Brandon Gormley, D Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL)
Born:February 18, 1992 in Murray River, Prince Edward Island
Scouting report: Slick, mobile two-way defender who plays with a lot of confidence and poise is the best prospect to come out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this year.
Strengths: Superb, effortless skater who looks like he's gliding over air. Very good acceleration and recovery speed. Balanced and agile; adept at crossing over and keeping containment on speed to the outside; his footwork has improved since last year. Good hockey IQ; maintains gap control effectively and keeps the puck in front of him. Understands when to jump up into the play and when to stay home. Naturally sense the play's flow and goes to vulnerable areas of the ice on both offense and defense. Excellent on-ice vision and soft hands make him an accurate and effective passer. Keeps his head up and can spring the breakout with one good feed. Nice puckhandler who carries the biscuit with speed and confidence. Has a good point shot that is hard, low and finds its way through traffic. Also possesses an array of wrist and snap shots that he's not afraid to use, with a release that is tough for goaltenders to pick up. Productive from the blue line: 9 goals, 43 points in 58 games should substantially increase if he returns to junior next season. Has an almost zen-like calm and poise on the ice; doesn't often cough up the puck or succumb to forechecking pressure. Works hard and makes life easy on his coaches by responding to guidance and making adjustments to his game. Disciplined-- doesn't play selfishly and always puts his team first. Another mature, articulate, well-spoken prospect who carries himself well and not only plays like a top draft pick, but acts like one. Although Moncton had a disappointing 0-3 showing at the Memorial Cup in May, Gormley was the Wildcats' best player by a significant margin.
Weaknesses: Long, lean frame is going to require a lot of off-ice work to physically mature. Can play a physical game at times, but prefers to use his quick stick to break up plays rather than take the body-- a function perhaps of the lightness of his build. Several scouts have said that Gormley may be one of those 'tweener-type defenders at the NHL level: solid both on defense and offense, but not exceptional in either area-- more like a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.
Style compares to: Duncan Keith, Dan Hamhuis
Draft prediction: Fifth overall to the New York Islanders. When you have a chance to add a player of Gormley's caliber to an ever-growing prospect pool of impressive blue line talents like Calvin de Haan, Travis Hamonic, Mark Katic, Matt Donovan and Aaron Ness (just to name a few), you do it. Gormley would be the best player available and there is no need for GM Garth Snow and his staff to reach for another position of need, especially with a player in Gormley who is closer to Cam Fowler in terms of skill and upside than Eric Gudbranson is. The draft is about building assets and organizational strength, and Gormley coupled with de Haan gives the Isles one heck of a potential one-two punch as the foundation of a highly mobile, puck-moving pair down the road. Given the concerns about Rick DiPietro's health, perhaps Jack Campbell here would not be shocking surprise, but the Isles invested the first pick of the second round in Mikko Koskinen last year, and will likely invest some hopes that his hip problems are behind him and he's ready to move forward in the organization. Mikael Granlund is small, but he's the kind of playmaking wizard who could set up John Tavares all day long, and isn't a bad value at fifth as well. However, all things considered, if Gormley is on the board here, he makes the most sense. Also in the mix are the rumors that the Bruins have taken a particular shine to Gormley and are trying to figure out how to trade into the top-five from fifteen to get him. That's going to be very hard to do because a team closer to five isn't going to want to trade ten or more spots back without some serious pot-sweetening. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that Gormley is Boston's No. 1 defenseman on their draft list-- he seems to have all the qualities they look for, but whether they'd be willing to give up an awful lot to come away with not only Hall/Seguin, but Gormley as well remains to be seen and will be worth discussing right up to the big day.
Projection: Potential No. 1, solid No. 2/3 NHL defenseman and All-Star with 50-point upside. I know this sounds a lot like the Fowler and Gudbranson profiles, but Gormley is right there with them in terms of his potential. Even if he doesn't develop into a high-end point producer, Gormley will play in the NHL for a long time because of his mobility, hockey sense and grace under pressure. He's a solid middle-tier 'D' at worst, but will probably be a lot more than that because he has so many other intangibles working for him.
Background: 1st overall selection of the Moncton Wildcats in the 2008 QMJHL Midget Draft. Parents are Darren and Sharon Gormley. Left home at age 14 to play for the Notre Dame College Hounds (AAA) in Wilcox, Saskatchewan whose alumni inlcude Rod Brind A'mour,Curtis Joseph,Vincent Lecavalier and Boston prospect Jordan Caron. A member of Team Canada's gold medal squad at the 2009 Ivan Hlinka tournament in August. Won the 2009-10 Mike Bossy Trophy as the QMJHL's Top Pro Prospect. Hockey idols are Nicklas Lidstrom and Brad Richards (fellow Notre Dame alum and P.E. Islander)
"He has size (6-foot-2, 187 pounds), he skates very well, he’s smart and poised with the puck. He can feather some great passes on the tape through the middle to set up guys in the clear. He’s reliable in all areas, and has confidence.”- NHL Central Scouting Quebec scout Chris Bordeleau to NHL.com; February, 2010
"He's got a laid-back personality. He's got the maturity of a 30 year old. Take away hockey -- he's just a rock-solid young man.He was the first overall pick here and when he came in he was so quiet, so unassuming, so humble you couldn't tell if he was the first overall player and a player projected as a franchise player, or a free-agent walk-on who hitchhiked into camp."- Moncton head coach Danny Flynn to NHL.com; February, 2010
"He's been under the microscope for so long that he's really done a great job at learning how to control the things that you can control. His parents are tremendous hockey parents, they're real laid back, there's no expectations or pressures put on him at home. They've taken it all in stride and not get overwhelmed by it and I think there's been a carryover effect for him."- Moncton head coach Danny Flynn to Hockey's Future; May, 2010
"I think I made a pretty smooth entry. Like I said, it’s a really good league. I got a chance to play with Mark Barberio and he is one of the best defenseman in our league here now. Coming into the league at 16, not a lot of guys get to play with a guy at the caliber like that, so he made my transition easier. Last year, like I said, I was playing against older, bigger, stronger players and your size at 16 is not up to the par with 19/20 year olds so that was a challenge. "- Brandon Gormley to HockeyProspect.com; March, 2010
Gormley Coveted, But Not Likely For B's