There's a certain cachet and pressure that goes along with being the draft-eligible offspring of a former NHLer. The pressure only increases when that former NHLer is also a Hall of Fame defenseman who has won at nearly every level of hockey. Luckily, St. Louis born Ryan MacInnis, son of Inverness born Al MacInnis, looks to carve out his own niche as a centre.
Ryan MacInnis is a 6'4" 185-pound U.S. born centre coming off a promising rookie season for the lowly Kitchener Rangers - one of the OHL's lowest-scoring teams.
MacInnis started off slowly with the Rangers contributing four points in the team's first 12 games. MacInnis nearly doubled that clip with 30 points in his next 47 games. The push resulted in the draft discussion surrounding MacInnis moving from the second and third rounds to first-round rumblings.
Described as a two-way centre with hockey smarts and good positioning, MacInnis has likened his came to that of Anze Kopitar and Jamie Benn, while his Kitchener coach, Troy Smith, gives a possibly more down-to-earth comparison.
MacInnis certainly isn't at any of these levels yet, but he does have room to improve his game. His skating is considered decent by most, but lacks a burst of speed and fluidity. MacInnis also has room to grow physically - his height is an asset, but he's still relatively lanky and not a terribly physical player.
Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting: "He's a responsible two-way center with a very good hockey IQ; he sees the ice and anticipates very well to generate scoring chances. He's a good playmaker but just needs to work on his shot and shoot more often."
Dobber Sports: "Powerful centerman with strong puck possession skills. Has the chance to develop into a productive second line pivot or strong two-way third line player."
Brock Otten, OHLProspects.blogspot.ca: "I saw MacInnis play a handful of times this year. The majority of those times he wasn't much of a factor. But the other couple of times, he was the best player on the ice and that's what has scouts talking. The potential for him to develop into an elite player is legitimate. He has the entire toolbox."
Hockey Prospect: 37
McKeen's Hockey: 34
Craig Button: 37
Average Ranking: 34.
Ryan MacInnis comes from great bloodlines, doesn't wow, but does impress, and seems to demonstrate a fair amount of hustle, smarts, and size. All things I'd love to see in a Habs draft pick.
I've read MacInnis being compared to former Hab and Senator, Radek Bonk. I'm not sure how that grabs you, but it does temper expectations after the Kopitar/Benn comparison. But if the Habs used their first pick in this draft on a solid third liner who was defensively sound and occasionally showed a nose for the net, but probably wouldn't develop for about 3-4 years, how would you feel? Do you want to use a first rounder on what could ostensibly be Michael Bournival with size?
The Habs are thin organizationally on the wings and drafting a centre like MacInnis doesn't improve that. The luxury of picking so late in the draft is that there isn't always a consensus on who is the best player available, so it's a little easier to draft with organizational needs in mind and not get burned.
My fondness for Al MacInnis notwithstanding, I'd prefer the Hab pass on Ryan MacInnis. Everything about him screams "project". While I like the idea of the Habs being able to mold a young American with size and turn him into a legitimate NHLer in theory, I'd prefer they not use a first round pick to do it, like they did last year.