Wednesday, June 22, 2011

E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120: Mark McNeill #14

By Eldon MacDonald

14. Mark McNeill - “Mr. Omni Skill” - C - Canada

Vitals: Size - 6’1”, 211 lb.; Shoots right; Born: 22-Feb-93 - Langley, BC
Team: Prince Albert, WHL
2010-11Stats: 70-32-49-81-53-(-4) + WHL playoffs 6-2-3-5-2-(+2) + U18 7-06-6-2-(-3)
9 - Christopher Ralph's Top 210
9 - Cory Pronman's Top 100
12 - Future Considerations Final Rankings
13 - The Scouting Report's Top 100 Skaters
14 - E-Mac's 2011 NHL Entry Draft Top 120
16 - hfboards Readers’ Poll
16 - The Hockey News per TSN
16 - Dean Millard -The Pipeline Show Top 30
17 - Kirk Luedeke's Top 50
17 - Guy Flaming - The Pipeline Show Top 30
18 - NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings (14th North American skater)
19 - Bob MacKenzie's June Poll of Scouts
21 - ISS's 30-May-11 per TSN
22 - McKeen's June Top 30
30 - Craig Button's Top 30 of 8-Jun-11
Draft result:
18 - Chicago Black Hawks

Mark McNeill is one of those guys who’s total is better than the sum of his parts. Taken individually, most of his skills (and he has many) are not mind-blowing but put them together and you have that big physical center who can probably put up second line points that every ream is craving for. Playing for a not very good Prince Albert team in the DUB, he put up 81 points in 70 games and practically willed his team into the playoffs and then almost took out the powerhouse Saskatoon Blades in the first round of the playoffs. His coach and GM Bruno Campese put things in perspective when he told, "He's one of those kids that has the ability to do so many different things. He's got so much upside to him. ... He's a powerful skater and has great hockey sense. He's got very good basic skills and he's got the ability to be a real tough person to play against. He's got the mental capabilities to understand the game as well."

Mark MacNeil has so many skills it is hard to know where to begin, it seems that you can pick any skill out of the deck and Mark is pretty good at it. Here is a list of his grab bag of tricks which will likely be incomplete but will give you an idea as to why so many people like him and why he deserves his high ratings:
  1. Offensive skills
    1. Skating - Good speed, decent agility but is more the type who will bowl you over rather than blow past you. Decent get up for an SUV built type of guy as well.
    2. Passing - Mark is a very good disher of puck but he didn’t have anybody with elite finishing abilities this year to take advantage of this skill
    3. Shooting - Big time shot with good quick release.
    4. Board play - Mark can use his size, strength and grit to own the walls.
  2. Defensive skills
    1. Good face-off man
    2. Good penalty killer
    3. Finishes his checks and I mean finishes as in crunching type
    4. A centerman who supports his defenders like a coach says he should
  3. Intangibles
    1. Coachable, very coachable, willing to listen, willing to get better
    2. Hockey sense, Marks understands the game and is constantly working on all facets of it to make himself better which is why this list is so darn long.
    3. Leadership - As noted before, Mark led his team into the playoffs and almost made the second round over a much more skilled team.
    4. Maturity - Mark approaches the game like a pro on and off the ice.
    5. Work ethic - Mark’s long list of assets have come about for a reason, he has worked on it and will continue to do so.
  4. Other
    1. NHL size at 6’1, 211 lb. - built like a brick
    2. NHL strength
    3. Brawler, can fight and when he does, watch out because he can be mean.
    4. Conditioning, Mark plays the minutes and doesn’t seem to tire.

OK, that’s enough, I don’t want to oversell the guy - as I said before, he has many tricks in his bag but most of them are just good or very good but not elite. He is a north-south type of player suited to today’s NHL and is going to have a bright future there - likely as second line center.

As for Friday (June 24th), Bob MacKenzie’s scout concensus has him at 19 and I have him a little higher at 14.


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