In Part I, Rick spoke about being a scout and the draft in general. In Part II, however, we get more specific and talk about the Habs.
So here goes part two...
On the Habs
Q: The Montreal Canadiens are picking third overall. If everything goes according to your rankings, that will mean Matthew Dumba will be playing in a Habs jersey in the not-so-distant future. Many have said this kid could be the next Scott Neidermayer, or Drew Doughty.
What is your assessment of Dumba?
A: I don’t think there’s a defenseman in this draft who has the potential to be anywhere near as good as those two but that’s not surprising, those are special players. Dumba has a lot of Subban in him but he’s not as reliable defensively.
What he does have over Subban is an ability to lay out very hard open ice hits.
Q: Can you see the Canadiens making a splash and selecting Malcolm Subban?
A: If he’s available in the second round, it could happen. I would think Montreal would look at drafting a goaltender as the cupboard is a little thin at that position in the system right now...mind you, after the top three of Vasilevski, Rask and Subban, there are a few more intriguing option for later on in the draft in Brandon Whitney, Matt Murray, Francois Brassard and Etienne Marcoux among others.
Q: OK, you get a call from Habs GM, Marc Bergevin, tomorrow morning...Trevor Timmins is fired and you are the new head scout. With what you know about the Canadiens and the upcoming draft—and assuming they don’t trade their pick—who is the player who you would love to pick at third overall, and why?
A: I think at some point, you may have to consider need, at least a little bit. So if it was up to me, Galchenyuk, Yakupov and Teravainen are three options that I really like for the Habs. All 3 have abilities with the puck that impress me.
Q: Many of the Canadiens prospects just finished having great runs at the Memorial Cup, playing key roles in the process. Out of all of the players currently in their ranks, who do you feel is closest to the NHL?
A: I believe that Tinordi is the closest. Beaulieu may have the biggest impact but someone like him, who is more creative with the puck, he has to take risks so he needs time to learn how the minimize mistakes.
Tinordi is already so big and his role will pretty much be strictly as a stay-at-home defenseman. I would like to see both play a full year in the AHL but at the end, their performances will dictate what will happen going forward.
Q: Is Brendan Gallagher NHL ready? Given his diminutive stature, can his skillset translate to success in the NHL and, if so, is he a top-6 forward or more of a top-9 guy?
A: I would think more of a top-9 guy. Due to his size, he does have to be matched-up in certain situations but then again, he’s proven to do better than expected and he’s fearless so he’s someone to keep an eye on.
One thing though, with the current (Habs) roster being what it is, he will have a tough time getting a spot (on the team).
Q: Who is the most underrated Habs prospect? Who is the best?
A: I would have said Morgan Ellis is the most underrated prospect a few weeks ago, but so many people have seen him during the Memorial Cup so they’re now aware of how good he’s become.
The one guy who I really enjoy watching is Darren Dietz. Still has some growing to do physically but once he does get bigger, he can be a stay-at-home defenseman who plays with some jam and, once in a while, can surprise opponents with some offense.
Josiah Didier is another one I like. His raw tools were better than I expected them to be when I saw him at the Habs development camp last summer.
Q: You are very active in social media and, especially, the Twitterverse. How do you feel Twitter has changed hockey reporting and, more specifically, your job.
A: I think twitter is a fantastic tool to gain contacts mostly and to even meet up with people who don’t live in your area.
In recent years, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting-up with people from Ottawa, Shawinigan, Quebec and Victoriaville when scouting games there so that’s been fun. The hard part to put up with is that some, because there’s a 140 character limit, seem to want to give opinions that require a lot more thought than Twitter allows.
A perfect example is the hiring of Michel Therrien.
Too many seem to classify him as either an excellent coach or a terrible one. Truth is that most coaches have strengths and weaknesses and success or failure is not only coaching but the players, the decisions made by management, a little bit of luck, etc.
Q: You have a reputation as someone who is always willing to talk hockey, as many on Twitter can attest to. How can people get in touch with you, see more of your work, and even ask you questions?
A: I can always be reached at email@example.com. I can’t always give too much details on prospects out of respect for the work we do at Mckeen’s but I will do my best to answer questions or comments when I can.
As always, Rick can be reached on Twitter @rick1042.
Missed Part I of the interview? Read it here.
Kamal is a freelance writer, Senior Writer/Editor-in-Chief of HabsAddict.com, and Montreal Canadiens Blogger on Hockeybuzz.com. Kamal is also a regular on-air contributor on TSN 990, CJAD, and LiveSport New Zealand.
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