(Shawinigan) Samuel Girard landed midweek Buffalo head high. Normal, few eligible players to NHL draft can boast of having been as sparkling as her during the past year.
the most productive defender in the country, it is increasingly becoming only the second 17-year history of the QMJHL to be proclaimed defender’s premier circuit. In this picture of hunting, add presence felt against the Russians in the Super Series, a good output at Top Prospects Game, a leading role in the course of the Cataractes until grand final of the league, and conclusive physical tests at the Combine in the NHL.
“I’m happy with my year, I lying if I said the opposite. The only thing I miss is the President’s Cup. But the final was still achieved, “argues Tornado Roberval with a hint of pride in his voice.
That does not stop Girard to be tormented by a growing nervousness at the approach of the great day. He is the type to feed the great moments when he controls the action, but it becomes a lot more anxious in a figurative role. Draft pick in the QMJHL it two years ago, he had spent a night of hell before donning the jersey of the Cataractes. “I’ll try to control myself better this time,” he smiled. “Things went well last week but there it approach and nervousness boarded. I’ll live with until I hear my name at the microphone. ”
He dreams that obviously the issue is resolved on Friday evening, which would allow him to parade on stage in the first round, but he prepares to wait until Saturday morning. It was listed 38th by NHL Central on the final ballot, 45th on the list of renowned journalist Bob McKenzie. But beware, Craig Button, another journalist plugged, Girard identifies as the 18th best hope of auction. Button, incidentally, was one of the few to predict a selection in the first round to Anthony Beauvillier a year ago … “Of course I’m looking forward to know where I’m going. I know I can go out late in the first round but I will not be disappointed, so in my head, it will happen in the second round. ”
If Girard will have to wait longer than other gifted of his kind, is due to its size. Stretching out full length, it affects only 5 ft 10 in. Under six feet, there are some young defenders like Torey Krug, Sami Vatanen, Ryan Ellis and Jared Spurgeon who currently derive business well in the NHL, but the most conservative teams will prefer to bet on a horse more physically imposing in first round.
“Of the 25 teams that I met, 23 told me about my size. My answer is always the same, I’m smart enough to adapt when I face the sturdiest players. I did it at all levels. I will also do it in the NHL. I’m able to play against anyone, “he insists. “My waist is not bad the only thing I can not control. But it never prevented me to make my way … ”
Girard is accompanied by a big delegation in Buffalo members of his family, some friends, family pension in which he resides. He wanted to live with them this special moment.
“If I went here is because of teamwork. All these people help me a lot and I never miss an opportunity to say thank you. ”
The weekend will be even more special for her brother Jeremy, who put an end to career to allow his younger pursue his. The Girard family of modest financial means, it was impossible for the clan to pay off a bill in excess of $ 20,000 annually to offer their son a locker with two Elites in Jonquière Midget AAA. Jeremy has settled without anyone’s request, a decision he would resume tomorrow morning.
“I have never regretted my action, on the contrary. My little brother is my idol! It was a family choice and we will all live together in this weekend. ”
Jeremy was the first to believe that Samuel belonged to the cream of the crop. André Ruel and Pat Brisson followed suit, the Cataractes have followed … and they welcome every day since. Jeremy believes that the scout who will sell his brother to his bosses will also pass for a genius in a few years. “Samuel has won everywhere he went! He has a heart as big as the arena and nobody has as much desire for him to succeed. When you add to that the talent which animates those who know him know that he will not miss his shot. Those who will be fooled by its size will regret … ”
“It is special”
André Ruel fell in love with Samuel Girard during Quebec Games. He played bantam at the time, and he already filled the Sports Palace in Jonquière! Renowned hockey man said he had never been afraid of its small size and he had no trouble selling it to his boss Pat Brisson, the agent most influence the hockey world.
“I’ve known Pat for so long, he trusts me. Of course, the first time he saw him in person, he had a little shock! The shock is passed quickly however when he then jumped on the ice in front of him at our camp in Los Angeles. He was so good it brought Scott Niedermayer at the arena so he could see the play! Pat immediately saw the similarities with Niedermayer, “says Ruel. “Daniel Briere was there, he was also impressed by Samuel. He saw himself a little, he took the time to give him some advice. It was a special guy in his hands, the kind of guy that comes out of 1,000 players. It will succeed. ”
Brisson agrees. The famous agent does not also fall down from her chair so her foal takes the stage on Friday. “It could happen, it is so dominant. But it would be a mistake to just focus on his rank selection: I tell all my players, the draft is only a step, the most important is to see where you will be in two or three years. ”
The agent of Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews believes Girard knocked on the door of the NHL at the right time. “When there were more hooking, it was more difficult for small players. Now the game is focused on speed and performance. Sure it’s advantage. He will play in the NHL. ”
Bring on the pressure!
Six clubs would be particularly interested in Samuel Girard services or the New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.
The group, the Avalanche have requested several meetings with the young man. The Maple Leafs have in turn led Girard in Toronto after the Combine NHL. Still, the most persistent rumor is that it was the Canadian who sees the most Girard in his soup.
The young man said not too concerned with the discussions behind the scenes and it promises to be smiling no matter what team will build on it.
By cons, it provides have no problems to land in Montreal if the Canadiens gets his rights.
“For sure there is more pressure for francophones in Montreal but I like it, the pressure. I’ve always been a guy who stood out in key situations. Remember, the last game of the season, I accused a delay of four points on the best defender in the country and I managed to overtake. The more pressure, the more I am able to raise my game to another level, “warns Girard.
Unless a transaction, the Canadian has the 9th, 39th and 45th selections this weekend in the first two rounds.