By Eldon MacDonald (edited by Chris Ralph)
2015-16 Team: #4, North Bay Battalion
Date of birth: 19-Jun-1998
Place of birth: Toms River, NJ
Ht: 5’11” Wt: 183 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 1st year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking (Midterm): 49
- Consensus: 37
- Craig Button (TSN): 30
- THW War Room Rankings: 33
Cam Dineen, Mr. HSMP (High Speed Mental Processor)
Mr. HSMP: I call Cam Dineen Mr. HSMP because he mentally processes and executes the game so fast and efficiently. The reason Rasmus Andersson (Calgary’s 2015 53rd overall selection) and Dineen were one and two in OHL defenseman scoring is not because they had the best physical skills. Rather, these two are able to read the defensive formation, to formulate a plan to beat it, and to execute that plan in the quickest and most efficient manner. In short, they have the best mental game. Are they part of a new wave of defensemen? I suspect they are. The game has changed to where it has become almost impossible to score. Success will depend as much on outwitting your opponent as beating them physically.
Five Reasons Why Cam Dineen Could Be Selected in the First Round of the 2016 NHL Draft
- Mental processing of the game: Simply put, his mind works faster than just about anybody else on the ice so he can play the game at a higher tempo and create plays so quickly that the opposition has a hard time to react and defend against them.
- Difference-maker: He is the driving force behind the Battalion offense. He and Mike Amadio (Los Angeles 2014 90th pick) are the ones who make things happen for North Bay.
- Vision: He has the foresight and vision to see what plays are possible to achieve successfully.
- Creativity: He has the ability to do creative things on offense resulting from his vision and high-end mental processing of the game.
- Work ethic: He has the high-end drive and work ethic that you see in those who are successful in the NHL.
- Quarterback: Runs the power play like a quarterback. Plays mainly as the set-up man, like Andrei Markov.
- Rush: Likes to push the offense by moving the puck up the ice quickly, whether it be on his stick or with a quick pass.
- Pass: Quick, crisp, seeing eye – passes serve a purpose.
- Transition: Immediate turnaround to offense with a quick pass or burst of speed, a major asset.
- Lanes: Adept at finding the shooting lanes; has more goals (13) in the OHL than likely first round defenders Jakob Chychrun (11) or Olli Juolevi (9) without the big shot. He is also not far off the other OHL defender destined to be selected in the first round, Mikhail Sergachev (17).
- All terrain: Plays in all situations – top pairing in 5 on 5, top power play unit, top penalty kill unit.
- Active stick: Makes up for his lack of physicality by employing an active stick.
- Calmness: Plays the back end in a Don’t Worry Be Happy mode – not in a nonchalant way but in a just doing-my-job in a quiet and efficient way.
- Consistency: Rarely makes mistakes and shows up in all games.
- Wow: Putting up almost a point a game for team where defense always comes first. Battalion head coach Stan Butler: “Wow!”
NHL Draft Projection
Cam Dineen is solidly in that group of prospects that each year inherit the 23-25 to 45-50 slots and whose ranking can appear to be interchangeable depending on how you look at them. I have him ranked 33rd overall currently but after the season he had, no one should be surprised if he sneaks into the latter part of the first round. It’s not all about the stats, but the last five OHL blueliners who finished in the top two in defensemen scoring in their first year of NHL draft eligibility, as Cam Dineen did, were selected in the first round. They were:
- Anthony DeAngelo: Tampa Bay – 2014 -19th
- Cody Ceci: Ottawa – 2012 – 15th
- Ryan Murphy: Carolina – 2011 12th
- Ryan Ellis: Nashville – 2009 – 11th
- John Carlson : Washington – 2008 – 27th
ICYMI, Why Cam Dineen deserves consideration for the first round. My feature and Q & A with him. https://t.co/iokevNvWFo
— OHL Prospects (@BrockOtten) March 17, 2016
“He’s been huge for us. We’ve tried to adapt to the game as much as anyone else. The game now is about puck moving defencemen and skill. And that’s what Cameron [Dineen] is. I mean he’s second in defenseman scoring behind a 19 year old [Rasmus Andersson], as a first year player in the league, on a team that’s not the most offensively gifted.” – Stan Butler, North Bay Battalion Head Coach at OHLProspects.Blogspot.ca
“I think he is pretty underrated. He is very cerebral, great mind for the game, knows his position very well. You don’t see him make very many mistakes.” – Ryan Oulahen, North Bay Battalion Assistant Coach, at Sportsnet.ca
“What I’ve noticed most is his great ability to find the open shooting lanes and also the way he can find the open pockets to create scoring opportunities. He’s very composed, with a self-assured manner that allows him to be ready and prepared to do something every shift. His play recognition, his radar, his ability to see things developing is exceptional at that age.” – Greg Theberge, the hockey analyst for The OHL Tonight on CogecoTV, at BayToday.ca
“His game has taken off and he’s rapidly becoming one of the best offensive defensemen in the OHL. Great vision and imagination in his passing.” – Kyle Woodlief of Redline Report at USAToday.com
- High speed mental processing and execution of game
- Willingness and ability to run the team’s offense
- Transition game and puck moving
- Hockey IQ
- Vision and creativity
- Work ethic
- Active stick on defense
- Ability to quarterback a powerplay
— Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) February 12, 2016
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to develop an edge to his game, a dose of hard-nosed chippiness
- Weight and strength
- Continued improvements to his defensive side of the game
The player than comes to mind when thinking of Cam Dineen is Duncan Keith (Chicago, 2002 54th overall). 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 offense. They both have excellent mobility, skating, passing, transition, vision, and creativity. Dineen still needs to develop an edge to his game if he wants to achieve anywhere near the high-end success that Keith has achieved. He also doesn’t have the big shot that Keith has so he will have to be more of a set-up man than a shooter like Markov in Montreal.
There is a fairly big gap between the low and the high of Dineen’s NHL potential. He will be an NHLer, I am confident of that. However, if he doesn’t develop an edge to his game, he will likely struggle to be a top defender but if he does, “wow” is the limit. Just remember, Keith had two years in the AHL before making it and you could say that he played the best of his career in last year’s playoffs, thirteen years after his draft year. So the road ahead is still a long one for Cam Dineen. He has the potential to make it a long, successful one.
Risk = 3/5 Reward = 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offensive = 8.5/10 Defensive = 5/10
- OHL Coaches Poll – Best Offensive Defenseman -3rd in 2015-16
- OHL Defenseman of the Month – Dec-2015
- OHL Rookie of the Month – Dec-2015 and Jan-2016
- OHL Second Highest Scorer Among Blueliners – 2015-16
- EHL Rookie of the Year – 2014-15
- EHL Most Points by a Defenseman – 2014-15
- EHL First Team All-Star – 2014-15
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) February 3, 2016
Sportsnet.ca – Neate Sager
OHLProspects.Blogspot.ca – Brock Otten
- ISO Video (HockeyProspect.c0m)
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com