Oilers #15 Prospect December 2007: Colin McDonald

Current Rank: 15

Summer 2007: Not Ranked

When it comes to the career of Colin McDonald, I’ve been up and down like a toilet seat. I was bullish on the 2003 draft in the summer of that year, putting McDonald 13th (Pouliot was 3rd, Jacques 17th). By November of 2004 I was convinced he was a PF prospect and had him 6th in the system (Pouliot remained 3rd, Jacques had climbed to 7th).

By May 2005, he’d fallen to 14th and I’d nicked him quite a bit because of injury (it’s a huge warning bell, it really is). In December 2006 he was 24th and he missed the summer 2007 list completely.

Reading the sentences above, I’m reminded of Larry Miller’s “Five Stages of Drinking.” I’m on level 4 with McDonald (“This time on your way to the bathroom, you punch the stranger at the end of the bar. Just because you don’t like his face! And now you’re thinking, “Our busboy is the best looking man I’ve ever seen!”) and seriously thought of not ranking him just to avoid the issue completely.

However, it’s been a good year for the Colin McDonald fanclub. He had a good training camp and is getting some nice reviews for his play with the AHL Springfield Falcons. Kelly Buchberger: “He’s a good skater who reads plays well, has a good shot and a quick release. And how he has progressed is directly the result of hard work.”

His performances by month in the AHL look like this:

  • October 8gp, 1-5-6, E
  • November 13gp, 3-3-6, minus5
  • December 6gp, 2-0-2, +2

His totals for the season are 27gp, 6-8-14, minus 3. He had a season high 7 shots last night and reading some of Bryan’s work at HF he seems to be coming along pretty well (the Springfield thread at HF is starting to attract some Falcons fans who have seen games, that might lead to some good insight although it’s impossible to judge the quality of posters at this early stage).

Fernando Pisani’s first AHL season featured a .481ppg average which is “in the range” for McDonald’s season (.519). There’s a whole lot of evidence that Pisani impacts the game on levels we cannot possibly hope for another role player this generation (have you SEEN how much better Fernie’s kids are playing now that he’s on their line? Credit to Dennis for “Fernie’s kids”) because no one is that lucky.

McDonald’s draft day bio said “Owns projectable size and a nice touch around the net. Needs to prove he can put up numbers against stiffer competitive (he was playing in the NEJHL and on the way to NCAA). He has an interesting offensive upside, but will need time to develop.”

I think we can safely assume Colin McDonald is unlikely to be a scorer of note at the NHL level, and he seems to be an average AHL player at age 23. In his favor, he’s got size and some other things that make him an interesting prospect and despite being 8 months older than Marc Pouliot and JF Jacques he doesn’t seem to be that far behind them as a player.

All three of those 2003 draft picks appear to be “possible” options as role players in the NHL down the line. As to which one (if any) will make it, I’d say it’s a “pick ‘em” at this point in time.

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