Each day in the lead-up to the NHL Draft on June 25-26 in Los Angeles, Yahoo! Sports will feature one of the Central Scouting Bureau's Top 100 North American prospects from the Canadian Hockey League.
Ottawa 67's centre Ryan Martindale can be an enigma by times, as so often is the case with a power forward whose frame is still filling out.
Opinion seems to vary widely on Martindale, whose October birthday meant that his third Canadian Hockey League season was his draft year rather than his second. He finished as the 27th-ranked North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, but was not among the top 30 players in Fantasy Hockey Scouts' consolidated ratings, which tracks the opinions of a number of sources.
It's not hard to see why. The 6-foot-3, 183-pound Martindale has had some bouts of inconsistency. It's just a matter of figuring out to what degree that could be attributed to circumstances. He had some adjustments between his second and third seasons in Ottawa, on account of a coaching changeover from Hockey Hall of Famer Brian Kilrea to Chris Byrne, along with No. 1 centre Logan Couture graduating to the AHL and NHL with the San Jose Sharks organization. His point production didn't jump up much over the prior season (19 goals, 60 points in 61 games as opposed to 23 and 47 in 53 games in 2008-09), but Martindale perhaps took on a little more defensive responsibility, which further indicated he can develop into an all-around forward with size and skill.
A native of Brooklin, Ont., Martindale likely projects as a mid-second round choice on June 26. He stands to return to a 67's team which can potentially return six of its top seven scorers from last season, including forwards Tyler Toffoli and Dalton Smith, who also attended the NHL Scouting Combine in May.
1. How would you say your past season progressed, from start to finish?
"On the whole, it was good year, it obviously had its ups and downs. I had an injury at the end of February, once I got back from that, I played pretty well. The team, we had a slow start to the year. Gradually, we came together, become comfortable in our system and became a real good team [finishing with the third-best record in the Eastern Conference].
"Having [first-year head coach] Chris Byrne come in was great, he definitely taught us a lot about the game. I think he got us to buy into a team concept and as it turned out we were able to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in five years."
2. In your mind, what would scouts say you have to work on between now and when you'll be on the cusp of turning pro?
"Going to NHL camps and going to the next level, the main thing is to outwork everybody you go up against. I am lucky to have the big body [6-foot-3, 183 pounds] that I do and I have to learn to use it, trying to outmuscle guys, outpower guys, but most of all, trying to outwork guys.
"I've always thought of myself as more of an offensive forward. I take pride in my goal-scoring ability, my passing ability. With the body that I have, I have to try to use that my advantage. It's a responsibility that you have to take as a bigger player, getting into the physical stuff."
3. What do you consider your proudest hockey achievement?
"Being able to win the championships with Team Ontario in the under-17 [World Under-17 Challenge]. Also, just having the chance to play for Ottawa in OHL. It's a great experience."
4. Whom in the NHL do you look at and say, 'That's someone I need to be playing like?'
"I like to look at guy like [San Jose Sharks centre] Joe Thornton. I think we both have a similar style. He's a very skilled hockey player. At the same time, there are a lot of top guys in the league I have to look at, try to pick apart their game, figure out what makes them successful and add as much of that as I can to my game."
5. Favourite TV show or movie?
"One of my favourite movies would have to be The Shawshank Redemption. Anything classic, like Gladiator."
For more NHL draft coverage, visit ca.sports.yahoo.com/juniorhockey.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
- Canadian Hockey League
- Central Scouting Bureau