McCammond - A Diamond in the Rough
posted Aug 19, 2006 at 03:03PM
In preparation for the upcoming season I have been spending some spare time doodling with potential line combinations. At this stage of course there are all kinds of options and possibilities. Keeping the Big Line together gives one main branch of possibilities. Breaking them up gives another basket of possibilities. The other big unknown will be the recent acquisition of Dean McCammond, signed to a one year deal at .725 million dollars.
I have never seen him play but what I have read gives me hope that this signing may be the sleeper move of the off-season. McCammond had an excellent junior career capped by being the top playoff scorer in a WHL championship run as well as being a member of the junior world championship team. He was selected 22nd overall in the 91 NHL entry draft.
All that says is that at some point he displayed sufficient talent to make people think he could be a star in the NHL.
In my readings two things become clear. One Vermette is going to have a new challenger for the title of Senator's faster skater. "World class speed", "one of the fastest skaters in the league"," one of the leagues best skaters" are the words used to describe him.
So the man has some wheels and as regular readers know, I put a high premium on speed, especially in playoff hockey.
On top of that McCammond has a real physical edge to his play. He likes to take the body and averages over 1.5 hits per game. By all accounts he has decent puck handling abilities.
So we have a guy who is really fast and can play with physicality, and is not a complete klutz with a puck on his stick - all just what the doctor ordered in terms of positive attributes for playoff hockey. His winning of the "unsung hero award" while on the Oilers smacks of a guy who has character.
Now we are not paying him under a million for nothing. His point production statistics are not that impressive. In thirteen seasons he has only reached the 20 goal plateau once. Despite thirteen seasons he has very little playoff experience. My thought is those two statistics are linked.
If last season showed anything it is that you could take all but most the most exceptional players, and if you stick them with incompetent or incompatible line mates, then that player, is not going to put a lot of points up on the board. If you remember last season I did this hypothetical exercise that showed if you gave Heatley the same quality of ice as Vermette, he wouldn't have even scored 20 goals.
Anyways back to McCammond - the fact that he hasn't had a lot of playoff experience is due to the unfortunate fact that he has played on a lot of horrible teams, and most likely with horrible line mates.
As well statistics can be illusory. Perhaps the best example of that is Fisher. If you just looked at his career stats, then one would not think that much of him. But anyone who has actually seen him play understands what kind of presence he has while on the ice and the value he brings to the team.
I suggest that at this point of his career, McCammond will see this as an opportunity sent from heaven. His "motivation gauge" should be well into the red. With the Senators he will have a chance to finally show what he can do at this level if placed in the right circumstances.
Now he may prove to be what his statistics show, just another unremarkable journeyman player, but everything I have read between the lines, lets me hope that we have found a real diamond the rough.