2004 Prospects: Q&A with David Shantz

By Jason Ahrens





Hockey’s Future-How do you feel about the way that you played tonight

David Shantz is a 6’1” goalie with the OHL
Mississauga IceDogs enjoying a solid rookie season. Central Scouting has him
ranked as the second best goalie in North America in their mid term rankings
and that he is the highest ranked goalie in the Canadian Hockey League.
Scouts love the package that Shantz brings to the table and he has a track
record of winning. Shantz was a steal by the IceDogs as they chose him in the
seventh round in the 2002 OHL draft as there was concern that Shantz might
choose to play in the NCAA.

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Shantz played in Thorold in the 2002-03 season and posted an
impressive 30 win season with only three losses and three ties. He had a
stellar goals against average of 1.79 and posted eight shutouts. Then he led
Thorold to their league championship in the Golden Horseshoe Junior B league.
They advanced to the Sutherland Cup final which is a trophy fought for by the
winners of the three Junior B leagues in southern Ontario. Thorold lost to
Stratford in seven games in the finals.

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Shantz brought his winning ways with him to the OHL and has
Mississauga in uncharted territory for the young franchise, leading the OHL
Eastern Conference. In 31 games this season Shantz has 16 wins, 11 losses and 3
ties with a goals against average of 2.78 and a save percentage of 923. Shantz
played in the 2004 CHL Top Prospects game and the OHL All-Star game. Hockey’s
future caught up with him after the Prospects game.

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Hockey’s Future: How do you feel about the way that you
played tonight?

David Shantz: It was an interesting game, it wasn’t the kind
of start that I would like to have, two shots and two goals. There were a
couple of crazy bounces and sometimes they go in your favor and sometime they
don’t, it’s just part of the game. I know we were scrambling a bit out there,
everybody was a bit tense to begin with but as long as the guys all had fun.

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HF: How tough is it to play net with a set of defensemen
that you are not familiar with?

DS: It throws you off a bit, but I think one of the biggest
parts of my game is communicating with the defense, give them a heads up,
helping them out. I’m sure that they did the best they could. I kind of gave
them help when they needed it. But there definitely is that added factor of not
knowing where they are, but it’s all part of the experience.

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HF: When did you start playing goal?

DS: I started when I was 8.

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HF: So you were an early convert?

DS: Yes I switched from forward.

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HF: Your route to the CHL, did you play AAA all the way up
through?

DS: Yes all the way up through Hamilton minor hockey
and then I played Junior B last year before making the jump to the OHL.

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HF: You guys won your league title last year in junior B
and you lost to Stratford in the finals of the Sutherland Cup and you played
against a goalie who is playing here in London this year Andy MacDonald. How
was that for your confidence, playing in a pretty good league and going that
far in the playoffs?

DS: I think the experience was terrific. When you go that far in the playoffs you get
faced with a lot of situations, a lot of pressure situations and big game
moments. It gave me a chance to shine. I think it was great that I gained some
experience and had the opportunity to play in that type of a situation.

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HF: When you went junior B, was there ever any thought of staying
there to maintain your NCAA eligibility and go that route?

DS: Absolutely, I had a handful of offers over the summer
and was talking to a lot of schools but I chose the OHL and saw a great
opportunity with Mississauga and have been very fortunate as a lot of things
have fallen into place.

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HF: Yeah your team is currently leading the conference.

DS: Yeah that’s not bad.

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HF: What was the major factor in choosing the OHL over NCAA?

DS: I think the opportunity to play more. The NCAA is a
shorter season and as a freshman goalie, you might be a redshirted player and
you probably wouldn’t see the net much and you would probably be sitting in the
bench or in the stands a lot and I think the opportunity with Mississauga was
really good. Mr. Gilbert has shown a lot of confidence in me and that has been
just terrific. Also the NHL exposure that the CHL gets. Those were all
determining factors in my ultimate decision to chose the OHL.

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HF: Coming in a rookie this season to the OHL, did you
ever dream that you would be sitting here tonight in the Prospects Game as one
of the top four goalies?

DS: Actually coming into the season it was one of my
goals and for it to happen tonight and being here all week has just been a
really great experience. It’s been very good for my confidence too.

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HF: What is your strongest skill as a goalie?

DS: I would say my positional play.

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HF: What do you need to work on the most?

DS: Probably seeing the play behind the net, reading how
the play develops from there. Also puck handling.