Thursday, May 27, 2010

At The NHL Draft Combine With J.P. Barry

The prospect world has converged on Toronto this week as NHL teams poke, prod and sometimes provoke the top players eligible for this June's draft. Depending on who you ask, this is either a massive event for a player to make an impression or a minor evaluation process when compared to watching the prospects all year long.

Every year there is a player who dazzles the scouts with his strength or personality, while others hurt themselves with the lack of the above points. Some guys can save their free fall after struggling down the stretch.

One guy who falls into the latter category is Russian Kirill Kabanov who left the KHL this year to join Moncton but suffered an injury. His season was limited and he wasn't able to play for Russia at the World Junior Championship. That's a couple of big swings and misses for a guy who was once thought to be a top 5 pick. Rock bottom came when he left Moncton to join Russia's U18 club and was publicly embarrassed by his home country after they sent him home immediately. If you ask me it's pretty petty how the Russian hockey federation handled this.

So is their a player who needs the combine more then Kirill Kabanov this year? Can he get back in the good books with NHL scouts? Will he be back in the QMJHL next season, and with who? We asked his agent J.P. Barry of CAA those kinds of questions Tuesday night.

We also quizzed the personable Barry about some of his other clients. Players like Quinton Howden, Jordan Weal and Freddie Hamilton who is an interesting story. Hamilton rose 40 spots from the mid term rankings to the final edition from NHL Central Scouting. The Niagra Ice Dogs right handed centre scored 25 goals for 55 points this year, and also represented Canada at the Under 18 World Championship. But there's more to Hamilton then just goals and assists.

"Every once in a while you represent a player who's not getting a lot of attention, and I think at the start of the year Freddie was probably rated 5th or 6th round. What people don't know is he's a 99.5 per cent average in high school in Ontario, I think that puts him in the top 5 of the province, while playing hockey. Both his parents are 2 time Olympians, he has a incredible work ethic and he's one of those players I think where ever he goes he's gonna be a pro."

Barry talked to us about some of the bizarre questions players are getting asked this week and whether or not agents get to sit in with the players during the interview process.

Barry also represents Oilers prospect Toni Rajala and filled us in on his immediate future. Will it be in North America or Finland next year. For all that and more, click here to listen to the entire interview.

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