Chad Painchaud has had an interesting couple of years. He wasn’t selected until 143rd overall in the 2002 OHL Priority draft by the Mississauga IceDogs. That deep into the draft, few if any players end up seeing regular ice time in the OHL. In fact, Painchaud’s 2002-03 season was spent with the same high school team that had attracted the Dogs’ attention the season before. He helped that team win its second consecutive championship and was invited to the 2003 IceDogs camp, making the team as a 17-year-old rookie.
That’s where he took advantage of the opportunity. He had a strong rookie season in 2003-04, collecting 42 points in 68 games, and was invited to the CHL Top Prospects game in January. While there he won the 150’ dash and placed fourth in puck control. When the Central Scouting Service’s mid-term rankings of North American skaters was released, Painchaud was located in the 41st spot. In addition, International Scouting Services has Painchaud ranked 85th overall in the March report.
Hockey’s Future caught up with the smooth-skating Painchaud whose IceDogs are in the midst of a tight second round series versus the Barrie Colts.
HF: You were playing high school hockey last year and got a tryout with the IceDogs because of your play there. You made the team, and now you’re expected to be selected high in the NHL entry draft. Did you have any NHL expectations last year?
CP: No, definitely not. I just came into camp, just wanted to make the team and just try to do my best during the season, but I really didn’t expect anything like this.
HF: What factors do you credit with your quick rise? Is it the attention you’ve gotten being with the IceDogs, or have your skills improved that much over last year?
CP: I think I’ve improved a lot since last year and I’ve just been working hard and I guess it’s paid off.
HF: Do you think much about potentially being the highest NHL draft pick the Mississauga Ice Dogs have produced?
CP: I don’t know about that. Shantz might take that. He’s doing really well, so I don’t know.
HF: You were fourth on the IceDogs for scoring in your first OHL season and sixth overall for OHL rookie scoring. Has scoring always been a strength for you?
CP: Yeah, I think I’ve always been one of the top on my team throughout my playing hockey.
HF: You also led the IceDogs all OHL rookies in plus/minus with a rating of 23. Was the defensive system the IceDogs employ familiar to you or did you just adapt quickly to it?
CP: I guess it’s mostly luck there, not being on the ice when the other team scores on you (laughs).
HF: So you’re modest.
CP: Yeah (laughs).
HF: How do you feel you’ve developed this season under Coach Gilbert and his staff?
CP: I think I’ve developed a lot. He’s a great coach and I’ve learned a lot from him.
HF: What aspect of your game have you worked the hardest on to improve this year?
CP: I think everything. Just try to be physical out there, try to make plays, and finish my chances and stuff.
HF: You’re playing for the team in the area you grew up in. Have you had a lot of friends and family out to games for support this year?
CP: Oh yeah, I definitely get a lot of friends out to the game.
HF: Not only were you invited to the (CHL) Top Prospects game, but you won the 150′ dash in the skills competition. What was your experience like this year?
CP: It was great. I had a lot of fun there. The guys were great, and it was a good experience.
HF: You’re following closely in the footsteps of Patrick O’Sullivan. Has he talked to you about things like the Top Prospects game or what to expect at the entry draft?
CP: Yeah, when I got selected to the prospects game I talked to him about it and I talked to him about the draft and stuff. He’s just been helping me with that kind of stuff.
HF: What do you feel has been the best line combination for you this year with the Dogs?
CP: The line that I’m on now with Lukas Grauwiler and Tom Zanoski.
HF: You’ve proven yourself to be a feisty player who has speed and scoring ability. What part of your game do you take the most pride in?
CP: I think my skating. People always tell me that I’m a good skater so I take pride in that.
HF: What do you like to do when you’re not playing?
CP: Just hang out with friends and watch TV. Nothing big.
HF: And finally, what NHL’er would you say your game resembles most? Or do you have a favorite player?
CP: I like watching Alexander Mogilny and Joe Sakic, one of those guys. I don’t know if I resemble them, but…
HF: You might be faster than them already…