The 2014 BMO Top Prospects Game was a home-coming of sorts for Ryan MacInnis. The lanky, 17-year-old product of the Kitchener Rangers grew up in St. Louis during his father’s tenure with the Blues, but his roots reach back to Calgary, where his father, Al MacInnis, played for over a decade and won a Conn Smythe Trophy in 1989 with the Flames.
We had the chance to catch up with MacInnis, the 33rd-ranked North American skater by NHL’s Central Scouting, prior to the Top Prospects Game at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
Do you look at the draft rankings at all? How do you deal with the pressure of the draft year, especially compared to how you were able to just play in previous years?
You try to not worry about it too much, just try to play the game as best as you can. You usually just try to get away from it, but sometimes you just can’t. Obviously we’ve seen them all. Just try to avoid it.
What’s the atmosphere like in the locker room? You’re playing on teams and you want to win, but you’re also competing with these same guys for potential NHL jobs.
I mean, some kids speak different languages. We got two Russians, we’ve got some french kids… We’ve been communicating well. There’s good chemistry in the locker room. Kids like each other and we hang out after practice and stuff, so it’s good.
Is there extra pressure for you playing this game in Calgary? Your father won a Stanley Cup with this team and his number’s in the rafters, so do you feel there are shoes to fill here?
I try to avoid that as best as possible. I just do my best and see how it goes.
Your dad was a Hall of Fame defenseman, but you play forward. Does that make it a bit easier to forge your own path and avoid a lot of the direct comparisons?
Yeah, for sure. Also, centermen have to play in their defensive zone too, so he usually helps me out with that and helps me out big-time. He’s been with the game for a long time and he knows the offensive game, too, so he helps me with everything.
Do you look at the NHL standings at all and compare them with the draft rankings to figure out where you might go? Or are you rooting for anybody to do especially well or badly?
[Chuckles] No, I probably won’t worry about that, actually. I hope the Blues win the Cup this year. I’m a Blues fan, so that’s about it.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.