The hockey market in Dallas is once again excited about hockey (well at least it was before the lockout), but for the last few years there has not been much to cheer about. Absentee ownership led to a mediocre product on the ice, and a lack of direction off of it. There was less attention on the team from fans and media, who instead followed the successes of the Mavericks, Rangers, and Cowboys (OK, just the Mavericks and Rangers).
That isn’t to say there haven’t been die hard Stars fans who stuck it out through the worst of times – and I know many of them are our readers. The passion and knowledge of the community of readers here is unrivalled around the league – I really mean that.
Anyway, that was an incredibly long-winded introduction. My piece today is talking about Scott Glennie. The reason I mentioned the struggles in the Dallas market is that the hype around top young prospects isn’t as big for the Stars as it is in other markets (say Toronto or Philadelphia). Glennie was drafted 8th overall back in 2009 out of the WHL, and fans in Dallas had high hopes for his future, as they would for any top 10 pick.
Since 2009, Glennie’s development has been inconsistent. On paper, his production during 2009-10 and 2010-11 with the Brandon Wheat Kings was fantastic – 89 and 91 points, respectively. He skated on a line with Brayden Schenn and Matt Calvert (Calvert is a player to watch – a very gritty and tenacious two-way winger), and the trio was one of the most effective lines in the entire CHL.
Glennie’s rookie season in Texas last year did not go as expected, though. He lit the lamp only 12 times in 70 games, and never really asserted himself as a go-to offensive threat. Stars fans were undoubtedly disappointed, but Glennie’s poor rookie season didn’t receive the same level of scrutiny that it would have elsewhere. And this is a good thing, as young prospects don’t always develop in a linear fashion.
Having watched Glennie play a lot (both in the WHL and AHL), I can say with confidence that he will be an NHL player. His skill set was never one that left a lasting impression on me, even as his days as a top line scorer with Brandon. He had good size, good speed, and played a sound and responsible two-way game. The fact that he was picked 8th overall isn’t a good reflection of his ability of a prospect, or his upside as a player – that isn’t to say it was a bad pick at the time, but Glennie never really added the offensive dimension to his game that Dallas was hoping he would.
Is he a bust? No. Was it a bad pick? Probably, but that is irrelevant now (although that won’t matter to the people who continually look for him to develop into a top line forward). There are countless examples of forwards drafted in the top 10 who never really find their games until five or six years after draft day (Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd jump to mind).
The keys for Dallas with Glennie is patience and building a winning environment. The future Stars must learn what it takes to be successful on a consistent basis. This wasn’t going to happen with the old regime around, which is why you saw the trades of Mike Ribeiro and Steve Ott out of town. Complacency is a dangerous thing, especially for prospects trying to find their way.
Anyway, I once again talked to Cody Nickolet from the Saskatoon Blades, who saw a lot more of Glennie during his time with Brandon than I did. I wanted to get some further insights into Glennie’s time in the WHL.
Angus: What were his standout qualities at the WHL level?
I always viewed Glennie as a very well rounded player in his WHL days. He was a solid goal scorer, could set up plays, skated well and seemed to be able to set the tone physically when he wanted to. He filled a number of different roles and was a good fit at the time with a guy like Brayden Schenn.
Did you feel that Glennie's play with Brandon justified his high draft selection?
I've had some nice things to say about Glennie from his time in the WHL, but in the end I still don't feel like he was taken in the right spot in the 2009 NHL Draft. I think he was more suited to be a guy taken in the second half of the first round, not in the top 10.
Did he benefit from Schenn and Calvert as his linemates too much, perhaps?
I think benefitting from good linemates was part of the problem for Glennie. It definitely put him in good positions to succeed in junior and he looked like a very dangerous player on many nights because of it. With that being said, it's not really fair to put all of the blame on his lack of pro success on the fact that he got to play with good players pre-draft, potentially inflating his numbers and success.
Were there any warning signs during his final season with Brandon?
Glennie always seemed to be a player, in my eyes, that had things come to him fairly easily for him. He made things look pretty effortless on many occasions. He was very skilled, but an outlook like that has also had people question his compete level. I know that's been an area of concern for me about his game for a long time. It seems like he could accomplish so much more if he just gave it that extra little bit of effort on a more consistent basis.
Was conditioning ever an issue that you are aware of?
No, I never heard of any conditioning issues.
With his early pro struggles - where do you see his career headed? Can he get back on track?
I still think he can become a regular NHL player and one that excels. I'm just not sold on the fact that he is ready to do it in the next couple of years or that he will ever be a rock-solid top-six player. He's got the size and well-rounded skill set that makes him a potential third line player. It might take some time and patience, but I think he still has the chance to make that happen.
The Stars have built up a deep prospect pool (and they still don’t receive the proper recognition for it). Glennie isn’t the top forward prospect – in fact, he isn’t among the top five or six. However, it is too early to write him off. Players develop at different rates – perhaps something clicks for him this year. Maybe it isn’t until next year. It could be related to fitness or nutrition, or something to do with his game on the ice.
The fact he was selected so high has to be ignored when evaluating him now – draft selections reflect one thing only – how a player is viewed during their draft year. Back in 2009, many in the hockey world viewed Glennie as a future 30-goal scorer at the NHL level. He was seen by some as a “safe” pick because he didn’t have many holes in his game. However, flash forward three years, and he is still finding his way in the hockey world. He isn’t the only former top 10 pick to struggle in his first few years of pro hockey, and he won’t be the last.