A beautiful goal, a punishing fight, special teams activity and over 20 minutes of strong two-way play.
That’s what Prince Albert Raider forward Mark McNeill brought against the Calgary Hitmen in a 5-1 victory Sunday night.
And all in front of scouts from over a dozen NHL clubs.
The Saddledome was a little busier with the likes of the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens in attendance to watch McNeill, the 15th ranked player for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. It’s an attention that McNeill certainly doesn’t shy away from.
`“It’s something you really get up for, with a lot of scouts in the stands,” McNeill said. “You like to show yourself.”
The game against Calgary was a good showing, finishing an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick. It was a typical game for the six-foot-two, 210-pound forward.
“I’m a power forward, big body and like to play at both ends of the rink,” McNeill said.
But what wasn’t a typical game for McNeill was the 2011 Top Prospects Game in Toronto. Coached by Don Cherry and surrounded by a plethora of media and scouts was an event in itself, McNeill said.
“It was definitely a circus but it was a hell of an experience,” he offered. “Getting the opportunity to play with the top prospects from all three CHL leagues across Canada and even having Don Cherry as a coach and in the dressing room was a great experience.”
A great experience despite being thumped 7-1.
“It was a little difficult having no systems but it makes it easier playing with high end skilled players.”
There was no fight for McNeill that night. No goals either. Just strong, steady play at both ends of the ice and the prospect of giving more.
“I thought I did alright but I always expect more out of myself.”
And that attitude coupled with his size, speed and talent will have scouts from all 30 teams drooling.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter at www.twitter.com/VickersFC. Follow the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed at www.twitter.com/FCHockey.
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