Brock Otten on Bryan Cameron

Kent Wilson
May 02 2010 10:04AM

 

I referenced Brock of OHL Prospects in my first post on the Cameron signing. I decided to contact Otten recently for a more in depth perspective on the newest Calgary Flame. Brock was kind enough to oblige.

1.) You have written favorably about Cameron on OHL Prospects. How often have you seen him play the last few years?

I'm pretty familiar with Cameron. Over the past three years, I'd harbour to say I've seen him live at least a dozen times, and televised numerous more.

2.) The Kings originally drafted Cameron in the third round in 2007, but failed to sign him. He also was also passed over when he re-entered the draft. Besides his size, are there any other obvious deficiencies to his game?

 

It's not just his size. 5'10 isn't really THAT undersized any more. There are numerous players finding success in the NHL at 5'10 and 5'11. It's the type of game he excels at combined with his size. You don't see too many 5'10 goal scoring forwards in the NHL who score most of their goals right around the crease area. Generally the job of crease crasher is reserved for those 6'3, 200lbs forwards. As Pierre McGuire would put it, "big body presence." Cameron isn't an elite puck handler and while he's a hard worker, he's not necessarily the type of player who's going to go out there and create his own offensive opportunities. He's an opportunist...and a good one at that. But at 5'10, are the opportunities harder to come by?

On top of that, I think there were also a lot of concerns over his play in previous OHL playoffs. He's always been a tremendous goal scorer but in previous years he was often invisible in the playoffs for Belleville. Obviously you can make the parallels about open space around the net becoming harder to come by in the playoffs and Cameron's size. But he's been very good for Barrie in this year's playoffs and in a way has silenced some critics.

3.) For some players, a lack of size is a real disadvantage when trying to break into the professional ranks, but not so much for others. Is Cameron more the former or the latter in your opinion?

 

The former. Otherwise he would have been picked up last year and not this year. He's got his work cut out for him. Like I said, it's tough for players under six feet to play the role he does at the professional level. He's going to need to get stronger and more agile to help him survive. Adding more sandpaper to his game would really help too. He's a bit of an agitator and he's not afraid to get his nose dirty, but adding a more physical element to his game could really help him find his niche.

4.) An NHL comparable that springs to mind is the Flames own Nigel Dawes, who was also a relatively diminutive goal scorer in the WHL back in the day. Is the comparison accurate you think?

 

I remember Dawes from his time with the Canadian World Junior team and I personally don't see the comparison, outside of the two being undersized goal scorers who aren't afraid to hang out near the crease. But Cameron is a pretty complete player. He's excellent along the boards and on the forecheck. He may not be tall, but he has excellent lower body strength which allows him to cycle the effectively. He's also already a committed defensive player, although I wouldn't call him elite in the area. I also remember Dawes having more skill with the puck than Cameron, and being more creative.

But then again, I'm not really a huge fan of comparisons in most cases. In some ways, I think the lack of comparison for a guy like Cameron speaks volumes as to the difficulty those who play his style, at his size, have at the NHL level. If I'm reaching, I would say a guy like Mark Parrish (at least offensively) in his NHL prime. Not the biggest, but a quality NHL shot, a more straight up and down player. But Parrish was also a very one dimensional player so in a lot of ways, that comparison falls short too.

5.) You wrote that Cameron was the best overage prospect available in the OHL this year, so let's get right down to it...Do you think he has NHL upside?

 

Absolutely. I think he has NHL downside too...if that makes sense. What I mean is that if Cameron can get strong enough to win battles down low, he has the skill and intelligence to score goals in the NHL. He could easily develop into a top six NHL winger, a complimentary scorer on a line where he's expected to do the dirty work. But he could also develop down a different path. He's got good speed and he's a solid all around player. There's the chance that if his goal scoring ability doesn't translate, he could still be a valuable depth player/energy guy who can chip in offensively.

It was definitely a good signing by Calgary. I know he generated interest last offseason and was at the Phoenix Coyotes training camp, but wasn't offered a contract. Obviously there were other teams looking at him. My guess is that in their viewings of T.J. Brodie, the Flames scouting staff saw enough potential in Cameron to give him that contract, or knew that if they had waited until giving him a tryout in September, that he'd already be snatched up by another club.

However, don't expect this signing to pay off immediately. I could see him having trouble to start and he may even need some time at the ECHL level as he adjusts to the speed and strength of the professional game. Three years from now, when that contract runs out, things could definitely look better.

Thanks again go to Brock for providing such great answers.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current Fn contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Wittmeier
May 02 2010, 11:54AM
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Interesting. Sounds like a smart signing to make up for a bare cupboard on draft day: low-risk, reasonable upside.

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#2 Jean Lefebvre
May 02 2010, 06:39PM
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Interesting stuff.

Hockey fans of a certain age will remember that being a junior overage player was a death sentence as far as NHL aspirations were concerned, especially if you weren't a goalie. That has absolutely changed in recent years.

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#4 Sukh
May 04 2010, 12:32PM
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@Kent Wilson

A good shot with a nose for the net? If the stars are aligned this guy could turn out to be the next Mike Camialleri. If not, Cameron sounds like another Kris Chucko or even Dustin Boyd.

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#6 SmellOfVictory
May 04 2010, 06:42PM
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Cammy isn't primarily a garbage goal scorer, though. He does a lot of sniping.

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#7 Sean Elekes
May 05 2010, 05:10AM
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Brothers, It doesn't sound very promising. Kent, I would like to know what players your source has watched in the past and personally likes as his favourites? Trying to gage this kid from a Flames stand point and I can’t see what the value of this kid would be except scoring. A defence liability doesn’t fit with Sutters. Could they have finally realized you can’t teach scoring? Also, I wonder if this kid comes from a rich family (i.e. Paul and Mike Comire)?

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