Saturday, June 7, 2008

NHL draft guide: Mestery profile

By Rick Morris

As announced previously in this space, Sportsology and are joining up to produce HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY, a comprehensive guide to the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and offseason as a whole. The issue will be released online, for free, at these two websites and on June 10. Until then, the features to be contained in the guide will be released here individually in serialized form.

Today, we examine Canadian prospect Eric Mestery through the eyes of HOCKEY DRAFTOLOGY correspondent Russ Cohen.

Mestery is no mystery
by Russ Cohen

Sometimes players can be aloof and hard to figure out and sometimes they can be very straightforward and honest. The latter is how I would characterize defenseman Eric Mestery.

The 6-5 blueliner weighs in at about 195 pounds so he has a chance to be a huge obstacle for offensive players around the league to try and get past in the future.

“I’m hoping to be 210 when the season rolls around,” the Winnipeg, Manitoba native said and then he talked about scrapping if need be. “If I feel that it’s a necessary thing, I’ll do it for a teammate or myself if I have to.”

Knowing that some players are guarded about what they eat, I asked him if he had a favorite donut.

“Boston Cream,” he answered quickly.

These days the new NHL has put so much emphasis in the offensive side of the game, even for defenseman, that the tougher, bigger blueliners are in demand these days because most teams don’t have one.

“I’m trying to develop into more of an offensive player. More of a two-way defenseman,” he said, knowing I would call him a stay-at-home defender.

If you have size and you aren’t afraid of using it you can be an intimating force in the league and right now Mestery isn’t willing to say if he will be that type of player.

“I don’t think many guys are intimidated by me I don’t know. I play my game but if it happens that’s good.”

You can’t teach size or hockey sense and this prospect has both of those areas covered. He is currently ranked 59th by Central Scouting but that doesn’t mean he won’t move up the charts on draft day. For now, if this prospect gets drafted on Day Two he is totally prepared for that.

“I don’t know. I’m kind of expecting that more than anything,” he said.

This kid is steady as she goes and he couldn’t impress me more as a positive type of person and player. He was a teammate of Chet Pickard, the #2 ranked North American goaltending prospect. Both of them played for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL and even though their season didn’t end with a Memorial Cup berth, Mestery still managed to put a positive light on it.

“The season went really great. We went deep in the playoffs and could have gone even further except for a couple of mishaps in Game Seven. Overall it was a great season for us.”

Like most guys his age, he likes to play other sports

“Golfing. I’m not good but I’m not bad,” he said and then he talked about the frustrating part. “Losing balls.”

Why? Because he doesn’t like paying for them, but that will change when he gets signed. Until then, he has some ideas on what he will buy upon getting his first deal.

“Probably pay off my parents’ house and buy my dad a new car and buy my mom whatever she wants,” he said (maybe too soon!).

He started to play when he was three and yet, when asked when he realized he had a shot to be a drafted player, his answer was a bit of a shocker.

“I think just this year,” he said honestly.

He did play one other sport until hockey took over.

“I used to play volleyball just because of my height,” which made total sense. Then he added, “Oh yeah, it was competitive.”

So what will his workout regimen be this like this summer?

“Just working on getting heavier, stronger and faster. A lot of off-ice. I just go on the ice once every two weeks. I run here and do sprints outside. We just have this hill not too far from my house that we run to. It’s actually an old garbage dump.”

He said he wasn’t worried about running on a heap of trash, and he laughed a lot, showing me that he doesn’t take life too seriously -- but as you can read, he is serious about hockey.

No comments: