Andrew Estey is a 19-year-old rookie playing for the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL. The left winger is listed at 6’1, 193 lbs and played a bruising, physical style as well as contributing on the stats sheet.
In 38 games this year for the Bulldogs, Estey has 20 goals and 28 assists for 48 points. The power forward has scored 11 of his 20 goals on the power play, and also compiled 27 penalty minutes. Estey has managed to build a five-point lead in the team scoring race and tied for ninth overall in league scoring.
Estey is able to dominate the BCHL with his strength. He has a very good understanding of positioning, both offensively and defensively. He reads the play well on both ends of the ice, and knows when he must get back to cover for a teammate that has been caught out of position. His defensive-zone coverage is strong for the league and he moves very well in the offensive zone to find the open spaces, part of the reason for his 11 power play goals.
Despite being a few years older than many of the prospects hoping to be selected in the upcoming, Estey brings an interesting package that will likely attract attention from NHL teams for the 2006 Entry Draft. Unless he grows more, Estey, who likens himself to a Todd Bertuzzi-type of player, will have to probably struggle to play a power forward role at a professional level simply because of the larger size of opponents. Estey is, however, an interesting raw talent for teams to develop into a very effective third-line grinder with good instincts and the ability to chip in offensively.
He has committed to Union College for the 2006-07 season.
HF: This is your rookie year in the BCHL, how have you found the league and how have you adjusted?
AE: I’ve found the league pretty good. I had to adjust to the start; it was a lot quicker speed and a lot tougher, so I had to adjust to that. But I finally found my way five, six, games into the season and I’ve been coming along real well.
HF: Last year you played at Salisbury Prep School in Connecticut. What differences are there from that league to the BCHL?
AE: Difference down there is a lot more stick work and skating. Here is a lot more plays and everything. You have to be a lot more mental in this league than the prep school league.
HF: Your hometown is listed as Fredericton, New Brunswick, you played the past two years in Connecticut, you’re on Vancouver Island now, and next year you’ll be at Union College in New York State. What’s with the travel?
AE: My family advisor recommended I go to this prep school because Dan Donato was the head coach and Ted Donato played for the Bruins and that was his brother. I played two years there and it was unbelievable and (Head Coach) Jim [Hiller] called me up one day and asked if I’d like to play out here and I said I’d love to. Just going back to New York will be a little closer to home and it’s what I’d like to do.
HF: What made you choose to take the Junior A/College route rather than the Canadian Hockey League?
AE: I thought the Junior A would get me more prepared for college hockey and it would just get me stronger and faster and I felt I could step in and play right away.
HF: You didn’t have any interest in playing in the QMJHL?
AE: No, after my draft year I was kind of disappointed and decided I was going to go to prep school and I played well down there and it got attention that I think it wouldn’t have got me there in the Q and then I ended up out here. It ended up a great thing that I didn’t go to the Q. (Editor’s Note: Estey was taken in the 8th round, 114th overall in the 2003 QMJHL Entry Draft.)
HF: You scored your 20th goal tonight, what sort of stats do you think you’ll finish the season with?
AE: It’s hard to tell. I just keep working hard every night. I want to go for a point a game this year. I was kind of expecting that, but I didn’t expect to jump out to such a point lead on our team or anything. That’s just been unbelievable and I’m just going to keep going and let the hard work take me from there.
HF: The Bulldogs were ranked fourth in all of Canada among Junior A teams. How much do you guys think about that?
AE: It’s a help to know we’re fourth but there’s still three teams better than us and we want to be No. 1. When it comes May, April, we want to be No. 1 in Canada.
HF: How do you feel about your chances of getting picked in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver?
AE: I feel pretty good. I think this year has helped me out a lot. Playing a lot of minutes helps a lot too. So, I think just showcasing my stuff and working hard, again, has just helped me a lot.
HF: If you had your choice, who would you want to be drafted by?
AE: That’s tough…
HF: What’s your favorite team?
AE: Favorite team is probably the Edmonton Oilers. But, doesn’t really matter, it’s the NHL, it’s what I want to do.
HF: What current or former NHL player is your style most comparable to?
AE: Probably when he was in his prime, Gary Roberts. More of a Todd Bertuzzi now, cause he’s a big power forward and I kind of figure that’s my job. If I don’t hit, I’m not in the play, and when I hit I just go after the puck and it’s there.
HF: Who is your favorite player?
AE: Probably Bertuzzi again. He’s a monster out there and I love his style.
HF: What’s your best road-trip story?
AE: Probably when we went to Prince George this year, it was just an unbelievable time. We won two out of three, which was kind of disappointing, we wanted to win the third, but we just had a great time on the way back. A bunch of us stayed up and played poker the whole night and we shut it down around six o’clock in the morning, just in time for the ferry.
HF: What are you planning to take at college?
AE: I’m going to take Business Administration. And hopefully if I don’t go through with hockey, just something with business and go from there.
HF: If your hockey career doesn’t pan out, what would you like to do professionally?
AE: Hopefully something in the business world. Just start small and work my way to the top and just become an executive.
Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.