Sunday, November 4, 2012

William Carrier: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

William Carrier: NHL 2013 Draft War Room Prospect Profile : Combine

By Eldon MacDonald 

William Carrier (Photo: Ghyslain Bergeron)

William Carrier – “Mr. Turn and Burn” – Left Wing/Center – Canada 
Size: 6’1”, 198 lb.
Shoots: Left
Born: 20-Dec-94 – Ville LaSalle, QC; hometown, Pierrefonds, QC
Team: Cape Breton, QMJHL
2011-12 Stats: 66-27-43-70-65(-10) + QMJHL playoffs 4-3-3-6-4-(+4)

A List – NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings
23 – The Hockey Writers, Christopher Ralph’s The Next Ones Top 60 – Oct-12
29 – Future Considerations – Sep-12

Mr. Turn and Burn

My favourite TV program is “Ice Road Truckers”, a reality show about truckers hauling heavy loads over frozen ice in the winter. When a trucker reaches his destination on this program, his goal is usually to turn and burn to the next destination as quickly as possible in order maximize his haul loads and pay check during the short winter season, when the ice will support a full-sized haul rig. Turn and burn describes William Carrier and his approach to the game to a T.
Whenever he gets the puck in his own zone or neutral ice, his first inclination is always to turn and burnwith the puck and hit or blow past the opposing defenceman. Although he patterns himself after Rick Nash, a more apt comparison would be Max Pacioretty when he goes down the left side (his usual itinerary) or Erik Cole when he barrels down the right side. And barrels is what he does, he approaches the D at top speed and attempts to barrel over them or around them. He also has that “man-sized” body to eventually wear down an opponent. Although he is listed as 6’1 198 lbs on the Screaming Eagles website, I would be very surprised to find that he was anything under 6’2 and 205 to 210 lbs.

Mr. Successful, even when it is not easy

One of the things I admire the most about William Carrier is that he doesn’t allow distractions to bother him. He will give you the same effort and have close to the same success whether he is playing the high-flying Halifax Mooseheads and Nathan MacKinnon or some other team further down in the standings. Neither as he has let the situation in Cape Breton effect his game whether it be his mediocre team or the management turmoil (Cape Breton GM, Pierre Roux was fired  on October 15, 2012). He is a leader by doing, which is why the Cape Breton coaching staff have given him an “A” to wear on his sweater.

The Road Behind

We should not be surprised by William’s success this year as he had 70 points last season in 66 games and followed it up by with six points in four playoff games. By way of comparison, Nathan MacKinnon had 78 points in 58 games. The only good thing about getting swept in the 1st round of the Q playoffs was that William was able to suit up for Team Canada at the U18’s where he earned a bronze medal along side his Team Canada teammates.
Over the summer, William worked hard on his strength and conditioning. Of particular note was his emphasis on leg strength as Carrier wants to improve on his start-up and acceleration speed. He is plenty fast, however, when he hits the blueline, as most defencemen in the Q will attest to.
The road this current year has turned out very smooth for William. In fact, after eleven games, he is 5th in the Q in scoring with 21 points, two ahead of the pre-season favourite for No 1 draft choice in the 2013 NHL draft, Nathan MacKinnon. William was also named Q player of the week once (to zero for Nathan, better pick it up Nathan!).

The Road Ahead

Yes, I am an admirer of William Carrier and not just because he originated from one of my 14 former hometowns, Ville LaSalle, QC. However, I also realize that while his talents are very good, they also do not all fall in the elite or exceptional category. So, what would sell a prospective NHL team on William Carrier as a high draft draft choice?
  1. Size: He has that man size of NHL ready chisel – Check
  2. Skating: Powerful stride, rock steady on his skates, hard to knock down, looks like a rhino in heat on full charge when he approaches the blue-line – Check
  3. Goes to the net like a true power forward: Mr. Turn and Burn, at your service – Check it out
  4. Hangs out in in front of the net: Have you ever had an unwanted little brother who turned out to be 6’2; that’s right, you can’t get rid of him of him no matter how hard you try – Check (just ask any Q goalie)
  5. Can fight for his team: William is not a person looking for a fight but will engage for the good of the team or to take care of himself – Check it out
  6. Shot: Hard, accurate wrister with a decent release; slap shot – doesn’t use so much – Check
  7. Stickhandling: Has the finesse to handle the puck and skate around defenders – Check
  8. Defensive play: William is considered a good player at both ends of the ice – Check
  9. Reliability:  William can be counted on in all situations – Check
  10. Leadership: the “A’, eh – Check
As to deficiencies, William should continue his program of improving upon his first few strides. He also should try to make better use of his teammates. Maybe it is partly because he is not surrounded by stars, but William is sometimes guilty of trying to do too much by himself.
William is the kind of player that will get a big look at the combine because every team is looking for a power forward with the kind of qualities he possesses. As can be seen from the rankings above, he is starting to be seen in the later part of the 1st round in some rankings. However, if he continues to improve at his current rate, he is likely to shoot quite a bit higher. He probably does not possess top ten skills but could shoot up into the teens. After all, he already has Nathan playing catch-up in some aspects. And lastly, he was just named to Team QMJHL for the upcoming Subway Super Series against Team Russia. The Russians better keep their head up while he’s on the ice!
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