NHL Draft 2021: Q&A With Bob MurrayJul 24, 2021
Below is a transcript of Murray's media availability, edited lightly for clarity:
On why McTavish had been a top choice:
Well, he’s been on our radar since his last underage year in Peterborough. He was a goal scorer, and a good young underage player in Peterborough, so he was on the board. It was obviously very tough this year, but we got to watch him in Switzerland play with the men. We had some good tape of that, and after a couple games of adjustment, he fit right in with the men, and we all got to see him at the Under-18, and on the Canada team, and we just felt he was one of the guys on the Canada team that drove the bus, that pushed the bus along. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we hired one of the coaches from Team Canada to help us a little bit with talking to everybody on that team. He was definitely a leader on that hockey club, and he’s a real good fit for our young guys; he compliments our young guys real well with his leadership and a little bit of a different game than the rest of our young players at the moment.
On the impact of McTavish’s leadership skills:
I think for most of us, it was the drive and leadership he showed at the Under-18’s in Dallas. I think that was the thing that drove him right ahead of a few other guys. As we were looking at them all, there was a guy at number one, and then seven or eight after the guy at number one. He just jumped up the board real big time for us.
On the elements McTavish brings to the game:
The way we used to play, and the way we want to get back to a little bit, a little bit of the oomph in the game, a little bit of the pushing the pace. He’s good on the forecheck, he shoots the puck, he has a little bit of a physical preference. He’s different than Trevor, for example, different type of player, but really compliments the guy. Now, you’ve got Trevor and him down the middle. It’s a possible top nine and top center.
On McTavish’s rough and rowdy type of play:
When I finally saw him live, that was one of the first thing’s I noticed. I said, ‘Oh wow, who’s this guy?’ He gets involved. Again, he’s a great compliment to our other young players right now. For Martin and I, that really pushed us towards him.
On his Ogie Ogilthorpe like hairstyle:
We talked to him again yesterday, and I asked him ‘There’s no barbers in Ottawa? What’s going on there?’ He just chuckled. You guys are going to like him. He’s got some character and charisma to him.
On playing as a center or ring wing:
We’ve seen both [center, and right wing]. We want him as a center. That’s the game plan right now, but the best laid plans, you know how they go. We want Trevor [Zegras] as center, but that might not work at some point. If you get another center, maybe Trevor ends up playing with Mason [McTavish]. But right now, you’ve got two good young centermen.
On his potential ETA:
He played the underage year in the OHL, and the OHL didn’t play last year. So, he was over in Switzerland. As with all these kids, he’s coming here to make the hockey team, I can tell you that. That’s what he’s thinking. If he makes it, he makes it. It’s the same I’ve said with all the other guys. He’s developed enough physically. You’re always worried, but he’s developed enough to play.