Even in a casual conversation, Day sounds like a young man searching hard for an upside to his decision to enter major junior a year ahead of his class. “A lot of people would say that [my rookie season] was a bad year, but I think it was good for my development,” he says. “I went into that season not knowing a lot about defence. I wanted to jump up into the rush a lot. I had to learn about playing in my own end, thinking defence before offence. Even coming in as a 16-year-old in your first season, it’s tougher [than other positions] because you’re the last line of defence and all eyes are on you. And there’s just that much more scrutiny on you as an exceptional player. They want to see something exceptional every shift.”
The scouts’ eyes will be trained on Day this winter. When quizzed by NHL Central Scouting this fall, Day was asked what aspect of his game he has to work on. Most kids cite strength or skating when the question is posed. These, however, aren’t holes in Day’s skill set. His reply was a rare one, exceptional in its own way, but honest: “Weight control,” he told them.
In its early-season rankings, NHL Central Scouting had Day as a “B prospect,” projecting him to be a second-rounder at best. Day expressed disbelief when asked about mock drafts that have him falling off the first-round grid. “I’m not going to say the clichéd answer about not looking at the draft lists,” he says. “Everybody does. I know what people have said or written about me. People forget I’m 17. I have a whole season to help my [draft] stock. When I see the draft boards and I’m not even in the first round, I just tune it out and say to myself, ‘C’mon, that’s dumb.’”
This first appeared on Sportsnet and is an excellent read for everyone. Find the complete article here.