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.
Chilliwack Bruins centre Kevin Sundher hopes he's a quick study as he learns to be a two-way centre.
Sundher, who is NHL Central Scouting's 67th-ranked North American skater, came into the Western Hockey League with a reputation for instant offence. The Surrey, B.C., native was British Columbia minor hockey player of the year as a 15-year-old, when he led the Burnaby Winter Club to the Western Canada bantam AAA title and was a first-round selection in the WHL draft.
The 5-foot-11, 192-pounder, who is bright enough that he was skipped ahead a grade in elementary school, has applied himself to playing a more well-rounded game. He tallied 61 points (25 goals, 36 assists) in 72 games in his sophomore season, providing much needed scoring for a Chilliwack team whose 213 goals was the second-fewest among WHL playoff teams.
1. How would you say your past season progressed, from start to finish?
"Statistically, it was not the greatest. We had a new coach in Marc Habscheid and he taught me a lot and really completed my game, helped work on the missing parts. Learning-wise, (this season) was incredible, it was a godsend that Marc came.
"As a 16-year-old [in 2008-09], I was given a lot of rope and I wasn't held accountable for mistakes. Marc made sure I was. He's a hard-nosed guy, but he's coached in the NHL and the Olympics. He just made me a complete player."
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?
"It's one thing to learn and say it and the next step is to do it. I have to keep working hard. My strength, obviously, has to continue to improve. I have keep working on that and come into next season ready to go.
"Consistency was also something that plagued me this past year, especially early in the season. Marc made sure to impress on me that at the next level, you got to be going all the time. The fun thing about hockey is you are never always going to be perfect and there's always something to work on."
3. What is the best asset you bring to a team?
"Speed and skill are my go-to attributes. Marc actually said I'm the most skilled player he's coached in junior, and he's coached a Memorial Cup team [winning with the Kelowna Rockets in 2004], so that's pretty high praise."
4. What do you consider your most meaningful hockey achievement?
"In bantam, myself and [Kamloops Blazers defenceman] Austin Madaisky, who's here also [at the NHL Scouting Combine] won the [Triple-A] bantam Western championships [with the Burnaby Winter Club] and that was incredible. We had a record of 59-2 that season. It was huge, I got a big fat ring from it. It was awesome."
5. Favourite TV show or movie?
"Entourage. I love it. With my buddies I try to be the Vince, but I've got a little work to do to be the real Vince. Favourite movie, probably The Hangover or Rocky. I love all the Rockys."
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.
- NHL Central Scouting
- Western Hockey League