Monday, June 13, 2011

Prospect Profile: Sahir Gill - Don't Wake A Sleeping Terrier

{courtesy of}

Much of the talk surrounding BU has been about Charlie Coyle, a 2009 1st round draft pick, and two highly rated prospects, Adam Clendening and Matt Nieto, and for good reason.  Those players are very talented in their own way, making them appealing as high picks in the draft, but freshman, Sahir Gill, whose draft year was 2010, deserves just as much credit for Boston University’s success this season.  Look at his age, and it’s obvious that Gill is a freshman.  But watch him play on the ice and it becomes apparent that he has the skill, poise, and determination of senior.

Coming into the season was a bit of a transition.  Many starters had moved on to play at the higher level in the AHL and NHL, most noticeably Kevin Shattenkirk, Nick Bonino, and Colby Cohen.  Add in the off-ice shenanigans that sent the Saponari brothers packing and BU looked like it was in a world of hurt for the 2010-11 season.  With their scouting staff, BU brought in Charlie Coyle, Adam Clendening, Matt Nieto, Sahir Gill, Patrick MacGregor, Yasin Cisse, and Garrett Noonan to pick up and improve where BU left off the previous year.

Immediately, Gill burst onto the scene notching an assist in his first game and then scoring 4 points in his next one.  In the first 16 games, Sahir put up 16 points, pretty impressive for a freshman if I do say so myself.  He hit a bit of a dry patch in the middle of the season before piling up another 9 points in the final 13 games.  He was 6th on the team in points, with 25, ahead of highly-touted Matt Nieto.  Boston University being my favorite NCAA team, it was a no-brainer for me to schedule an interview with Gill.

Prospect Pursuit: When and why did you get started playing hockey?

Sahir Gill: I started playing hockey when I was 4, started skating at about 2.  My older brother played so I used to walk around with his hockey stick and hit things so my mom decided to put me on skates.

PP: Who was your favorite team/players growing up and for what reasons?

SG: My favorite team is Calgary.  I always loved the tough style of play the Flames played with and the skill they incorporated as well.  My favorite player was Peter Forsberg, I loved the way he could dominate a game and his skills were one of a kind.

PP: What did you learn from playing with the Chicago Steel of the USHL and the Vernon vipers of the BCHL?

SG: I wasn’t in Chicago for very long, but my time in Vernon was pretty special.  I was apart of two national championship teams, we won back to back, so it’s something I’ll never forget.  I grew up as a player in Vernon and learned some key things, especially defensive play there.  Also, the friendships I made in Vernon will last me a long time.

PP: Did you consider going the CHL route?

SG: I considered the CHL route a little bit, it’s a pretty big deal in Canada, but ultimately I wasn’t willing to rule out school when I was 16 so I decided to wait a year and play in the BCHL.  That’s when I was approached by a few schools that changed my mind about going to the CHL.

PP: Why did you choose Boston University?

SG: I chose Boston University because when I was a midget, I came to visit the school with my midget program.  We did a swing of BU, BC, and Harvard and I was also impressed with BU.  We watched a game at Agganis Arena and that kind of solid it for me, so when Coach Parker and Bavis were interested in me, it was kind of a no brainer.

PP: In a few short sentences, describe yourself as a player.

SG: I think I’m an offensive player, probably more of a playmaker than a goal scorer.  I think I can make my teammates and linemates better with my vision and I think my competitiveness is something that I take pride in.

PP: Do you pay any attention to the mock drafts and where they rank you?
SG: I don’t really like to pay attention to the mock drafts, just because there is so much speculation around it.  I just try and focus on going out and playing my best and trying to help us win and try and let everything else take care of itself.
PP: Has Charlie Coyle, a current NHL draftee and BU player, given you any tips or words of advice for when draft day comes around?
SG: Charlie and I haven’t really talked about that.  I know Charlie’s stories of the draft and his process so, any questions kind of get answered right there.
PP: What are the benefits from playing NCAA hockey?
SG: I think the education aspect is pretty unique.  You don’t really understand how much school consumes your timetable till you get to school in September.  But as for hockey, I think the off ice training and attention to detail is pretty good.  Also each game means so much more because we don’t play as many as the CHL, so it teaches you to come prepared each and every night.
PP: Who do you compare your game to in the NHL?

SG: I compare my game to Claude Giroux from the Flyers.  He’s my favorite active player and I try to model my game to his.
PP: What are your thoughts of fellow teammates and draft hopefuls, Adam Clendening and Matt Nieto?
SG: I think Adam and Matt both have bright futures in hockey.  It’s been cool playing with them this year and they’re both special players.  They’re both great guys, too, which is nice.

PP: What is it like playing for a likely Hall of Famer in Jack Parker?
SG: It’s fun.  He’s a very energetic guy.  He’s very intense, too, and ther’s a lot to learn from him.  He’s been around the game for so long, so I look forward to the next 3 years at BU.
PP: What do you have to do in order to take your game to the next level to play in the NHL?
SG: I think being committed to the off-ice training is going to be big for me.  Also I’d like to work on my skating and quickness as well as my shooting.  There’s always a lot to work on so the next 3 years at BU should be fun.

PP: What do you consider the best moment in your playing career so far?
SG: Best moment so far is definitely the two national championships in Vernon.  Both were different and unbelievable and it’s something no one can take away from me and the other guys who won them.  It’s definitely something I will remember for the rest of my life.
PP: Are there any players that you have played with/against who you think will make the NHL and produce very well?  If you can, name some and give a reason why.
SG: I’ve played with a lot of good players, but some that come to mind are probably Charlie, Adam, Matt and Garrett Noonan.  They all work very hard and are all super skilled.  It’s been a lot of fun this year.  Also I think the Jones twins over at Quinnipiac as well.  We were linemates for two years in Vernon and they’re special players.  Super skilled and super competitive.
PP: What does BU have to do different this season to get back into contention for the Frozen Four?
SG: I think we have to have more attention to detail.  A lot of times this year, we were in close games and I think with another year under everyone’s belt, we will have the experience to close out games and have better 60-minute efforts.  We’re returning a lot of guys and the next looks to be exciting for BU hockey!

Gill’s name hasn’t been thrown around often enough, and when it has, the consensus seems to be a late round pick.  With Gill’s playmaking ability, hard-nosed effort, and strong play in-and-around the net, one team will be very lucky to have the British Columbia native in their prospect pool.  Silky smooth hands and passing capability, one can see the resemblance of a Forsberg or a Giroux.  The likelihood of reaching that high of a potential will be very hard to overcome, but it isn’t out of the realm of possibility considering Gill’s work ethic and tireless play.  The Terriers had a few surprising breakout players this season, but Sahir played well enough to get his name thrown out as a possible draft pick in Minnesota.  After all is said and done in St. Paul in two weeks, 29 GM’s will wonder why they didn’t pick Gill in 2010 when they had the chance.


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