Director of Amateur Scouting Dave Morrison is a great interview (video) when it comes to the Leafs prospects and the scouting process. In case you missed it, or if you prefer the written word, here’s the transcript of his thoughts on each Leaf draftee from Sunday’s draft.
On scouting the QMJHL this season:
“Pierre [Pierre Rioux, amateur scout] does a great job covering the league [QMJHL] off. We also have Alan Power in the maritimes. Pierre is full time, Alan is part time, but between the two of them they really do a thorough job. In the Quebec league this year I think it was pretty well known it was a pretty strong year for that league, so we were there quite a bit, Rimouski specifically. I’m happy for that league; I don’t know if it was a record year for that league or close to it… “
“It was such a good year in the Q and it was obviously heavily scouted not just by us but 29 other teams. I think it was a great crop of kids and Frederik was on our radar pretty early. We kept a close eye on him and are obviously very happy we got him… there’s a lot more attention to defence [in the QMJHL] than there was 20, 30 years ago. It is what it is; there is no perfect style, but we’re seeing a bit of a different breed of player and that’s good for the league.”
On Frederik Gauthier:
“Pierre had seen him the year before, but he was committed to going to Harvard I think at that point. I think, at that time, he had been a football player, too. He really didn’t know he was that good of a hockey player. I mean, he knew he could play the game obviously, but I don’t think he knew how good he was. And then he got heavily recruited by Rimouski by some of the bigger named people who have played in Rimouski previously. I think once he got there he jumped on the scene pretty quickly. He had a very very good first half. He seemed to tire a bit in the second half, which I think is normal or a kid who is not use to that type of grind. Then he came back in April at the World Championships and had a really good tournament.”
“I put him more as a two-way guy, but certainly he’s very, very good in his own zone. He’s responsible, he’s good on faceoffs. I would say he’s got a developing offensive game. His totals are good for a first year guy in the league. I thought in the tournament he came up with some pretty big plays at big times. We’re hopeful he can develop that part of his game, but yeah we like his size, we like his all-around game.
“I kind of put him in that Josh Leivo category, where he was really a late bloomer in terms of when his development really started to take off. We thought in the second half we really saw signs of him coming on, especially in the playoffs vs. Oshawa. We also thought he had a really good tournament over there. He played in more of a third or fourth line role but he played really well and we kept a close eye on him. He’s got some size potential, still a kid that could put on quite a bit of weight and get stronger. So we’re hopeful.”
“He’s big. He can skate. He’s not afraid of physical play and goes hard to the net. Our European scouts, specifically Peter Ihnacak was very high on him. He was sort of in my ear quite a bit this year about him… I think he’s giong to be available for the import draft, but that’s something between him and his agent that we’ll follow up on. I think at this point he’s open to coming.”
“He sort of took over the number one job there, culiminating with an invite to Canada’s tryout camp. They only took three goalies and I don’t think he made it, but he’s big.. I don’t think there were many big goalies available this year.. He’s one of the bigger bodies. I had Mike Palmateer follow him a couple of times this year. I saw him myself as well as Pierre and Alan. Al Jensen from Central Scouting had a lot of time for him. We just thought he was one of those kids we would like to have in our system to see if he can do anything because we think he has a lot of potential.”
“He is a skilled, strong winger. Not tall, but he’s got a thicker build. Very intelligent and skilled. We’ve been fortunate with some of the guys we’ve taken from over there, and our North American guys who saw him really liked him, too. We just wanted to take a chance on that skill.”