It’s the penultimate day of the NHL Prospects Tournament in Traverse City and Jim Nill stands outside the Stars’ locker room.

When a reporter asks him what he and his scouting team saw when they selected Conner Roulette in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL Draft, he tilts his head forward, as if looking over glasses. that are not currently on her face, raising her hand to her face.

“He,” Nill said, patting his temple, “he came up here. He has a great sense of hockey and skill. Now he’s like 80% of other kids where it’s now about what he can do off the ice in the gym to get stronger and faster. If he can devote the time to it, he has a chance because he has the brains.

This thing, his mind, is difficult to identify and assess. But anyone who knows roulette knows he has it. And like Nill, they say the sky is the limit if he can build the rest, especially the slim frame that’s evident when he comes out of the locker room after Nill and his Stars workout shirt drape over his lightweight shoulders.

One of the first things today’s scouts, development coaches, and general managers will tell you about today’s players is that not enough of them are watching hockey. .

But if you ask Roulette to describe his game or identify his strengths and weaknesses, he will start by saying that he is a student of the game before delving into the finer details.

He will talk about his strengths, highlighting his balance with the puck, his ability to slow down play, his IQ in hockey, his way of reading games and his touch inside the attacking zone.

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