2011 NHL Draft Prospects: No. 26 Shane Prince

One player that has flown under the radar en route to the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is Ottawa 67’s forward Shane Prince. At 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, Prince is undersized, to say the least. But with a breakout season in 2010-11, posting 25 goals and 88 points in 59 games, scouts have begun to notice the progression of his game.

“I think he’s utilizing his speed, he’s passing the puck,” said Ottawa GM Brian Kilrea in an NHL.com interview, “But he’s also more confident. That started at camp when he realized he was as good as anybody on the team. He had the chance to prove it, got to the No. 1 line. In junior hockey you’re on one line one day and another line the next, but he’s stayed there and he’s made the difference. With his speed, he was carrying the puck in a lot and making the plays to [linemates] Martindale and Toffoli and that’s why they appreciate him so much.”

When asked who one of the biggest influences in his hockey career was, Prince doesn’t miss a beat, as the hockey industry found out in his interview with Yahoo! Sports.

“Scott Montagna, who was my travel team coach for five years growing up in Syracuse [with the Syracuse Stars program],” said Prince. “He was really huge on getting you to play both ends of the rink. If you were a scorer, you had to play well in the defensive zone, if you were a defensive forward you were expected to play offensively. He gave me a lot of discipline.

“I was a bit of a late bloomer just hitting 5-foot-11 at the start of the season so for me I’m feeling pretty good right now,” Prince continued. “I’ve always felt that size was over rated anyway and strength, speed, skill and compete level are really what’s important in hockey. I think every NHL team has some key players at or under 5-foot-11 these days including great players like Sidney Crosby, Mike Richards and Mark Recchi. I have had my game compared with Kane, Zach Parise, Daniel Briere, Claude Giroux and even Kris Draper. Whether it’s putting up points or blocking a shot I just try to compete hard all over the ice and play the complete game.”

The best part of Prince’s game is his skating. He has flashy speed and great hockey sense, which makes up for his lack of abilities on other aspects of the game. His size is his biggest disadvantage, but his two-way play is not far behind. Scouts are worried about his ability to develop properly in an NHL atmosphere, but Prince likes his chances.

“I like to use a mix of skating ability from speed in the neutral zone to an elusiveness when I’m down low in the offensive zone maintaining puck possession,” said Prince in an interview with The Examiner. “The longer we can control the puck the better the odds are that we’re going to put it in the net. I don’t think my game has changed much at all from the way I learned to play growing up with my AAA team the Syracuse Stars. We had a great team that incorporated all of the above. We played a real team game by luring in the opposition and moving the puck, cycling, using the open ice, and understanding time and space much like a soccer team. I learned when to use my speed and when to slow the game down to make a play, when to head man the puck and when to hit the trailer. Playing in that system was not only a lot of fun but it allowed me to develop all the skills involved with time and space, skating, passing, and especially vision because there was always someone open if you had your head up. So I never really look at myself as any particular type of player other than I create offense and the situation will dictate whether I am the setup guy or the finisher.”

Alan Bass, a writer for The Hockey News and THN.com, is the author of The Great Expansion: The Ultimate Risk That Changed The NHL Forever. He has worked for the Philadelphia Flyers’ Fan Development department, going to schools throughout the tri-state area to teach about fitness and the importance of teamwork. He is the General Manager of the Muhlenberg College Division II hockey team as well. You can contact him at Alanbasswriting@aol.com.

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