NHL 2010 Top Draft Prospects: Brandon Gormley

Ever since Sidney Crosby was picked first overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the QMJHL has struggled to deliver top-notch talent to the NHL on a regular basis. That trend will not end this year, but that doesn’t mean that there are not great prospects coming out of Eastern Canada.

Brandon Gormley, the 6-foot-2, 187-pound defenseman from the Moncton Wildcats is the top-rated Quebec League player for the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. The Murray River, PEI native is an incredible skater and has great hockey sense. Scouts have raved over his passing ability and his smarts on the ice.

“He can feather some great passes on the tape through the middle to set up guys in the clear,” a Central Scouting scout said. “He’s reliable in all areas, and has confidence.”

In his rookie season, Gormley put up seven goals and 20 assists in 62 games, and increased that total to 43 in 58 games this season. His confidence has really increased in the past year and it shows in his play.

Though ranked sixth by NHL Central Scouting, the International Scouting Service ranked Gormley at third, behind Taylor Hall and Cam Fowler, before the season started. He was the first overall pick in the QMJHL draft a couple summers ago and is a two-way defenseman who can succeed on both ends of the ice. Many scouts have compared him to Sheldon Souray, yet without the booming slapshot. He can both quarterback a power play and anchor the penalty kill.

Knowing his hockey skill could some day take him to the best league in the world, Gormley left home at age 14 to play at the College of Notre Dame in Saskatchewan. “It was definitely a tough decision when you’re going to leave home at 14,” Gormley said. “It was a great decision for me looking back. It was tough for my family and me but the hockey was great there, the schooling was great there. I met an unbelievable amount of people there that were great to me. And I still keep in touch with them now.”

However, this act of leaving home to play hockey helped him mature much faster than his counterparts, also vying for high draft spots.

“It was a great experience, just growing up,” he continued. “It’s an important time in your life. Being on your own, it does make you grow up quick. You have responsibilities that you wouldn’t have at home with your parents.”
His coach, Danny Flynn, also realizes that he has been privileged to coach special talent in Gormley.

“He’s got a number of great qualities,” said Flynn. “He’s got really good size, he’s 6-2, headed to 6-3, and starting to fill out. He’s got outstanding hockey sense. He’s got that poise, that innate ability to recognize when he has time and when he doesn’t have time. For a tall, somewhat-gangly 17-year-old, he’s got very good feet, very good mobility. He’s not going to wow you, pull you out of your seat by going coast to coast. But as you watch him, you see how efficient he is and you grow to like his game.”

Surely, whichever NHL team selects Gormley will grow to like his game as well.

Alan Bass is a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com. In addition to writing for Inside Hockey and Pro Hockey News, he has also worked for the Philadelphia FlyersHe is the general manager of the Muhlenberg College hockey team as well. You can contact him at BergHockey24@gmail.com.

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