Wed Oct 06 10:30am EDT
Throughout the season, Buzzing The Net will profile Canadian Hockey League players who are in their NHL draft season.
Ottawa 67's left wing Shane Prince, who turns 18 next month, is fast ceasing to be a well-kept secret in the Ontario Hockey League.
Observers knew Prince possessed an extra gear, some serious giddy-up. Now, in his third OHL season, his all-around game is finally starting to complement his speed, making him more reliable. He's rewarded that trust with nine points in his first four games, actually tying him with five others for the very early-season scoring lead.
It adds up to Prince being a mid-round consideration for the 2011 draft.
"His speed is high, high-end," says 67's coach Chris Byrne. "He is quick and skilled. He's done a good job of working both ends of the rink, which is something we worked on a lot last year."
Prince was productive in his age-17 season, tallying 15 goals and 30 points in 67 games between the Kitchener Rangers and Ottawa. He's been skating with overage centre Cody Lindsay and Los Angeles Kings second-round pick Tyler Toffoli of late. Ottawa, which also boasts Edmonton Oilers third-rounder Ryan Martindale as its No. 1 centre, seems to be able to tag-team opponents with two good scoring lines, whatever the groupings.
"I feel great now," says Prince, who is listed at 5-foot-11, 184 pounds. "I have great linemates, getting a lot of quality ice time, getting a lot of opportunity, a lot of chances. To start a full season off in Ottawa [after being traded last season] has been great and I'm really looking forward to it."
"We definitely have a lot of offence," Prince adds. "We can score, we know that, so we're definitely focusing on our defence, keeping our shots [against] to a minimum, our goals against to a minimum.
Prince, a native of Spencerport, N.Y., is one of a growing number of players from the Empire State having an impact in the OHL. He graduated from the same youth program in Syracuse whose grads include Chicago Blackhawks prospect Jeremy Morin, the former Kitchener Ranger, and last season's OHL Humanitarian Award winner, former Plymouth Whaler Ryan Hayes.
Fun fact: the 67's roster is proof that a group of 23 people is likely to have two individuals who share a birthday. Prince and goalie Shayne Campbell were each born Nov. 16, 1992.
1. In your mind, what would scouts say is the biggest thing you have to work on between now and when you'll be on the cusp of turning pro?
"You can always work on your skating and your speed. Every level you go up, it's always faster and more physical. I can just get bigger, stronger and faster, that'd be great
"I think I've done a good job of playing with the bigger guys so far this year."
2. What is the biggest asset you bring to a team?
"Definitely goal scoring and playing making. That's my duty, that's what I do."
3. Outside of family, who has had the biggest impact on you in your career?
"Scott Montagna, who was my travel team coach for five years growing up in Syracuse [with the Syracuse Stars program]. He was really huge on getting you to play both ends of the rink. If you were a scorer, you had to play well in the defensive zone, if you were a defensive forward you were expected to play offensively. He gave me a lot of discipline."
4. Hockey players have to eat very healthy. What's one snack that you know you can't have too often, but have it anyways?
"Tiramasu, from my aunt."
5. Favourite TV show or movie?
"Favourite TV show, The First 48. That's like different murders, they go through and find who did it. Some are actually from Rochester ... Favourite movie? Law-Abiding Citizen."
(Photo by Aaron Bell, OHL Images.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.