The prospect profiles for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft continues on at In Lou We Trust. We hope to provide a new one every day from here on out. We'll hit the big names for that fourth overall selection, but we'll also try to get as much information as we can about those who could be obtained in the lower rounds. It's admittedly tricky to do and we understand you may not be as interested in a long shot candidate that may not even be drafted on June 25 as you would for a first round pick. We do this so that in the case someone does obtain them, there is information readily available.
Today, we go back to New Jersey. He played quite a lot of hockey with Matt Killian in Delbarton, and has a connection to the New Jersey Devils by way of being John McMullen's grandson. I am talking about Peter McMullen, the focus for this prospect profile.
Who is Peter McMullen?
If you've seen Matt Killian at Delbarton, then you've seen Peter McMullen. He stands officially at 6'2", 200 lbs. and he was a standout forward for the Green Wave en route to their fourth state non-public championship. If only because he scored two of Delbarton's three goals in the championship game against St. Augustine - including the game winner in overtime. Like Killian, McMullen's strong senior season earned him a spot on the Star Ledger's all state non-public first team:
Peter McMullen, Delbarton, 6-2, 200, Senior
Dominant forechecker was excellent on penalty kill. Sturdy physical presence scored winning goal in overtime in 3-2 victory over St. Augustine in the Non-Public final. The Boston College-bound forward led Delbarton in scoring with 46 points on 25 goals and 21 assists.
He wasn't completely off the radar for scouts; possibly because they were checking out Killian. According to CSS, he was ranked 144 at midterm but has fallen 54 spots to 200th among North American skaters in their final rankings. Being ranked 144th isn't all that great, so falling further from there isn't exactly confidence-inducing that he'll be drafted. But that's their rankings, teams have their own, so I wouldn't get too hung up about the specific ranking.
One point in McMullen's favor is that he'll be going to Boston College next season, a traditionally excellent hockey program. Plus, per this Morreale article at NHL.com, he was recently drafted by Omaha in the USHL Draft in the 19th round; which I don't understand given his BC committment begins in the fall. What I do understand from Morreale's article is that he's recently put his full focus into hockey based on his coach's quote:
"He's definitely what I consider a late bloomer," Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel told NHL.com. "After playing three years on the wing, we had a void in the middle this year and he filled that role nicely. When he drives the net he's a force. He can really shoot the puck and he'll only get better with time. He's a kid who never specialized -- he kind of put lacrosse first. But now that hockey is on his horizon, he's going to really develop over the next two years into a fine college hockey player."
The article also notes how McMullen had to transition to center in this season after three seasons at left wing. Basically, he had a lot of work to do in addition to making a clear choice about his focus in 2010-11.
A Little Video Deja Vu
Did you read the Matt Killian prospect profile? If so, then you've seen this video. I'm putting it in again so you can see both goals by McMullen in Delbarton's championship game against St. Augustine.
A Little More Video
Yes, another Peter McMullen video! These are the highlights of a road game by Delbarton against Don Bosco Prep on December 12, 2010. Delbarton won 5-0 on the strength of a McMullen hat trick. You can't miss him, he's the big guy wearing #17 scoring three goals.
Props to the guy putting up the video for showing the goals in slow motion too. It was a nice touch.
What Experts Have Said About Peter McMullen
If it feels like you've seen some of these posts before, then it's probably because you have. Since McMullen and Killian played on the same team, opinions on each can come from the same time. Kirk Luedeke of Bruins 2011 Draft Watch caught a Delbarton blowout back in February, but didn't come away with a poor opinion of McMullen.
Peter McMullen was OK-- he might get a look in the late rounds of the draft, and he recently committed to Boston College. He's got size and protects the puck well. As a standout lacrosse player, he's got quick hands and stick, but he's only an average skater and didn't really assert himself physically in a game that he could have really made a statement in.
I can definitely agree with the size and hands - the two videos above showcase that pretty well. McMullen does literally stand out against his competition and the goals he did score were good reaction plays. I can't say I'm pleased to see that he wasn't all that physical but perhaps given the score of the game, there was much need to be throwing the body around a bit.
Back in March, Mike Morreale compiled a list of notable draft-eligible high school players at NHL.com. McMullen made the list and the article included this quote from Gary Eggleston of Central Scouting Services:
"He works and hustles and sets the tone for the team," [Gary] Eggleston said. "He plays the game at a high tempo, hits and follows through with his checks regardless of how insignificant the moment. He's very active in all three zones and effective on the penalty-kill. I like the fact he wheels the puck out of the corner very well and likes to drive outside and get in on the off-wing."
That Eggleston pointed out his eagerness to follow through on checks allays any of my concerns about whether he uses that big frame of his. I'm more pleased to read that he got some PK time. I presume he was good enough on defense to be given that responsibility, which is more impressive considering he was learning a new position as a senior at Delbarton. This is a short quote about a potential late round pick, so I should be satisfied but I have to wonder whether his playing at a high tempo is a function of what he is as a player, the powerhouse team he plays for, and/or the level of competition he plays against.
An Opinion of Sorts
McMullen, at best, might be considered a diamond in the rough. As with Matt Killian, while McMullen excelled as a senior (game winning goal in championship game, led team in scoring), he did against high school players in New Jersey. While he did well, the question of whether he can take it to the next level looms large. Unlike Killian, McMullen didn't get much attention from scouts or get some time with the USNTDP. To me, Morreale's recent article at NHL.com about his selection in the USHL draft was the most eye-opening. His own coach pointed out that he only recently decided to focus solely on hockey from a sport standpoint; and McMullen himself pointed out that he had to learn a new position. All together, this all points to him being a "late bloomer."
That's perfectly fine. The good news, in my opinion, is that he's going to Boston College. He'll play in Hockey East, he'll play in an organization that has developed many pro players, and whoever drafts him will let him develop there. Should he excel and grow as a player there, then he could become someone to talk about after college as opposed to being a warm body on a minor pro team somewhere.
When Tom said in his recent Round 3-7 Devils Mock Draft that he's "overdrafted" in the sixth round for McMullen, I would have to agree. Unless their scouts love him, I think the Devils should consider him as a potential seventh round pick and not much more. While those two rounds are basically long shot prospects being drafted; he could very well be available at 189th overall. Would I be upset if he's taken in the sixth? Not really, unless one player is still on the board that Tom considered sixth-round worthy.
One final note: Should McMullen not be drafted, I would highly recommend that he use that as motivation at BC. A prospect don't need to be in a system to develop as a player; and every year there's a few college seniors that NHL teams will fall over themselves to sign that weren't drafted at age 18. There's value in working on your game regardless of whether his name is called out on June 25.
Now that you've learned a little more about Peter McMullen, I want to know what you think of him as a prospect. Do you also get the sense he's a late bloomer? Do you think he would be worth a late round pick; or do you think New Jersey should look elsewhere late? More importantly, did you see McMullen play or know other sources online who have? If so, then please share your views about him so we all can learn more about McMullen. Please leave your answers and other thoughts on Peter McMullen in the comments. Thanks for reading.