Here’s a look at a Junior B player turned OHLer, who skirted an opportunity to go to Yale University to pursue his hockey career in a different direction.
He was also one of the most offensively prolific defencemen in the CHL this season, and jumped up NHL Central Scouting’s prospect rankings by 78 spots from January to May.
His name is Cam Dineen, and yes, Kevin is his father (but not that Kevin).
Age on June 24: 18
Current Team: North Bay Battalion, OHL
Weight: 185 pounds
From: Toms River, N.J.
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North America): 39th
Jeff Marek’s Take: In today’s game, offence from the blue line is a must and that’s what Dineen gives you. His instincts are all about creating offence. He comes with risk in his own end, but creates more than he costs.
A thinking man…
Just how did a kid who was playing Junior B step into the OHL and torch it from the back end, finishing second among rookies behind guaranteed 2016 first-rounder Alex Nylander with 13 goals and 46 assists for 59 points in 68 games?
“[Dineen] is very cerebral, great mind for the game, knows his position very well,” Battalion assistant coach Ryan Oulahen told Sportsnet’s Neate Seager back in February.
“You don’t see him make very many mistakes,” he added.
Dineen’s game starts with his anticipation and vision, which translates into goal-scoring and playmaking.
Not only was he second among rookies in OHL scoring this season, he was second among all OHL defencemen—finishing just one point off 19-year-old Rasmus Andersson’s pace.
The Full Monte…
It’s one thing to think the game; it’s an entirely different thing to go out and execute it. If Dineen’s mental process enables him to excel, his refined skills push him over the top.
“The player that comes to mind when thinking of Cam Dineen is Duncan Keith (Chicago, 54th overall in 2002),” writes Eldon MacDonald of thehockeywriters.com.
“It is not so much that they have all the same characteristics as it is that they both have the same effect on a team – they run the offence. They both have excellent mobility, skating, passing, transition, vision, and creativity.”
That’s quite a comparison, but Dineen clearly has all the tools.
If there’s a reason Dineen’s not among the top-30 North American prospects rated by NHL Central Scouting, it’s likely to do with his size.
At 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, Dineen wouldn’t be confused for a bruising defenceman.
Regarding Dineen’s ranking by Central Scouting, no player jumped higher up the list than he did, going from 117th among North American prospects at mid-term to 39th on the final list.
And as MacDonald smartly pointed out in his scouting report, Anthony D’Angelo, Cody Ceci, Ryan Murphy, Ryan Ellis and John Carlson were all first-round NHL selections after finishing top two in scoring among OHL defencemen in their year of eligibility.
“I just don’t see, with the game, where it’s going, why you wouldn’t value a guy like Dineen a lot more,” said Battalion head coach Stan Butler.
All it takes is one NHL team to agree and make Dineen a first-round selection in Buffalo this June.