Sunday, May 17, 2009

Penalty Kill: Scott Glennie

Anaheim calling to the hockey world...

So, we're still picking 15th.

If the Ducks had advanced to the Western Conference Finals, they would have automatically forfeited the 15th pick (earned by virtue of having the worse of the two 8th seed records), and drawn no better than 27th. It's not "good" news if you thought this Ducks team had a chance at the Cup, but as a Ducks fan, you have to chuckle that you were able to watch two series of bonus hockey, but you still get to pick immediately after the lottery teams on Draft Day.

In my last Penalty Kill, I said that based on Anaheim's prospect pool, the smart money is on a solid blueliner or a pure scoring Top Sixer. I chose John Moore as the best defenseman available at 15th, and I'd like to point out now that he's also a superior pick to any Top Sixer that will be available at 15th. After the lottery picks, most of the remaining forwards in the First Round are two-way players. Generally, that's a good thing, but the Ducks have so many two-way forwards in their prospect pool that they should be willing to sacrifice a little defensive sense in the name of pure scoring talent. That's not easy to find in the this year's First Round class.

If the Ducks are hell-bent on getting a Top Sixer, I personally feel that leaves them with three options (only one of which guarantees them the pure scorer they're looking for):

1) Trade Up. If the Ducks trade into the Top 14 picks, they can pick up Scott Glennie, a pure scorer who is the subject of this Penalty Kill.

2) Stay at 15th. If the Ducks stay at 15th, but still want to draft a forward, the best pick for them is probably Zack Kassian. He's a more appropriate pick at around 17th, but he's a Big Bad player who's shown enough scoring ability this year that Anaheim might be able to develop him into a power forward.

3) Trade down. The Ducks showed they were willing to trade down last year to get the player they wanted. Gardiner was overvalued at 17th, but that was as far down as Burke could trade. This year, the Ducks can trade into the last ten picks and pick up Drew Shore. Shore's got the recent Ducks pedigree: North American-born, committed to an American college (University of Denver) and a hard worker with competitive grit. Murray may find his slow development preferrable to bringing along the offensive skills of players available at 15th, like Kassian, Peter Holland or Landon Ferraro.

So, how far up does Anaheim have to trade to get Scott Glennie? I'd say they need to get at least as high as 12th (MIN), but more likely 11th (NSH) to nab him. He's ranked 19th overall by ISS, 7th (North America) by Central Scouting and projected to be drafted around 11th by TSN. More importantly, though, why should they draft Scott Glennie?

There are "hot words" when reading through scouting reports because there are things that scouts are willing to say and there are things that scouts are hesitant to say. The rare words that always catch my eye are: "NHL level speed." That's usually enough for me to go find out more about a kid, and in this case, to watch his WHL games online.

This kid is FAST. And he can score in 5th gear, or downshift and finish in another gear if the play calls for it. If you were putting any stock in Landon Ferraro winning the CHL's Fastest Skater competition at this year's Top Prospects game (tweaking his groin to post a 14.009 lap time), SELL IT. For whatever extra torque Ferraro has in the engine, Glennie has a faster top speed, not to mention 2 more inches in height with the prospect of filling out his 182 lbs. frame.

Glennie plays with the much-lauded Brayden Schenn for the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings. Brayden and Scott were the Wheat Kings' first and second picks, respectively, in the 2006 WHL bantam draft, and they combined with fellow rookie Matt Calvert to form one of the most productive first-year lines in WHL history, knotting 193 points. Glennie's share of that was 26G and 32A at a plus/minus of 10. He was quick to drop the gloves that year, and he played a physical and gritty game similar to Schenn's, despite the disparity in size between the players.

This year, Glennie cut his PIM in half (to 25), and he notched 70 points in only 55 games with a plus/minus of 22, before he broke his left elbow, slamming into a goalpost at the end of the Wheat Kings' 7-6 overtime win in Calgary on January 31st. He was out for the remainder of the season, but returned for the Playoffs to turn in an impressive performance and 18 points (as many as Schenn).

Glennie's not a defensive savant, though the Wheat Kings trust him as a penalty killer. However, between him and the projected Top 10 Brayden Schenn, most agree that Glennie is the superior offensive talent. And Central Scouting places a heavy emphasis on his ability to play a physical game in his rookie season in the WHL. For that, they welcome comparisons to Jonathan Cheechoo and Jonathan Toews-- a natural offensive ability coupled with power moves and confidence with the puck.

Glennie is an NHL level speedster, who can finish at top speed. He has a powerful and accurate shot, and he knows where on the ice to take it. He's played some time at center (which should warm Randy Carlyle's heart) and some time on the penalty kill, and while he hasn't shown defensive prowess, per se, he's been physical in the WHL, which is usually a strong indicator of a player's courage at the NHL level.

The kid needs to fill out his 6'1" frame, but remain effective. Getting dumped at high speeds has been a problem for Glennie. He needs to build some size and durability to make sure that NHL level hits don't combine with his NHL level speed to equal NHL career ending injuries. Also, Glennie is undoubtedly overvalued due to playing with a complete player like Brayden Schenn. There is some question as to whether he will ever look like an 11th overall pick, though that is the cachet in which he will be traded if any team moves picks to get him.

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