Projecting players is what scouts do. It’s the job.
It’s not an exact science, it’s very subjective. I’m just being brutally honest by writing this, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ll probably be wrong again.
Quite frankly I was wrong about Cameron MacDonald.
I first saw MacDonald play at the Gatorade Challenge two years ago.
Sure I saw the talent, but observed what I thought were some very bad habits from a young player.
I saw a dominant skater with a fantastic shot, but I also observed a young player that didn’t move the puck quick enough.
I observed a young player that stayed on the perimeter that was content to play the individual game, the one on one game.
Did this young player hang on the puck too long because he was selfish or because he didn’t think or process the game quick enough?
Game after game my opinions and projections varied.
Obviously scouts talk and maybe my limited viewings clouded my preliminary opinions and projections.
Clearly I was wrong.
The common theme in the last few lines is “young”.
We all know young players develop at their own unique pace.
They all grow differently. That’s why projecting “young” talent is so difficult, but it’s part of the job.
You see I thought Cameron MacDonald was too one-way.
I thought Cameron MacDonald was a skilled perimeter player that wouldn’t engage, that didn’t see the ice quick enough to truly excel at the next level and beyond.
I saw a gifted hockey player, but I guess the perceived negative attributes of his game were something I just couldn’t get past.
Was I way too quick to judge?
Of course, obviously, I was wrong
A lot can happen over a two year period, especially when you don’t see young players develop, grow or put the work in behind the scenes.
When word came out that MacDonald would be joining the Sea Dogs I really wondered where the ultra talented kid from Nova Scotia would play.
Who would he play with?
He would have to play the wing, because of his tremendous speed shot and scoring touch.
I was wrong again.
Perhaps I should keep my thoughts, projections and opinions to myself, but I want people to realize just how subjective the scouting world can be at times.
Obviously Cameron MacDonald is off to a fantastic start to his QMJHL career which is truly remarkable to see.
MacDonald has proven people right and proven people wrong throughout his early foray into the QMJHL.
MacDonald has grown into a dynamic two-way presence through the middle for the Sea Dogs.
The seventeen-year-old from Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia has
certainly caught the attention of NHL scouts with his inspired play.
Sure he’s on the NHL Central Scouting List for Players to Watch, but it’s MacDonald’s work ethic and accountability in all three zones that continues to jump off the page for me.
Greg Gilbert continues to play MacDonald in every situation which speaks volumes to the trust he has in his player and his full potential.
Cameron MacDonald’s style of play has drastically changed since he was fifteen years old and rightfully so.
Players and people grow, develop and mature at their own rate.
A lot can happen in two years.
A lot can happen when young players understand their role and play the game the right way.
A lot can happen when you’re too judgmental as a scout.
I learn something about myself and players every time I walk into the rink. I’ve learned to keep an open mind especially when evaluating and projecting young talent.
We can’t hastily jump to conclusions when assessing and rating players.
We can’t make assumptions about young players or their style of play without really studying their tendencies over a long period of time.
We all see it differently, we all project talent in our own unique way.
Experience is the ultimate guide, but in some strange way I always carry my mistakes with me when I sit down to watch and scout a game.
I’ve been wrong before and I’ll probably be wrong again.
I was wrong about Cameron MacDonald, but that’s part of the learning curve.
Everyone develops or grows at their own unique pace; even scouts.