When we were gearing up for the 2009 NHL Draft last month here at Defending Big D, we featured a number of profiles on players we thought would be most likely to be chosen by the Dallas Stars at #8. In my mind, there was only about five or six players whom I thought we really needed to concentrate on, depending on who might get selected ahead of the Stars. The first five draft picks were actually fairly easy to determine, but it was the six through ten spots which really seemed to be up in the air.
I was a firm believer that if any of Oliver Ekman-Larrson, Magnus Paajarvi or Jared Cowen was available at #8, the Stars would pick one of the three. I know there was some fairly intense debate leading up to the draft about how high OEL would go, but that argument was clearly settled when he was pick at #6 by Phoenix. The next surprise was to have Nazem Kadri go at #7 to Toronto, leaving Dallas with their choice of MPS or Cowen. Everyone, except for Art, was surprised when the Stars selected Scott Glennie, from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Initial response to the pick among Dallas Stars fans was less than warm; many felt that the team had passed on some of the top draft choices still available and really reached for a player some thought would go much lower.
One of the advantages of being in Montreal for the draft was that I had the chance to talk with numerous writers, journalists and scouts about the various draft prospects, and about the Dallas Stars' selections in particular. It really gave me a different perspective on some of the players drafted and gave me insight into why they passed on the other players.
Follow the jump for chat with Red Line Report scout Mike Remmerde and his thoughts on Scott Glennie, as well as the thoughts of other scouts on the Stars' top draft pick.
First off, no one was surprised that OEL was drafted as high as he was. Of the scouts I talked to, each one was convinced he has the potential to be a special, special player in the NHL in just a few years. Before the first round started, there was also speculation that MPS and Cowen would drop (which they did). There were concerns with Paajarvi's work ethic and attitude and some thought that perhaps Cowen had peaked as a player.
Then I started to ask around about Scott Glennie. While some thought there was a chance for some of the top picks to drop a bit, I didn't think that there was any way scouts could have predicted he would be drafted at number eight. Yet each scout I talked to was very impressed with Glennie and wasn't surprised at all that the Stars drafted him as high as they did. Before the season began, the prevailing thought was that Glennie was riding the wave next to Brayden Schenn, the other superstar on on the Wheat Kings. They were linemates, and many thought that Glennie was just benefiting from Schenn's greatness.
One scout I talked to was extremely high on Scott Glennie. Mike Remmerde, a scout for the Red Line Report, was willing to take a few moments to discuss the Stars' top draft pick and give a bit of insight as to why he was picked so high.
Why do you think Scott Glennie went so high in the draft, when many thought he would go in the mid-teens?
"How much he improved over the past two seasons. Scouts are always looking for that improvement year after year in a young players because he's going to need to continue to grow and improve to become a good NHL player. So he was definitely a much, much better player this year than he was last year."
As someone who has seen him play day in and day out, what would you say his strengths and weaknesses are?
"He's almost an NHL caliber skater already. He'll be a better than average skater by NHL standards when he does make the jump. I think his vision and creativity with the puck is underrated. He scored a ton of points and he's got a lot offensive upside, a lot.
"He's going to have to get stronger, both upper and lower body strength, that's something he's going to have to work on. I think his frame and size will be ok, I think he can get bigger it's just going to take some time. He's a little easy to knock down. In the Western Hockey League not too many opponents can catch up to him, but once he takes a hit he's going to lose the puck because of lack of strength.
"That being said, he's not afraid to get hit and that's a big, big plus. You see a guy get knocked and lose the puck, that's okay as long as he keeps getting back up. He does like to stick his nose in traffic and that's a good thing."
How does he project as a player in the NHL?
"He's top two liner for sure, a top winger. He's got first line potential for sure. Once he builds up his size, he has the potential to become a very dangerous forward in the NHL."
The overall consensus among the scouts I talked to was that Scott Glennie is a special player with incredible skating ability. He is untouchable because of his speed and while does need to build strength, he's not knocked off the puck much because no one can catch him. This past season Glennie proved that he is much more than just beneficiary of playing next to Brayden Schenn. He made his own plays, and set himself apart as a great player in his own right. His work ethic and desire to improve are what impressed team's the most about Glennie and all signs point to him continuing to grow as he makes his way to the NHL.
He'll return to the Brandon Wheat Kings next year with the chance to win the WHL championship and a shot at the Memorial Cup. He'll have the opportunity to not only improve as a player, but continue to grow as a leader on his team.
While many Stars fans were initially upset at the selection of Scott Glennie, it's a near unanimous decision among the scouts that watched him play that Dallas made a great choice by picking a very special player.
Mike Remmerde is a Regional Scout and Contributing Editor for the Red Line Report (www.redlinereport.com). Based in Vancouver, Washington, he's in his 14th year covering draft-eligible prospects in western Canada and the western US for Red Line.