2006 prospects: Q&A with Joey Ryan

By Kevin Forbes

A native of Stoneham, Massachusetts, Joey Ryan was the 10th overall pick in the 2003 QMJHL Entry Draft by the Gatineau Olympiques. Soon after he was drafted, his rights were traded to the Quebec Remparts and it was Coach Patrick Roy who eventually convinced him to play hockey in the Canadian junior system.

A top prospect in the upcoming 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Ryan prides himself on his physical play although he is able to contribute in other areas of the game as well. Roy calls Ryan one of the Remparts keys on defense and notes that he had a big year. He said “he’s been playing extremely well and defensively he’s able to be physical also. He’s able to see the ice pretty well, he has a pretty good first pass, and he’s got a good shot.”

In 61 games for Quebec this season, Ryan tallied six goals and had a total of 24 points as well as a team-leading 202 penalty minutes. Meanwhile, in the playoffs, the 6’2 defender scored twice and had 10 points in 23 games as well as 29 penalty minutes.

Hockey’s Future caught up with Ryan at the 2006 MasterCard Memorial Cup, where he has scored a goal and has six penalty minutes in three games.

HF: Can you describe yourself as a player and what you bring to the Remparts?

JR: I play physical, hit, make passes. My shot’s pretty good, I think. Most of all is my physical part, hitting, making big hits, making good plays.

HF: We’ve been noticing that throughout the tournament it’s been pretty chippy out there and pretty fast. Do you think that suits you well?

JR: Yeah, I think it suits me real well. There’s been a lot of hitting, I like that a lot. Playing the WHL, there’s a lot of hitting going on. That’s my type of game. The speed’s good but the hitting is my type of game.

HF: Is there any player in the NHL you mold your game after or look up to?

JR: Well, Patrick (Roy) always told me, since I first got here, that I remind him of Adam Foote. So I kind of think I play like him, since he told me that. I look up to (Chris) Pronger.

HF: You mentioned Patrick Roy. Can you talk a bit about the effect he’s had on your career?

JR: It’s been good. He knows a lot obviously, winning Stanley Cups and stuff like that. He brought a lot to the team and he taught me a lot as a defenseman, with him being a goalie in the NHL. I’ve learned a lot from him.

HF: I read that you stayed with him for a bit when you first joined the team?

JR: Yeah, I lived with him for half of my first year and half of last year. So that was good.

HF: Do you think the new NHL rules and how they open up the game a bit will benefit you?

JR: It’s kind of different. I really don’t like the new rules. You really can’t hit or anything. Well, you can hit, but there’s no hooking going on like there was before. There was a lot of hitting going on, hooking going on, hitting in front of the net. You can’t do that anymore. It’s not going to affect me or anything, but I think it’s changed a little bit.

HF: Do you think it’s made it a bit harder for you to play your role as a defenseman?

JR: Yeah, I think it makes it a lot harder. Well, not a lot, but a little harder. Because I want to hit people in front of the net, I can’t do that as much. They call penalties, so it makes it a little tougher.

HF: You’re from the States. What made you chose to play in the CHL?

JR: I was going to go with the USA National Program but I thought coming here would be a better opportunity to go to NHL. I mean, college wasn’t my type of hockey. It’s just not that physical and it’s not that good anymore, I don’t think. I think coming up here was the best decision I ever made. Me and my parents we were [pleased]. Because I signed to go the National Program, but then Patrick started talking to me, saying that it would be good to come up here and I talked to my agents and they said that it would be really good and it would be the best way to go to the NHL.

HF: Do you have any idea on where you hope to be drafted?

JR: Well, obviously, I hope to be in the first round somewhere. But if not, first or second round I’ll be happy. Anywhere.

HF: Want to make any predictions on any teams that might pick you?

JR: (laughing) I have no idea, couldn’t tell you.

HF: Can you just talk a bit about the importance of this tournament has on the draft?

JR: I think it certainly has a lot to do on the draft. I mean, I was ranked 31st, I think, during the season and if I play well during this tournament, it’s going to improve my rankings with all the scouts that are here. So I think that if I step my game up one notch, two notches, as much as I can, I think I’ll get higher in the draft.

HF: Is that something that’s been in the back of your mind, while you’re here, that there are scouts watching?

JR: Well, yeah, obviously. Before the game, I think about it. I get nervous a little bit. Because, I need to play good, so I can get drafted higher. But I also have to play good with my team, so we can win the Memorial Cup.

HF: Do you think you could step right into the NHL?

JR: I think I’m going to need a little more improvement. My footwork is kind of slow; I need to work on that this summer. And get a little stronger I think, physical. So I think it will be a little while before I go there.

HF: What do you do in the offseason for training?

JR: I do a lot of legs, do a little running. I do upper body, some boxing. Just usually the regular stuff.

Ryan and the Remparts already have a berth in the MasterCard Memorial Cup final and await the winner of the Moncton Wildcats and the Vancouver Giants as their opponent.

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Copyright 2006 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.