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Ask A Scout: Answers To Your Questions About Carolina’s Prospects, Part 1

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Red Line Report scout Max Giese was nice enough to field questions from Canes Country's readers about Carolina's prospects and the players chosen in June's entry draft. We received several questions and Max was kind of enough to sift through them and answer as many as he could.

Because he answered so many, it will be broken into two parts. Some questions have been edited for clarity and style. Here is Part 1.

Defenseman Rasmus Rissanen would be good to learn about. (from hockeymomof2)

Giese: Rissanen was a good find in the sixth round. He's an underrated, take charge type of defenseman. His offensive upside is limited, but you need defenseman who can give you 10 to 15 good minutes a night and that's where Rissanen projects to be a valuable asset to the Hurricanes. He has good size and is only going to get stronger, but most of all it's his toughness, shot blocking, physicality and willingness to sacrifice his body for the betterment of the team that makes him a promising prospect. His assertive nature and willingness to work makes it possible that he could reach a higher upside than what is expected out of a sixth rounder.

A player that often gets overlooked is Chris Terry.  In his second to last junior season, he had 101 points and then in his final year he had 94 points in just 53 games.  He was captain on the team and won several leadership and community awards.  He seems like a class kid and a natural leader.  He is not big, but at 5'10 and now close to 200 pounds, he is big enough.  He also had a solid rookie campaign in Albany last year.  The question is, is he a legitimate NHL prospect or one of these kids who was a great junior but destined to spend his career in the minors?  (sittler22).

Giese: Terry doesn't have some of the measurables you look for in a player but he has great hockey sense and character, which you can't teach. Any late round pick is a long shot to make the NHL but it's usually the character kids that make it. How quickly does he make the NHL? I'm not sure. But if you're asking if he's going to get a shot I would say yes, and since he's added more depth to his game away from the puck over the years and the leadership and character he has that you hit on, he could develop into a solid depth player.

Do you have access to any information on Mattias Lindstrom’s condition post-injury? Is he an NHL prospect? Among Lindstrom, Jared Staal and Oskar Osala, which do you think most likely to succeed in the NHL as an immovable object near the net? (from curiouscanesfan)

Giese: Mattias Lindstrom is the mostly likely to succeed in the NHL as an unmovable object near the net. He reminds me a little bit of Tomas Holmstrom. The knee injury he suffered is a slight concern because the knock on him has always been his lack of acceleration. But he's a skilled and physical big man who drives the net and plants himself there at every opportunity. He's also a smart defensive player who can cycle the puck. It's rare to find players who can play outside of the dots and score, so what's most attractive about Lindstrom's package is that he can play within the dots and that should help him translate to the NHL.

Osala has all the physical tools to be a goal scoring net presence, but he seems to lack the willingness to do it on a consistent basis. Jared Staal has the tools as well but seems to lack the internal drive and toughness to get the task done in front of the cage.

I’m also wondering if Dumoulin’s outstanding performance at Boston College this year suggests he should have gone higher than the late second round, or do you think that would still be about right for him? (from curiouscanesfan)

Giese: Dumoulin was fantastic this year for Boston College and most definitely he would go much higher than late in the second round if the draft was done over again. It's pretty rare to find such a big defenseman who can push the puck and bring the offense the way he can. Coming into the draft NHL scouts had been following him for two years or so. His coming out party of sorts was the Chicago High School Showcase in 2008, and he was very good the next summer at the Select 17's and at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. Still though, playing against a low level of competition in the EJHL tempered his stock at the draft, plus he was raw defensively and still quite gangly. A year of a lot of practicing and weight training at BC has aided his development immensely, and his rapid transition from a dominant EJHL player to a dominant Hockey East defenseman was very impressive. He might only need one more year of school before tackling the pros. Last year Patrick Wiercioch (Ottawa Senators prospect) dominated as a sophomore for Denver and is regarded as a high-end prospect, I expect Dumoulin to dominate next season in a similar fashion and he will begin to get the notoriety he deserves.

Clearly scouting isn’t an exact science. Do scouts consider themselves successful if they’re sort of right about 90 percent of the players? Exactly right about 20 percent? Is there a rule of thumb? How does that rule of thumb compare with the way scouts evaluate team drafts? (from curiouscanesfan)

Giese: You're correct scouting is not an exact science. In my opinion being a good scout is a lot like being a good player. There is a certain element of natural ability that goes into it but more than anything it's having passion for the game and being willing to work harder than the scout next to you. Grading a scout's success is difficult. I think the low-end goal of any scout is to not miss on the high-end guys in your territory. For example, the USHL was my main focus this year and I was relieved to see Jaden Schwartz go high in the first-round because that's where I had him slotted. You don't want to miss on those guys. That said, the true test of any scout is the ability to find the diamond in the rough. I think fans would be surprised how much energy is exhausted by scouts every year to uncover late-round gems. As a scout, if you can locate a player in the fourth to seventh round that turns into an every day player in the NHL, then I would consider that scout a successful one. So part of the job is trying to slot in players to their correct values, but my favorite part is going out to games and locating that player that I feel strongly about in a positive way when others are ready to write him off.

I’d like to get Max's impression of the Canes’ drafting in general, anything he’s noticed in particular, how he sees our approach to the draft, our strategies with early round picks versus depth, something along those lines, just to see an outside perspective. (from LTD)

Giese: Carolina has been one of the better teams at the draft table in recent years and their 2010 Draft Class ranked first overall in Red Line Report's draft review. I think their staff does a great job identifying a player's value. Carolina rarely reaches on a player and they also come away with some players in the late rounds that you wonder how they slipped so far. So I think their staff should be commended for getting good value with each pick. I know they took some heat for the Philippe Paradis pick a year ago but I recently attended the Chicago Blackhawks’ Prospect Development Camp and Paradis was one of the more impressive forwards there. He might not be a top-line skill guy but he has some athleticism, range and he loves to work hard. In the late '90s through 2001 the Hurricanes went through a funk of bad drafts, but since 2002 they've become one of the top drafting teams.

Of the players drafted by the Canes, which one(s) do you think will surprise us the most?  Disappoint us the most?  Which prospect do you think will have the best impact on the Canes?

Giese: I don't know if you can consider second-round picks a surprise but I really think Jamie McBain and Justin Faulk are going to become defensemen that Carolina can build their defensive corps around. McBain is a skilled and intelligent two-way defenseman that will quarterback the powerplay and is going to surprise some people with his quiet effectiveness on defense. Down the road expect Justin Faulk's point blast and open-ice hits to be feared around the league. On the downside, I'm still not sold on Mike Murphy, even after he dominated the OHL and transitioned well to the AHL. I love his quickness, Gumby-like athleticism, and his competitive spirit, but his erratic technique and inability to fill the net is going to hurt him in the NHL. And this is coming from someone whose favorite player of all time is Arturs Irbe. I just don't see Murphy being this sleeper, future NHL goaltender that some project him to be. Goaltenders are so hard to predict though.

If you were the Canes GM would you have chosen differently than Jim Rutherford did, and who? (from CaniacSteve)

Giese: In all honesty, it wasn't until the sixth round of the 2010 Draft that I didn't like a pick by the Hurricanes. At the draft, it seemed like every time Carolina made a selection, a couple of other Red Line scouts and I would look at each other and nod in agreement that it was a nice pick. Goalie Frederik Andersen was a great pick in the seventh, but maybe in the sixth they could've grabbed someone like Brendan Woods or Chris Crane out of the USHL. But that might be my Midwest U.S. bias coming out.

Can you give your opinions on Jeff Skinner in terms of NHL readiness? Do you feel he could use another year in major junior, or would he be better served jumping right in? We saw it happen with Brandon Sutter because Red Deer was in horrible shape that year. Are the Kitchener Rangers (Skinner's OHL team) in a similar situation? Also can you give your view on him being a wing or a center? Skinner has said he prefers center but has played wing in tournaments. Do you feel he would be better served moving over, especially given the centers the organization has? (from aphillips)

Giese: The Hurricanes are in a nice spot with Skinner. In many ways he's ready for the NHL and would most definitely score enough goals this year (especially on the power play) to justify him staying with the big club out of camp. But at the same time if he goes back to Kitchener, he's going to a great program with a good supporting cast and he could work on further developing his skating and defensive play. Either way, expect Skinner to get the nine-game tryout and the Canes can take it from there. At the NHL level Skinner is going to play the wing. He doesn't have the range or defensive skills to line up against the premiere centers in the league. Plus Carolina already has their franchise center in Eric Staal, so Skinner is a lock to play the wing in the NHL. Goal scorers like Skinner are rare to find, and you don't want to overwhelm him with other responsibilities that come with playing center in the pro game. His game is tailored for the wing in the NHL and he should develop into a dominant scorer at that position.

In your view are Riley Nash and Zac Dalpe ready for the NHL? What are the strengths and areas in need of improvement for both? (from abramsdoug)

Giese: Nash was a great value pickup in exchange for a second-round pick at the draft. Plus he's a mature and well-developed package, so there wasn't the risk involved that comes with drafting an 18-year-old kid. He's a very crafty and sly offensive player with great patience. His hands are quick and soft, and his ability to slow the pace of the play down when the puck is on his blade is something you can't teach. He's willing to get into traffic, but pro traffic is a lot different than ECAC traffic. The schedule tends to wear down rookies out of the NCAA, so Nash's skill and hockey sense could get him a cup of tea in the NHL this year, but overall I expect him to spend the majority of the season in the AHL so he can adapt to the rigors of the pro game's physicality. Either way he's a real nice prospect to have and he was very good for Cornell when I saw them late in the season at the ECAC tournament.

I didn't get to see enough of Ohio State this year to give you an honest answer on Dalpe. I saw a lot of Ohio State when Dalpe was a freshman because I needed to go and see Corey Elkins, who was a hot commodity in the free agent market at the time. As a freshman Dalpe was good but not great. Solid but not dominant. However, I hear he was great and was dominant as a sophomore but I wasn't able to see it first hand. Then he goes on and scores six goals in his first nine pro games — that's outstanding. Scouts highly value and put a lot of stock into a player's ability to transition to a higher level of play quickly. Dalpe should be back and fourth between Carolina and Albany this year.

Read Part 2 here.