young guy and he’s light, so in a lot of ways, he needs some help in development and we’ll give him that. He’s really a gifted kid, so it’s just a matter of us sticking with the program and working with him.”

Glennie is excited to work closely with McQueen to boost his conditioning, both in upper body strength as well as building a stronger core that could help him avoid muscle injuries in the future.

“You’ve got to be in good shape,” Glennie said. “Every single guy in the NHL is in the gym all the time, so you’ve got to make sure you’re doing as much as they are or more to put yourself in the same position. J.J.’s been really good teaching us stuff. He’s a good trainer, he’s here for a reason.”

Glennie has much to look forward to in the year ahead, as he first prepares for the Team Canada World Juniors camp in August and then Stars training camp in September. And while he expects to head back to Brandon after that for perhaps another run at the Memorial Cup, he’s focused first on landing a roster spot on Team Canada and second, on making a good impression here in Dallas.

“It’s definitely a dream to play on that (World Junior) team - I didn’t get to play there last year, which was disappointing, but it’s going to be real important to make that team next year,” Glennie said. “(And at camp), just come in here and play your best and hope for the best. It’s going to be a good experience and tough competition, but come in here and do what you can do.”

And when he does head back to the WHL, Glennie will be ready for the scrutiny that comes with being one of the best players in the league, a guy that everyone will be keeping an eye on, from fans to opposing coaches to Stars management. 

“There’s some pressure there, but it’s good, I think all the guys want to be a part of that,” said Glennie, who hails from Winnipeg. “Quite honestly, to be in the gym here, it’s good to get the experience, and to make that World Junior squad is definitely going to help out. I’m just looking forward and hopefully things go well for me from here on in.” 

“He’s going to be challenged and he’s going to have to answer the bell every night,” Jackson noted. “He’s on a good team, he’s with a good coach, so he’s going to have to open those doors. He’s a real gifted player and I think they’ll do well in their league. He’s going to the Canadian Junior camp in August, so he’s got a lot of opportunities for him. I think people recognize his talent, he just has to recognize the work that has to go into it.”

Ultimately, how much Glennie progresses this year and how quickly he can climb the ladder is up to him and will determine just how long it takes him to start tapping into his vast potential in Dallas. 

“I don’t know how far I am,” Glennie said of the NHL, “but I obviously want to get on this team as quick as I can and it would be really great to play for Dallas as soon as possible.”

Stars fans feel the same way.

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