May 02 2012 12:32PM
Ah, Nemo. We meet again.
Selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Greg Nemisz came into the Flames’ world as a possible-maybe-kinda-sorta replacement for Jarome Iginla.
That was 4 years ago.
Nemisz improved upon his counting stats after his draft year, where he scored 34 goals and added 33 assists in 68 games. However, his NHLE totals since graduating from the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires have gone from 33 in the team’s Memorial Cup season to 17 last year and 20 this year. That is troubling, because that's a drop off of nearly 50% coming out from the OHL to the AHL. That must mean he has some trouble with something, because well-rounded players do not just drop like that.
It’s not size, as various places around the net have him listed between 6’3, 202 and 6’4, 209. That is more than big enough to hack it in a professional league. It’s not as if he doesn’t have some dangles, either. So logically, we have to conclude that his skating is not up to par.
*Reminder - The evaluators were asked to rank players, and we sorted the rankings via a simple point scale-number 15 on each list got one point, while number 1 on each list got 15. The criteria for who was included was pretty simple: players the Flames control who are 23 and under (excluding Mikael Backlund, since he's already a bona fide NHLer).
Although, you probably didn’t need me to tell you that if you’ve watched Nemisz play. Obviously there are many mechanics you need to focus on while you are skating - arm movement, head positioning, upper body positioning, and knee bend - Nemisz struggles with a lot of them. Just watch his stride and you’ll see that it looks like he’s working twice as hard to get to some place on the ice half as fast.
Skating is really a case of the less you do, the faster you’ll be. Nemisz, to me, is one of the great examples of guys you draft because “you can fix their skating” or whatever. It’s never that simple, though. Skating is by far the hardest thing to correct in a player because of how much movement it takes. Generally, by the time you hit 16 or 17, you either have it or you don’t.
Now, I’ve been extremely critical of Nemisz here, but I don’t think I’ve been unfair. The guy does have some great hands, and he throws his body around quite a bit (although his coaches often say he could always be more aggressive). Word out of the OHL and AHL is that Nemisz is a versatilve player who can skate on both the wing and at center because and at both special teams. So when he plays to his strengths, he can be a useful player out there.
Last year I wrote that the 2011-2012 season was Nemisz’s make-or-break year, and I feel like I was probably a year premature with that declaration. Nemisz will finish his entry-level contract this year, and he’s going to have to show Flames management that he’s worth keeping around. To be honest, I’m not sure how he does that, aside from upping his scoring beyond the rate of a replacement level guy.
And that - for both Flames fans and Nemisz - really sucks.