IF IT COMES DOWN TO THE 3 DEFENSEMEN…E.J. McGuire on Fowler vs. Gormley vs. Gudbranson

CB’s Draft Mockery: Picks 3, 4, 5

9:45 pm: Should the Islanders stick with pick 5 (75% chance) and draft a defenseman, they will be looking at a trio of diverse talents: Cam Fowler (the most likely to be gone) and Erik Gudbranson and Brandon Gormley, of which at least one is certain to be around.


Of the three, we have spent the least amount of time of draft obsession these last three weeks on Gormley, the blueliner with Moncton of the Quebec League whom the Islanders hosted for a day of meetings, physicals and meals in New York. Looking to get someone on the record, I checked in with Central Scouting director E. J. McGuire. The CSS ranked Gormley sixth among North American skaters – forward Brett Connolly third, Gudbranson fourth and Fowler fifth.


E.J. does your staff see much of a gap between Gudbranson, Fowler and Gormley?

Not a big gap, but we did feel that was the right order. Gudbranson, over time, should be able to affect games with his physicality and smarts. I believe he’ll add offense to his game. Cam Fowler is the best offensive defenseman of the three and could be an all-star. Gormley comes as advertised: he may not lift you out of your seat with a big hit or a great play for a goal, but he is a very smart and very steady player.


What’s the case for a team to take Gormley over Gudbranson?

Well, we had Gudbranson at 3 and Gormley at 6 on our year-end report for a reason, but the scouts expect Brandon to play a long time in the league. You’re not going to find many people who have anything overtly negative to say about his game.


Gormley doesn’t seem to get a lot of hype because he’s not regarded as the “sexy” pick. He had 9 goals for Moncton. The scouts I’ve spoken with say he didn’t play the body much.

That’s true, but he can move the puck and players like him take some time to develop an all-around game. It’s true that he’s also not in the same ballpark as a physical player, like Gudbranson and (Dylan) McIlrath, but that’s apples and oranges. Brandon is an outstanding all-around defenseman.


Would it surprise you to see Gormley go in the top five?

Not at all. Central Scouting is a service. We provide one view for teams to consider. There’s a group of players after the top one or two that could go in any order. Nothing would surprise me. When you’re dealing with players as close as this group of defensemen, scouts can argue for a while. Sometimes it could come down to what a team is looking for.

Brandon Gormley Interview