The Senators director of player personnel made an afternoon appearance on The Drive this past Monday, calling in from Washington, CT scouting US prep schools. You can check out the full interview here, or via the embed below.
As always my thoughts in bold.
On the difficulty of scouting tier II and prep school prospects...
"Most of times when we come and watch NHL prospects at these games they're by far the best player on the ice. You know, they have the puck the whole game, so you have to take in account the level of play, and what school they'll be going to, and how they'll develop. Like there's two kids I'm watching on Hotchkiss today, they're on Central's list, I'm not telling you any big secrets. But it will be interesting to see how they play. Sometimes I kid people...I"m not being a smart guy, but sometimes they're playing against kids who are on the chess club. You know, so it's not quite exactly the same as when you go watch an OHL game or a Quebec league game or a WHL game, you have to take everything into account in these kind of situations."
Tyler Hill and Wiley Sherman would appear to be the two players he was looking at.
On if he's hoping Ceci will get traded to a contender...
"That's really up to the 67's. We always want the best for our prospects, you know I think he's been on good teams in the OHL so if he gets another kick at the can, we'll support whatever decision the 67's make. We've had Jason Smith on the ice working with him, I know Brad Shaw was around also helping out the 67's. So those are two pretty good guys that have had good careers in the NHL. So I think whatever the 67's decide, we'll support. You know, we'd like him maybe to get another chance to win a Memorial Cup, being his last year in junior, but whatever they want we'll support."
Last week's HF rumour confirmed!
On Wikstrand's impressive start...
"Ya, he's having a great year so far. Putting up numbers as a puck-moving offensive defenseman not in the top league in Sweden, but in the second league in Sweden. Their previous tournament in November he was the number one defenseman for Team Sweden, played power-play, penalty kill and regular shifts. I'd be very surprising if he didnt' make that (WJC) team, he's been invited to be on the team. He's a seventh-round pick...so expectations aren't set as high for him, but we still feel we have a pretty good prospect there."
I am genuinely excited to see what Wikstrand can do at the WJC, one of the the few prospects one can say has totally surpassed expectations this fall.
On the organizations confidence taking players out of Europe...
"I think a lot of credit goes to our two European scouts, Vaclav Burda and Mikko Ruutu. Both those guys really liked Wikstrand last year, and obviosuly myself and Greg Royce had a chance to see him. But he just looked like a really smart defenseman, that made every pass on the tape, and he wasn't flashy. It was just something that we felt was a good late gamble, and maybe we should of taken him earlier, but you know sometimes things fall into place for the right reason."
Wonder when we'll see the Murray regime take their first non-Swede out of Europe?
On Chris Driedger and Francois Brassard...
"Chris was splitting time last year and he became the number one goalie on his team. He's a big goalie who blocks pucks, a lot of pucks hit him, he makes good reads. This year he's really been a key component, if I'm not mistaken Calgary and Edmonton are one and two in their division, and they're two of the better teams - and Chris is a big part of that you know as an 18-year-old goalie showing that he can really carry the load, and really carry his team to being the top team in the conference, I think that says a lot about him.
I think with Francois Brassard, another situation where he was the backup last year. Now Quebec's a really good team, and having our people talk to Patrick Roy, they've indictated that Patrick seems to think he's one of the better goalies in the league if not the best goalie in the league. He's really risen his game, and he's still gotta get stronger, but he really competes hard, he's a very intelligent goalie as far as being able to read the play, and getting in position, he's gotten stronger he's gotten quicker. He's a quiet competitor, and probably as far as mental toughness one of the best guys I've seen in my scouting career how he can forget a bad goal and you know just move on from there. So, these are two guys that unfortunately we were hoping either one might get invited to the Canadian junior camp this year. But I think they are two guys who will challenge for next year's world junior camp."
It does not feel right as an Ottawa Senators fan to have this much goaltending talent in the system.
On the 2013 draft's quality...
Obviously last year's draft...we can say was an average draft as far as depth of talent. While this year's seems to be a very good draft. I think there's high end prospects at the top part of the draft, but I think going through the first, second and third rounds I think teams are going to see good players being taken. Guys that will be good regular NHL players as we move forward four, five years down the road. It really looks like a very good draft, the only thing this year it seems to be a bit more spread out than in other years...I'm at a game here today at a high school, you're all over the place as compared to other years.
Makes you wonder if the organization is gonna make an effort to get back a second-round pick; after trading their 2013 to acquire Bishop. If not that'd make it three of the last four drafts in which they didnt' have one.