When a player misses a huge portion of the season because of injuries it gives scouts less time to evaluate them and might even give them the label of being injury prone.
One member of the 2013 NHL Draft class is hoping to avoid just that. Cape Breton Screaming Eagles forward William Carrier – on the shelf since mid-December with a high ankle sprain – missed the second-half of his draft eligible season.
The Montreal, QC product started skating again in early March but didn’t see any game action before Cape Breton finished up the year. If they had of been in the playoff hunt, Carrier would have played but neither he nor the coaching staff felt it was worth the risk of re-aggravating the injury.
The situation hasn’t discouraged Carrier, though.
“I’ve talked to a lot of scouts and they said I’ve been in the league three years already so they’ve had a chance to see me last year and the year before, even at the start of the season and I had a good start so it’s not really that bad,” Carrier said.
There are recent examples of teams picking players high despite having suffered season ending injuries leading up the draft. In 2009, the Ottawa Senators took Jared Cowen. The Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t been shy to do so either, taking Brett Connolly in 2010 and Slater Koekkoek last year despite both missing significant chunks of their draft season.
In other words, if a team likes a player enough they’ll take them.
It’s not as if Carrier’s season is entirely done, either. His next chance to get back in front of those that will be evaluating him will be at the 2013 NHL Scouting Combine.
And Carrier carries an impressive resume to the event. He still led Cape Breton in many offensive categories despite only playing in just 34 games. He finished the year at the top in points (42) and assists (26) and was second in goals (16) on the last-place Screaming Eagles.
Those numbers are due in large part to the blazing hot start. Carrier had 15 goals and 40 points in 24 games, being held pointless in just two games before eventually ending his season with just two in his last 10 games.
All that came on the heels of a 27-goal, 70-point sophomore season.
“I lost some weight this summer,” Carrier said. “It got me feet going, gave me quicker feet. That is probably why I had a quick start to the season. I wanted to have 100 points. I was going for it but injuries happen.”
Carrier turned to power skating coach Julie Robitaille for six weeks in Trois Rivieres to make those feet faster. Robitaille is the same coach that NHLers Marc-Andre Bergeron, Mike Ribeiro, Guillaume Latendresse and others work with.
“You always want to look at them. They are all professionals,” Carrier said. “You really see the difference from Major Junior with those guys just from the way they work. You just want to take their attitude of giving 100% in the gym. Just see the way they train.”
Carrier is going to have to train hard again this summer to bounce back to the form that created the draft buzz around him but this time he’ll be trying to show the NHL team that takes him why he was worth the gamble.