Flames Prospects 2012-13 NHLE - February 27

Kent Wilson
February 27 2013 09:28AM

 


 

Another month, another round of NHL equivalencies. Things are starting to wind down, with many of the various other leagues entering the final quarter of the season give or take. That means we're getting close to the final NHLE numbers for all of these kids this year.

Aside from a couple of stand-outs, it's unfortunately been an inauspicious season for Flames prospects, at least by this measure. Converting output to an NHL translation has it's uses but also it's limitations, primarily because counting stats obviously don't provide a complete picture of the player in question.

That said, outside of a few notable outliers (fighters, grinders and shut-down defenders), almost all future NHL skaters usually put up better than average offensive numbers during their junior/non-pro or lower pro careers. Heck, a lot of the kids who do score a lot nevertheless never end up making the show, so it's a long road either way. Mediocre output just means it's a little rockier too.

In short, it's certainly not impossible for a guy to make the NHL if he manages only okay numbers at the lower levels. Sometimes kids can take a quantum leap forward netween seasons and start putting up the kind of results that catch the eye as well. But we're talking about probabilities here and, by and large, skaters who don't manage noteworthy NHLE's leading up to the NHL either won't make the show, or won't put up useful numbers even if they make the cut anyways.

I've looked at these numbers for years now and have developed a bit of a rule of thumb for evaluating them (mostly for forwards):

45-50+ - Potential high-end scorer in NHL.

40-45 - Quality prospect, should contend for NHL job sooner rather than later.

35-40 - Very good prospect with ceiling ranging from 3rd to 2nd line.

30-35 - Good prospect, but probably with some question marks.

25-30 - Probably needs to significantly improve one or more areas of his game to realistically compete for NHL job down the road.

20-25 - Low-end prospect. Needs quantum leap forward or needs to be big, strong enough to be a grinder/fighter in NHL.

Below 20 - Not really a prospect.

The older a prospect, the truer these assesments become, since they are closer to their peak as they age. A kid like Mark Jankowski has a lot of room to improve his numbers and move up the ranks whereas Greg Nemisz at 22 years old has probably run out of road.

The Forwards 

Forwards League PPG Translation NHLE
John Gaudreau NCAA 1.37 0.41 46
Bill Arnold NCAA 1.07 0.41 36
Markus Granlund SM-liiga 0.57 0.54 25
Roman Horak AHL 0.49 0.55 22
Turner Elson WHL 0.88 0.30 22
Coda Gordon CHL 0.87 0.30 21
Paul Byron AHL 0.43 0.55 19
Mark Jankowski NCAA 0.54 0.41 18
Matt Deblouw CCHA 0.47 0.41 16
Max Reinhart AHL 0.27 0.55 12
Greg Nemisz AHL 0.17 0.55 8

He has slowed down recently, but as it has been all year, John Gaudreau still leads the pack by a fairly wide margin. Team mate Bill Arnold has put together a nice run recently and has actually closed the gap - a good indication given he's a year older than Johnny G.

There isn't much to talk about aside from those guys is the bad news. Markus Granlund is next in line, but it's a steep drop off to an NHLE of 25. To put that in context, Markus' older brother Mikael scored at a 1.13 point-per-game pace in the same league (on the same team) at the same age, which translates to an NHLE of 50. He's currently a 4th liner on the Wild struggling to keep his head above water at even strength, which gives you some indication of the sort of progression Markus will have to experience in order to be a useful player to the Flames down the road.

Roman Horak charged out of the gates for the Heat but his production has slowed to a crawl since about November. He's a guy who has some tools for sure, but at some point the production will have to be there too or else he'll become another Dustin Boyd - a guy who consistently teases with potential, but never puts it together long enough to be anything more than a replacement level forward in the show.

Guys like Byron and Nemisz who are nearing their mid-20's and can't even crack an NHLE of 20 aren't really prospects at this point. Jankowski we can put down as write-off for this season given his age and how poor offensively his team is. We'll need to see a very real, very big step forward from him next year, though, to justify the Flames targeting him to the exclusion of other options in the first round last June.

Finally, Max Reinhart has had a very odd season. By all accounts he has played well and is rated highly by his coach, often deployed in a defensive role or matched up against the other teams best players. Despite that (or to some degree, because of that) his results are abysmal with just 15 points in 55 games and a team worst -23 (the next worst is Krys Kolanos at -12). Because we don't have PDO/even strength percentages for the AHL we can't know if Reinhart has suffered through especially bad luck this year, but that's my gut feel when I look at the discrepancy between the numbers, his play and how he's rated by the coaching staff.

That said, if Reinhart doesn't rebound heartily next year and become a Heat team leader in every respect, then his stock will plummet in the org as well.

The Defense

Defensemen League PPG Translation NHLE
Ryan Culkin CHL 0.71 0.29 17
Tyler Wotherspoon CHL 0.66 0.30 16
Brett Kulak CHL 0.59 0.30 14
John Ramage NCAA 0.34 0.41 12
Brady Lamb AHL 0.16 0.55 7
Patrick Sieloff CHL 0.24 0.30 6

As mentioned previously in these articles, Calgary currently has zero high-end prospects on the back-end. Wotherspoon has had a big year as a 19/20-year old for the Portland Winterhawks, but some of that is attributable to the strength of the team and some to him being an older guy. Even with all that considered, Wotherspoon's offensive output is relatively nominal. He's a prospect of note given his performance in the WHL and world juniors, but his upside at the NHL level is more in the 3rd pairing, Cory Sarich type role than anything else.

Pat Sieloff has had a rough go in the OHL this year. He made the US gold winning WJC team as a younger guy (albeit in a 6th/7th defender type role) but his total lack of offense is somewhat discouraging, even if we stipulate he was never picked with that in mind. He has also been injured off-and-on during the season, derailing his development a bit. Sieloff is only 18 so there's no rush to judgement here, but those aren't great early returns.

The Goalies

Goalie League SV% rank
Jon Gillies NCAA 0.931 12th
Laurent Brossoit WHL 0.917 6th
Joni Ortio SM-liiga 0.917 9th

I haven't included puck-stoppers here before because we don't have NHL translation factors for them yet, but I figure we might as well include their save rates and league ranks here anyways. Goaltending is the one area in the system the Flames have seen above average performances across the board this season, with all three guys becoming high-end starters for each of their respective leagues. Gillies arrived in Providence as something of an unknown freshman, but has established himself as the #1 there with authority, winning the gold medal on the US WJC team as a back-up to boot. If he can maintain or improve on this performance going forward, the Flames have a legit prospect on their hands. 

Brossoit struggled out of the gate, but has been lights out the last month or two and is again one of the best 'tenders in the WHL. He will turn 20 in March and will have the option of going to the AHL next season.

Joni Ortio is a bit of the forgotten man in the Flames goaltending mix, but he's played the most games in the league in the SM-liiga (Finnish elite league) so far this season and is top-10 in terms of save rate amongst the guys who have played in 20+ games. He turns 22-years old in April, so is a little  further down the road but not so old that we can't say he won't continue to improve the next few years. 

Conclusion

A lot of fans I know are highly encouraged by Calgary's recent draft choices, but it looks like the franchise still has a long way to go before it can claim the cupboards have been well stocked. The club has two bluechip or near bluechip picks in Baertschi and Gaudreau in the org for the first time in recent memory, which recommends the 2011 draft quite highly, but the depth behind them is questionable at best.

We still have to wait a long time before we know how good picks like Jankowski or Sieloff will be, but another heuristic of mine when it comes to grading prospects is you almost always know if they'll be high-end guys after their draft+1 season. Occasionally you find relatively late bloomers who develop into average or better than average NHLers down the line (David Moss is an example from Calgary's own ranks), but in most cases you start to see future NHLers outpacing their peers almost immediately.

With the exception of Gillies, none of Calgary's 2012 picks did that this year.

39d8109299a9795cb3b41a4e9b49d501
Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#1 Tempura
February 27 2013, 09:59AM
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Thanks Kent, I enjoy these every time.

What's the NHL equivalency for Comeau? I'M SERIOUS.

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#2 Bruins
February 27 2013, 10:12AM
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Good read Kent but not too encouraging. Good thing is some of these guys are really young so they should get better. I'm still puzzled with the Jankowski pick

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#3 Parallex
February 27 2013, 02:00PM
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@suba steve

If I don't want them anyways what difference does the return make? Anything I get for them would be sufficient.

@Beeker73

Sutter Drafted: Arnold, Reinhart, Nemisz, Ramage, Ortio

Feaster Drafted: Gaudreau, Gordan, Deblouw, Jankowski, Granland, the rest of the listed D-men, Broisset, Gillis

Drafted Outside the Org: Byron, Horak

All other listed guys undrafted free agents.

@Kevin R

"We must some how become very very good or make a transition that is going to put us in the bottom 1/3rd of the league for a year or two."

No, if the Flames are terrible then they'll end up in in the bottom and if they're not then their not. If the team were to deliberately make themselves bad... well I would never buy another ticket to a game or piece of merchandise ever again, any business that has so little respect for it's paying customers doesn't deserve a penny of my money. All I ask is that they try to compete if they try and fail... well we take the high pick and hope for better next year but to try to make your team bottomfeeder? No way in hell. Self-respect... it's worth something.

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#4 vowswithin
February 27 2013, 10:04AM
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Well this is a little discouraging. We also traded away one of our better prospects last year (Patrick Holland) who had an NHLE of 32.7 I guess on the plus we picked up ramo who should have a lot of upside.

Kent would we not rate defensemen differently? I mean unless you have yourself a Schultz you wouldn't likely have a Dman with Forward like scoring numbers..

I realize the translation numbers would be the same but the 45-50, 40-45, 35-40, 30-35, 25-30, 20-25, Below 20 would factor differently.

T.J. Brodie who is top 4 possibly a future top 2 in his best ohl season had an NHLE of 15 and his only season where he played AHL exclusively was an NHLE of 22.55

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#5 Parallex
February 27 2013, 10:21AM
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Truth be told I don't really buy into NHLE's much. I mean take a look at the AHL All-Stars. Guys like Chris Bourque and Keith Aucoin... If you were to look at their NHLE those guys would be legit top six forwards in the NHL but their actual career NHL numbers only make you acknowledge why they're fringe NHL'ers at best and spend their time predominantly toiling in the minor-pro ranks.

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#7 Jeff
February 27 2013, 10:45AM
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Why no Ferland in the analysis? He's played 26 games now this season, so his sample size is getting large enough for his NHLE to have some validity.

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#8 Parallex
February 27 2013, 10:45AM
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Bruins wrote:

Good read Kent but not too encouraging. Good thing is some of these guys are really young so they should get better. I'm still puzzled with the Jankowski pick

Jankowski: Long term project. He's a gamble to be sure but he was the youngest guy drafted in his draft year, he's the youngest guy on the youngest team in Devision I hockey (I think). As a result the stats will probably lag.

Off topic: I wonder if the Flames would be willing to go for Taylor Cammarata in the third round or so of the draft? he's small like Gaudreau but he's wrecking the USHL and has a commit to the Univ. of Minnesota (and played his midget for Shattuck St. Mary's).

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#9 the-wolf
February 27 2013, 10:48AM
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@Kent Wilson

Goes to show that a lot of the hype over the Flames prospects is just that - hype. No different than the last couple of decades.

While I have high hopes for Baerstschi and Gaudreau and even Reinhart as a 3rd line shut-down type, this article illustrates exactly why Calgary needs to sell off some assets and rebuild. Not just for top line talent, but depth as well. And, you know, maybe draft some centers or something (and I'm a big subscriber of grabbing the best player regardless of position, but in the Flames case...).

The other thing is that some prosepcts produce better at the NHL level than at the AHL level due to the quality of players around them. Is there a way to factor that in?

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#10 Parallex
February 27 2013, 11:00AM
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@the-wolf

"Goes to show that a lot of the hype over the Flames prospects is just that - hype. No different than the last couple of decades."

"this article illustrates exactly why Calgary needs to sell off some assets and rebuild."

If the above is true then it actually illustrates the opposite... that Calgary should avoid a rebuild at all costs because the ensuing "dark years" would be untenably long (think NY Islanders long).

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#12 VK63
February 27 2013, 11:15AM
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Jeff wrote:

Why no Ferland in the analysis? He's played 26 games now this season, so his sample size is getting large enough for his NHLE to have some validity.

Two more dimes last night in a dominant performance against Sutters Rebels last night by the Blades. Hes up against the hitmen tonight, hope someone on Calgary decides to throw down with him... that would be AWESOME!

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#13 backburner
February 27 2013, 11:17AM
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@Kent Wilson

I think you posted Ferlands numbers on the other blogs comment section...

I'm still a believer in Ferland especially reading all the comments on the other blog on the need for a "Theo Fleury" type of player.

The guy has some skill and is tough as nails.. something that the Flames are lacking. I would love for the Flames to acquire Mark Stone also if they could.

I'm really liking Bill Arnold as well.

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#14 Kevin R
February 27 2013, 11:29AM
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Parallex wrote:

"Goes to show that a lot of the hype over the Flames prospects is just that - hype. No different than the last couple of decades."

"this article illustrates exactly why Calgary needs to sell off some assets and rebuild."

If the above is true then it actually illustrates the opposite... that Calgary should avoid a rebuild at all costs because the ensuing "dark years" would be untenably long (think NY Islanders long).

I disagree with you to some extent. Yes, a total firesale would not make sense, so players in their mid to late 20's should probably be kept if they fit our coaches system. However, it means we do not have the luxury of keeping the Iggy's & Kippers for their entire careers. We will need to forego the pride that Detroit had in keeping Stevie Y & use these players to help restock the cubboard. We can take the 13.0 mill cap hit & bring in 2-3 proven players to keep this team competitive. Another inactive trade deadline by Feaster this year will ultimately result in the same long "dark years" you point out a full tear it down will do. I stand by my statement that trading Kipper/Iggy & JBO(due to huge value versus cap hit) is not a blow up scenario for this organiztion as many of the MSM would hype it was.

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#15 RexLibris
February 27 2013, 12:57PM
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the-wolf wrote:

Goes to show that a lot of the hype over the Flames prospects is just that - hype. No different than the last couple of decades.

While I have high hopes for Baerstschi and Gaudreau and even Reinhart as a 3rd line shut-down type, this article illustrates exactly why Calgary needs to sell off some assets and rebuild. Not just for top line talent, but depth as well. And, you know, maybe draft some centers or something (and I'm a big subscriber of grabbing the best player regardless of position, but in the Flames case...).

The other thing is that some prosepcts produce better at the NHL level than at the AHL level due to the quality of players around them. Is there a way to factor that in?

Yes.

I absolutely agree with you on discerning between best player available and best player available that fits the team. An example, I had argued rather strongly last June that the Oilers could afford to leave a little talent on the table and select Galchenyuk because they desperately needed a centre. He would have fit the organization's needs, their culture, and still been arguably in the conversation of the top players available.

In Calgary's case, if the choice this July (draft day) comes down to Hunter Shinkaruk or Curtis Lazar, I would suggest strongly that they select Lazar. His numbers may be inferior, but I believe he is the better player for their team.

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#16 Dank
February 27 2013, 01:04PM
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Brett Kulak is a prospect that really interests me. I've seen a handful Giants games this year (albeit all on tv) and he has looked pretty good. In his case, he looks like a good prospect on a team with absolutely no support. Last season, his plus/minus was +29. This year, it's -36. No question plus/minus has its flaws, but it's fairly easy to see just how bad this guys team is. Hockey players don't just see a -65 change in their plus/minus on a yearly basis.

Out of all the Flames' defensive prospects at the junior level, I think Kulak has the best offensive skills. Culkin plays on a juggernaut team in Quebec, and so does Wotherspoon in Portland, not to mention Wotherspoon is older than both those guys.

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#17 Chris Fairfield
February 27 2013, 01:15PM
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Tempura wrote:

Thanks Kent, I enjoy these every time.

What's the NHL equivalency for Comeau? I'M SERIOUS.

Is there a number less than zero?

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#18 Parallex
February 27 2013, 01:20PM
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@Kevin R

I was really more saying that it's pretty non-sensical to say that if Calgary's drafting has been so terrible for "the last couple of decades" (thereby implying an ongoing state of affairs) then advocating rebuilding through the draft (which I thought was implied by the "maybe draft some centers" comment alongside the general meme that rebuild means firesalling for draft picks) is completely counter-intuitive.

I mean a statement like "We're bad at drafting so we should sell off players so that we can get more of the thing that we're bad at" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Either the team has competant amateur talent evaluaters and the potential upside of acquiring additional amateur talent through them makes sense or they don't and it doesn't.

I'm not wedded to the idea of keeping any of our current roster (Beyond Backlund, Brodie, and Baertschi) but I wouldn't sell them for peanuts either. The only players I'd sell at the deadline (if we're out of it by then) would be the guys that I don't want next year anyways and the guys that I would want that I can't get to sign an extension prior to the deadline. Selling just for the sake of selling just doesn't make sense.

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#19 Monaertchi
February 27 2013, 01:33PM
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Which of those guys were drafted by Sutter, and which by Feater? I'm just wondering if we can definitively say at this point that Feaster and his scouts are good or bad at the draft.

If they aren't bad, then I'm all for selling off almost anyone for picks and prospects.

If they are bad, then really the only solution is to get rid of Feaster, King, and the scouts, and THEN sell off almost anyone for picks and prospects.

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#20 Kevin R
February 27 2013, 01:35PM
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Parallex wrote:

I was really more saying that it's pretty non-sensical to say that if Calgary's drafting has been so terrible for "the last couple of decades" (thereby implying an ongoing state of affairs) then advocating rebuilding through the draft (which I thought was implied by the "maybe draft some centers" comment alongside the general meme that rebuild means firesalling for draft picks) is completely counter-intuitive.

I mean a statement like "We're bad at drafting so we should sell off players so that we can get more of the thing that we're bad at" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Either the team has competant amateur talent evaluaters and the potential upside of acquiring additional amateur talent through them makes sense or they don't and it doesn't.

I'm not wedded to the idea of keeping any of our current roster (Beyond Backlund, Brodie, and Baertschi) but I wouldn't sell them for peanuts either. The only players I'd sell at the deadline (if we're out of it by then) would be the guys that I don't want next year anyways and the guys that I would want that I can't get to sign an extension prior to the deadline. Selling just for the sake of selling just doesn't make sense.

Agreed. But I am more confident in the drafting the organiztion has been doing over the last 2 years. Problem is, how can they hit a homerun franchise player drafting in the middle. We must some how become very very good or make a transition that is going to put us in the bottom 1/3rd of the league for a year or two. Cap space can also take the place of good drafting as long as your big $$$ cap hit guys are playing based on how they are paid. Seems to me Flames are one of the worst in that category. So shedding salary is another very good 1st step in this retool process.

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#21 suba steve
February 27 2013, 01:35PM
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@Parallex

"The only players I'd sell at the deadline (if we're out of it by then) would be the guys that I don't want next year anyways and the guys that I would want that I can't get to sign an extension prior to the deadline."

The guys that you don't want, are the guys that no one else wants either so what return will you get for Babs, Sarich, Staj. etc.?

From my perspective--unless Iggy signs a very cap friendly deal before the deadline, he HAS to be moved, for the good of the organization going foreward. If the return is a later first rounder and a prospect with some upside, that's better then nothing.

And yes, the Flames draft record has not been great. However, there have been some selections over Feaster's short tenure that give reason for optimism going foreward.

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#22 the-wolf
February 27 2013, 01:36PM
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Parallex wrote:

I was really more saying that it's pretty non-sensical to say that if Calgary's drafting has been so terrible for "the last couple of decades" (thereby implying an ongoing state of affairs) then advocating rebuilding through the draft (which I thought was implied by the "maybe draft some centers" comment alongside the general meme that rebuild means firesalling for draft picks) is completely counter-intuitive.

I mean a statement like "We're bad at drafting so we should sell off players so that we can get more of the thing that we're bad at" doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

Either the team has competant amateur talent evaluaters and the potential upside of acquiring additional amateur talent through them makes sense or they don't and it doesn't.

I'm not wedded to the idea of keeping any of our current roster (Beyond Backlund, Brodie, and Baertschi) but I wouldn't sell them for peanuts either. The only players I'd sell at the deadline (if we're out of it by then) would be the guys that I don't want next year anyways and the guys that I would want that I can't get to sign an extension prior to the deadline. Selling just for the sake of selling just doesn't make sense.

Thanks for clarifying, I get you now. Your point is well taken, but I'm following along the general assumption that the scouting has gotten better of late.

That's not to be confused with the over-hype of our current prospects that one often sees, but in general I go along with notion that it has improved to some degree.

As well, in what possible other way could Calgary land a #1 center, other top end talent, or the depth that they currently lack.

For better or worse, the draft is the only way to get that stuff.

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#23 Parallex
February 27 2013, 01:36PM
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@RexLibris

I haven't seen to many lists or mocks that have Shinkaruk and Lazer in the same range at all. Most have Shinkaruk significantly higher... if Calgary is drafting in the 10-15 range I figure the choice is probably Shinkaruk (Calgary boy isn't he?)or Domi. If we're drafting somewhere in the twenties (either through trading down or unlikely success) where Lazer is projected to go I'd put more probability on JT Compher what with Feaster appreciation for guys going the NCAA route.

Something I've been wondering re: the draft is whether the Blue Jackets might try to make a play at using their two extra 1st rounders+ to pull a Sedin draft to get both MacKinnon and Drouin.

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#24 the-wolf
February 27 2013, 02:40PM
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Parallex wrote:

If I don't want them anyways what difference does the return make? Anything I get for them would be sufficient.

@Beeker73

Sutter Drafted: Arnold, Reinhart, Nemisz, Ramage, Ortio

Feaster Drafted: Gaudreau, Gordan, Deblouw, Jankowski, Granland, the rest of the listed D-men, Broisset, Gillis

Drafted Outside the Org: Byron, Horak

All other listed guys undrafted free agents.

@Kevin R

"We must some how become very very good or make a transition that is going to put us in the bottom 1/3rd of the league for a year or two."

No, if the Flames are terrible then they'll end up in in the bottom and if they're not then their not. If the team were to deliberately make themselves bad... well I would never buy another ticket to a game or piece of merchandise ever again, any business that has so little respect for it's paying customers doesn't deserve a penny of my money. All I ask is that they try to compete if they try and fail... well we take the high pick and hope for better next year but to try to make your team bottomfeeder? No way in hell. Self-respect... it's worth something.

It depends on your point of view:

1) be as competitive as possible now, but never win anything;

2) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, be truly competive later.

Is fighting for 8th competitive? To me, "no." To me, competitive means being in the mix for the Cup.

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#25 Parallex
February 27 2013, 03:17PM
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the-wolf wrote:

It depends on your point of view:

1) be as competitive as possible now, but never win anything;

2) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, be truly competive later.

Is fighting for 8th competitive? To me, "no." To me, competitive means being in the mix for the Cup.

That's a false choice. You're not acknowledging the other possibilities...

1) be as competitive as possible now, but never win anything;

2) be as competitive as possible now, maybe win something.

3) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, be truly competive later.

4) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, but misfire and never win anything.

As much as the "REBUILD NOW ROAR!!!" crowd might not want to acknowledge it the possibility exists that you can become competative without tanking for top 5 picks and there is no guarentee that if you do that you'll be truly competative later... I mean look at the Oilers... How many Top 10/5 picks in a row (+ Eberle) and they're no better then we are, or the NY Islanders.

I team that doesn't try to win is a team that isn't worth supporting. What's more tanking (beyond being a reprehensible thing to do to your customers) sends a bad message to future potential players.

I'm fine with "money for nothing" trades for picks but throwing away talent for lottery tickets is just the wrong way to go about things.

As an aside if competative means "being in the mix for the Cup" then there are only ever 8 competative teams a year... you can't have 22 teams all tanking for picks every season.

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#26 RexLibris
February 27 2013, 03:47PM
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@Parallex

I was sort of picking two western league players who have potential but play significantly different styles and different positions as an example. I know Lazar is ranked lower than Shinkaruk, but I expect that to change as the latter tends to improve his play down the stretch.

That is a good possibility, and it will be interesting to see what Kekelainen does, or more precisely what we are told he is attempting to do, this draft. A Sedin-type maneuver might not be in the cards, but if he at least tries to do something in that range, then we have an indication of his personality and style.

If I'm Columbus, I'm sitting tight and waiting to see who comes to me. With luck, another insane Garth Snow "I'll give you every one of my picks for your 1st rounder" deal comes along and he takes it. Then wheel and deal those extra round picks for deferred selections in another draft and moving up the draft order in this year. Suddenly the Blue Jackets have a collection of assets that they can trade, sign, develop and otherwise boast of.

They really, really should have taken that deal last year. Select O'Reilly instead of Murray or Reinhart, and then take every other pick of the Isles.

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#27 the forgotten man
February 27 2013, 04:25PM
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Kent, how is Terravainen doing this year? It broke my heart when Calgary took Janko over him...some guys were saying that he had flashes of Selanne. Also, he is only one month older than Janko which puts to rest the age thing. Also heard on the Fan that Ottawa is skating 17 of their draft picks right now...what is Calgary at? 3-4 guys?? That pretty much sums up the ineptitude of this org. The fact Button is still there shows a lack of seriousness in attempting to be a top tier franchise.

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#28 Kevin R
February 27 2013, 04:43PM
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Parallex wrote:

That's a false choice. You're not acknowledging the other possibilities...

1) be as competitive as possible now, but never win anything;

2) be as competitive as possible now, maybe win something.

3) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, be truly competive later.

4) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, but misfire and never win anything.

As much as the "REBUILD NOW ROAR!!!" crowd might not want to acknowledge it the possibility exists that you can become competative without tanking for top 5 picks and there is no guarentee that if you do that you'll be truly competative later... I mean look at the Oilers... How many Top 10/5 picks in a row (+ Eberle) and they're no better then we are, or the NY Islanders.

I team that doesn't try to win is a team that isn't worth supporting. What's more tanking (beyond being a reprehensible thing to do to your customers) sends a bad message to future potential players.

I'm fine with "money for nothing" trades for picks but throwing away talent for lottery tickets is just the wrong way to go about things.

As an aside if competative means "being in the mix for the Cup" then there are only ever 8 competative teams a year... you can't have 22 teams all tanking for picks every season.

Heres the thing. Oilers have some pretty damn good pieces to lure some mid twenties fill in the holes & be a playoff contender. Their GM would make me pull my hair out. They claim they have untouchables, Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yapukov, Schultz & a reluctance to trade Gagner & Parjarvii. They lack some big strong forwards in the top 6 & on the blueline, lets assume they can get by on the current goaltending. They could fill these holes by dangling Gagner, Yapukov & their 1st + a number of pretty solid prospects they have in the cubboards. I would have given Yapukov for Subban + something. Hole #1 suddenly filled with J Schultz & Subban. Then Gagner & their 1st + something else even Parjarvi may get them that power forward or big centre they need. At some point they need to try & win today. Flames need to stop trying to win the Cup with players that need to compliment a team & not capable of carrying a team anymore. & make no mistake, every year you go into hoping your young players take the steps the way Brodie has & you find yourself like Ottawa & instead of rebuilding, you are in the thick of the hunt. No one here wants the Flames to suck for years, we are just tired of years of mediocrity.

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#29 RexLibris
February 27 2013, 05:13PM
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the forgotten man wrote:

Kent, how is Terravainen doing this year? It broke my heart when Calgary took Janko over him...some guys were saying that he had flashes of Selanne. Also, he is only one month older than Janko which puts to rest the age thing. Also heard on the Fan that Ottawa is skating 17 of their draft picks right now...what is Calgary at? 3-4 guys?? That pretty much sums up the ineptitude of this org. The fact Button is still there shows a lack of seriousness in attempting to be a top tier franchise.

I was curious, so I looked it up.

He has played 40 games for Jokerit (Kekelainen's team) this year in the SM Liiga and is 12-16-28, even and 6 PIMs. He had one game in the SM Liiga farm system, and then posted a 5-6-11, +6 at the World Juniors for Finland.

He is currently listed at 5'11", 165 lbs.

So maybe in answer to your question, it doesn't look good on Feaster and Weisbrod.

I'll stick to my original comment: they were gambling with chips they could not afford to lose. There is still plenty of time for either Jankowski or Teravainen to develop, but the snapshot today is pretty one-sided.

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#30 SmellOfVictory
February 27 2013, 05:37PM
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RexLibris wrote:

I was curious, so I looked it up.

He has played 40 games for Jokerit (Kekelainen's team) this year in the SM Liiga and is 12-16-28, even and 6 PIMs. He had one game in the SM Liiga farm system, and then posted a 5-6-11, +6 at the World Juniors for Finland.

He is currently listed at 5'11", 165 lbs.

So maybe in answer to your question, it doesn't look good on Feaster and Weisbrod.

I'll stick to my original comment: they were gambling with chips they could not afford to lose. There is still plenty of time for either Jankowski or Teravainen to develop, but the snapshot today is pretty one-sided.

So TT's NHLE would be about 30. Not mind-blowing; certainly better than Jankowski's, but there's an argument for each player. TT played the previous season at a higher level; Jankowski completely leapfrogged from a... 3rd tier? League into a top tier amateur league.

So early results for Teravainen are better, but he had a head start. The big argument for Jankowski is his physical toolbox, which is substantially better than Teravainen's (size and strength), taken in spite of the risks associated with a somewhat unknown quantity.

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#31 Clay
February 27 2013, 06:03PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

So TT's NHLE would be about 30. Not mind-blowing; certainly better than Jankowski's, but there's an argument for each player. TT played the previous season at a higher level; Jankowski completely leapfrogged from a... 3rd tier? League into a top tier amateur league.

So early results for Teravainen are better, but he had a head start. The big argument for Jankowski is his physical toolbox, which is substantially better than Teravainen's (size and strength), taken in spite of the risks associated with a somewhat unknown quantity.

Important to note, we don't have the luxury of looking at this until we see what Sieloff turns into.

Janko for Teravainen one for one looks bad.

However, some have said "good on their management for picking a player that may never benefit the team within the current management's tenure, very forward thinking..."

I take a different stance, in drafting Jankowski, they have picked a player they may never have to be accountable for. He may not be considered a bust until long after they're gone.

Now, Janko has a long time to develop, and Weisbrod has a decent track record. The decision to move down and do this get's my one free get-out-of-jail-free card, and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt this once. I will be much less patient going forward.

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#32 khlhfs
February 27 2013, 06:35PM
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I haven't been following very closely lately and am looking for an update. What's the deal with Baertschi? Injuries? Is he playing? Getting top 6 minutes? How does he look? I'm curious because he seemed to have so much promise but his numbers are very underwhelming, small sample size I know.

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#33 the forgotten man
February 27 2013, 06:36PM
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@RexLibris

Thanks RL

Good info...I would just hate to see the BHawks scoop another scoring forward!!

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#35 Ice_Hawk
February 27 2013, 07:12PM
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Seiloff played 60 games in the USHL and had 6 points. He has played 45 games for Windsor and has 11 points.

The reason he has increased his PPG is because his coaches recognized he had a booming slapshot and put him on the 2nd PP unit.

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

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#36 Clay
February 27 2013, 07:56PM
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Ice_Hawk wrote:

Seiloff played 60 games in the USHL and had 6 points. He has played 45 games for Windsor and has 11 points.

The reason he has increased his PPG is because his coaches recognized he had a booming slapshot and put him on the 2nd PP unit.

You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Thanks for comin' out!

On a more positive note, thanks for putting this together Kent. I've been watching Gillies play and I'm getting a little excited. Every now and then he relies on his size a little too much and gets caught down and deep. His footwork has noticeably improved since the start of the year.

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#37 Bean-counting cowboy
February 27 2013, 08:37PM
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Flames brass are sitting on a potentially incredible opportunity this season for the following reasons:

- short season means less suffering through the losing for the fans.

- Deep 2013 draft.

- Short season also means more teams will be in the hunt and could spur a bidding war for the select few teams who do decide to sell.

Iggy should fetch a late 1st plus prospect (at least)

Kipper likely the same.

Let's not underestimate desparate GM's at deadline time either. The return may end up being higher than this for both these guys. (see Paul Gaustad)

We could potentially have three 1st round picks for next years draft.

If we're being honest (intellectually that it is) how much worse will the Flames be next year with Ramo replacing Kipper & others moving up the depth chart replacing Iggy (or free agent signing). I would say not much worse.

We can still be competitive next year and have added some nice pieces for the future plus depth players for the big club.

If management does not explore this this year it will have been a HUGE missed opportunity.

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#38 RexLibris
February 27 2013, 08:48PM
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Clay wrote:

Important to note, we don't have the luxury of looking at this until we see what Sieloff turns into.

Janko for Teravainen one for one looks bad.

However, some have said "good on their management for picking a player that may never benefit the team within the current management's tenure, very forward thinking..."

I take a different stance, in drafting Jankowski, they have picked a player they may never have to be accountable for. He may not be considered a bust until long after they're gone.

Now, Janko has a long time to develop, and Weisbrod has a decent track record. The decision to move down and do this get's my one free get-out-of-jail-free card, and I'll give them the benefit of the doubt this once. I will be much less patient going forward.

I could go one of two ways with the Jankowski pick. Your sentiment that it is very responsible of any management group to select a player based on that prospect's long-term potential has absolute merit and I would applaud any group that could put their own immediate concerns aside for the betterment of their organization like that.

My problem with crediting such altruistic intentions to Feaster and Weisbrod is that their messaging to the public is largely at odds with that motive. Yes, they said that Jankowski will be the best player in the draft in five years, and yes there is every likelihood that one or both will have left by that time.

But then why the need to hype the player? Simply say that trading down was the best use of the 1st round pick and the franchise needed to diversify their assets, and by extension their prospect vulnerabilities, and leave it at that. Let Jankowski become what he will become without pulling an Esposito by labeling him the Michael Jordan of Hockey.

From where I sit, how Feaster and Weisbrod drafted, and then hyped, a prospect for whom they may never need be accountable looks more like reckless cowardice than sincere responsibility.

I'm not very supportive of Weisbrod's drafting record, though at this stage it can't be said to be worse than Tod Button's. However, I would hope that Flames fans would hold management's feet to the fire (no pun intended) this spring and summer and expect a higher level of management.

As an aside, I expect significant improvements from the Oilers management immediately, so there is no hypocrisy in that statement.

Simply put, both teams need to be better.

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#39 RexLibris
February 27 2013, 08:54PM
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@Bean-counting cowboy

I wonder about that Gaustad trade now. Perhaps Gaustad was worth a 2012 first round pick because the scouts and GM felt that the likely range of that pick was worth less than in other years.

I suspect that there may actually be fewer teams who are close to the playoff edge willing to part with a 1st round pick due to two factors:

1. the professed depth of this draft year and

2. the all-in lottery that holds the potential for significant returns.

I wholeheartedly agree, that there exists this year a window of opportunity. Failure on the ice is an opportunity to reflect, assess, adapt and renew. Great things can come about by virtue of the process of creative destruction.

They missed their previous window three years ago, and again last trade deadline. I strongly suspect that they will miss it again this year, and the consequences may yet provide the impetus for the kinds of change that many fans here desire.

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#40 Jeff Lebowski
February 27 2013, 09:09PM
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As acknowledged the NHLE has some limitations. One being that you consider just the age of the prospect rather than factoring their physical and emotional development.

A guy like Jankowski had a massive growth spurt and it seems to me needs some time to develop into his body/coordination. That maybe stretching it (no pun intended) to cut him some slack. IF he starts training like a professional and adding some girth perhaps plays where he is currently being muscled off the puck start to materialize for him. To use a different player, like TT, who may be similar in age but has less physical development to do is IMO wrong headed.

Another case is a guy like Nazem Kadri. He was really written off by people but it seems that as he's matured emotionally his game has gotten back on track. For a guy like Granlund, perhaps this might answer some of his questions. Even though he has produced less than his brother did at the same age, he isn't the same person as his brother. If the talent (hands, hockey sense, skating) are there perhaps he needs to learn how to push himself and stand alone rather than being compared to his brother all the time. I know I'm different personality wise to my brothers.

Now I'm sure this stat has some pedigree of use or it would've be discarded. Assessing the future worth of a player by looking at snapshots during their development stage seems deeply flawed to me. Especially if you are comparing an aggregate vs the individual (n=100 vs n=1).

Another thing to note when assessing Feaster et al is where they drafted their kids. What kind of value are they getting when they draft Gaudreau in the 4th round? If you are successful here you have a much better chance to be good down the road without having to destroy your team (and integrity) to do what? Gamble that you get it right next time (draft and develop all stars)?

The oilers have seemingly a talented group and system. Why aren't they winning or seemingly improving in the standings? Coaching and management.

People seem to love prospects and dream about potential success more than winning. It's a hollow argument for the Flames right now, I know. However, they are overcoming a decade of lost prospects. Feasters regime and prospects need time to start integrating into the lineup. (Baertschi made the jump fast and I think the others are on a good track).

I think if you look historically for any team it's pretty good if one player of a draft class makes your NHL team. Really good if they do it within 3 years of being drafted.

Even if they tore it down, fans would need some patience. Calgary hasn't torn it down but has drafted skilled players yet fans have seemingly no patience for this route. They just hate the current team and management and the only honest answer is they just want change, when they will hate who ever else takes charge. They are just critics, all they ever do is criticize.

Look, I don't like what I see on the ice right now either. However I do like what Feaster is doing and I appreciate how difficult it is given what happened with the past regime. I will have patience with him and his prospects because I think it is steps in the right direction (drafting strategy).

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#41 SmellOfVictory
February 27 2013, 10:01PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

NHLE is very much acknowledged as a limited comparison, but what it does do is normalize scoring ability for league strength in that age range, which helps immensely more than just raw numbers.

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#42 Franko J
February 27 2013, 10:45PM
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I remember at last years draft on the fan 960 Weisbrod, Button and Feaster discussed the power term "synergy". I truly believe they have a plan to improve on our pool of prospects.

For instance, if the organization believes Bärtschi is the future and cornerstone of this franchise then they should be scouting players who can and will compliment his skill set, character, and create possible on ice chemistry.

I am going out on a limb, but I think collectively management will be looking at players with a little more size, grit and sandpaper to their game in this upcoming draft. Hopefully they will draft a center who can win more than 50% of face-offs.

Most importantly I truly believe it doesn't matter where a player is drafted. What is important is how the organization implements strategies to develop and mold each player and how they will best suited to the fit the identity of the team.

For example, NJ and Nashville lose players every year to free agency, but they are always in the playoff picture. Phoenix for all their off ice turmoil, they are polar opposite on the ice. They draft players whose character, personality, and work ethic is directly related to their team.

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#43 Nick T
February 27 2013, 10:47PM
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@Jeff Lebowski

In all fairness before you so easily dismiss some of the pre Feaster prospects such as Brodie, Backlund, Bouma who have developed into pretty nice players with more upside yet to come. using your criteria of 1 player per draft year making your team the 1988-90 period would be fine with the likelihood of someone from the group of Arnold, Reinhart, Ferland all pre-Feaster and having good potential to join the team in the next 2 to 3 years. My main problem is Feaster's infatuation with college players such as Eddy, Olson and other college grads who come in as 22 to 24 year olds and contribute nothing while writing off players like Leach at 20. The Heat are one of the lowest scoring teams and he trades a 23 year old who can score in favour of a 26 guaranteed AHL player with no goals. Given that Baertschi was the highest pick the Flames have had in about 7 years he should be (and I believe is)our best prospect. In my view Feaster is well past his period of grace and has some good results but also many concerns. Just trying to provide some balance to the view.

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#44 Rockmorton65
February 27 2013, 11:00PM
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I'm curious if anyone knows where the Flames organization sees where Brossoit fits in the near future. I dont know too much about him. Is he a candidate to make the team this year? Next? Is he a 5 year project? I read somewhere that he will go pro next year. It makes for some interesting possibilities if he can make the jump. It makes Kipper more expendable if we would be able to go with a Ramo/Brossoit team next season. Re-sign Mcdonald as insurance and I think its an upgrade on what we have now...if Brossoit's ready. If he's not, which of the Flames goaltending "depth" is closest?

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#45 Jeff Lebowski
February 27 2013, 11:14PM
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@Nick T

I agree we haven't seen much from these college guys. However, due to the lack of development pre feaster the team lacks players in that 23-25 range. Where do you get them? Free agents can be costly so if you roll the dice on the Eddy's you might get lucky. Unfortunately, if you don't control these players you have to take what you can get via free agents who want to come here, not to mention every other team is looking too.

If Leach was good enough to stick he would've stuck. I firmly believe Feaster doesn't shed guys because he didn't bring them in. He sheds guys who don't fit what they're trying to do (add something other than grit, which you can obtain on the cheap).

The Wahl move was surprising to me and I'm not so blind that Feaster has made and will make mistakes. If the sum is better then I can live with some misses. No one is perfect and hindsight makes anyone smarter.

I will (and have) admit that the past regime did bring in some promise but I don't include Buoma in that. Brodie and hopefully Backlund. Prior to that I can't think of anyone else. Hence the lack of youngish roster players and feasters college tries.

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#46 FireOnIce
February 27 2013, 11:22PM
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This is a bit off topic, but I don't get why people think Kipper will be traded.

Yeah, no NMC/NTC anymore and his cap hit is very friendly, but he's more or less stated that he will take his ball and go home if that happens. That, being a trade to another team. Why move your family to New Jersey to only make $1.5M, if you could move back to Finland and play goalie for a team you own?

Sure, Tim Thomas got 'traded' so NYI could hit the cap floor. We wouldn't get anything more than a 7th rounder for Kipper, and a low one at that. Teams aren't stupid, they won't trade for a goalie who won't report to camp unless they need the cap hit. In this case, his $1.5M is actually a problem. Catch twenty-two if you will.

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#47 the-wolf
February 28 2013, 06:37AM
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Parallex wrote:

That's a false choice. You're not acknowledging the other possibilities...

1) be as competitive as possible now, but never win anything;

2) be as competitive as possible now, maybe win something.

3) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, be truly competive later.

4) admit you can't win anything now, dip for some time to improve your team, but misfire and never win anything.

As much as the "REBUILD NOW ROAR!!!" crowd might not want to acknowledge it the possibility exists that you can become competative without tanking for top 5 picks and there is no guarentee that if you do that you'll be truly competative later... I mean look at the Oilers... How many Top 10/5 picks in a row (+ Eberle) and they're no better then we are, or the NY Islanders.

I team that doesn't try to win is a team that isn't worth supporting. What's more tanking (beyond being a reprehensible thing to do to your customers) sends a bad message to future potential players.

I'm fine with "money for nothing" trades for picks but throwing away talent for lottery tickets is just the wrong way to go about things.

As an aside if competative means "being in the mix for the Cup" then there are only ever 8 competative teams a year... you can't have 22 teams all tanking for picks every season.

But you can't have your cake and eat it too. A team can stay competitive for along time through different strategies, look at Phiily and Detorit. But you first need that base of talent and success that, to start with at leat, only comes from the draft. Calgary is maxed out in salary, their best players are old and the prospect pool is both shallow and lacking blue chippers. To think that they can compete and rebuild at the same time is a pipe dream.

As for failing, hey, that's life. Any plan has risk and requires the right people to execute it.

As for the Oilers, OK, they're where the Flames are right now. But who has the better upside? They're beside each other, but headed in opposite directions. Another year or two and a couple of smart trades and they should be there (again, proper management required). Calgary, on the other hand, is on the escalator headed down.

Sorry, but this plan of doing both with no proper base of talent has been going for over a decade and the results are plain to see.

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#48 the-wolf
February 28 2013, 06:49AM
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RexLibris wrote:

I could go one of two ways with the Jankowski pick. Your sentiment that it is very responsible of any management group to select a player based on that prospect's long-term potential has absolute merit and I would applaud any group that could put their own immediate concerns aside for the betterment of their organization like that.

My problem with crediting such altruistic intentions to Feaster and Weisbrod is that their messaging to the public is largely at odds with that motive. Yes, they said that Jankowski will be the best player in the draft in five years, and yes there is every likelihood that one or both will have left by that time.

But then why the need to hype the player? Simply say that trading down was the best use of the 1st round pick and the franchise needed to diversify their assets, and by extension their prospect vulnerabilities, and leave it at that. Let Jankowski become what he will become without pulling an Esposito by labeling him the Michael Jordan of Hockey.

From where I sit, how Feaster and Weisbrod drafted, and then hyped, a prospect for whom they may never need be accountable looks more like reckless cowardice than sincere responsibility.

I'm not very supportive of Weisbrod's drafting record, though at this stage it can't be said to be worse than Tod Button's. However, I would hope that Flames fans would hold management's feet to the fire (no pun intended) this spring and summer and expect a higher level of management.

As an aside, I expect significant improvements from the Oilers management immediately, so there is no hypocrisy in that statement.

Simply put, both teams need to be better.

I've posted before about the Janko pick being 'safe' because of the development time required in him. It's win/win. If he works out, obviously that's great. If he doesn't, either Feaster is gone or if he is still here there will be some new shiny bauble to dangle in front of the average fan. In other words, in 5 years, who is going to give a hoot.

How a players is supposed to be the best player in the draft and 5 years away at least is beyond me.

And the PR really bothers me. Not just the 'best player' stuff, but the whole making it sound like they discovered this guy on a lost island or something. The idiotic "we had to brave a blizzard" story. It's all just so much b.s., "We had to trek through the bush with a Native American Mohawk guide and paddle a canoe, uphill both ways of course, but we found this guy and in watching him twice we knew we had the next great superstar." Feaster really drives me crazy with that crap.

My problem with actual selection is that there were other high-end consensus players who are far closer to being ready. The team has few blue chippers and little depth and they pick a guy who is 5 years away!

Maybe he works, maybe he doesn't. Ditto TT. I've never seen either play live so I'm not trying to knock Janko as a player, I really hope he fills these great expectations, it's the strategy that absolutely stumps me.

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#49 negrilcowboy
February 28 2013, 07:45AM
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the-wolf wrote:

I've posted before about the Janko pick being 'safe' because of the development time required in him. It's win/win. If he works out, obviously that's great. If he doesn't, either Feaster is gone or if he is still here there will be some new shiny bauble to dangle in front of the average fan. In other words, in 5 years, who is going to give a hoot.

How a players is supposed to be the best player in the draft and 5 years away at least is beyond me.

And the PR really bothers me. Not just the 'best player' stuff, but the whole making it sound like they discovered this guy on a lost island or something. The idiotic "we had to brave a blizzard" story. It's all just so much b.s., "We had to trek through the bush with a Native American Mohawk guide and paddle a canoe, uphill both ways of course, but we found this guy and in watching him twice we knew we had the next great superstar." Feaster really drives me crazy with that crap.

My problem with actual selection is that there were other high-end consensus players who are far closer to being ready. The team has few blue chippers and little depth and they pick a guy who is 5 years away!

Maybe he works, maybe he doesn't. Ditto TT. I've never seen either play live so I'm not trying to knock Janko as a player, I really hope he fills these great expectations, it's the strategy that absolutely stumps me.

Amen Brother, the used car salesman, or snake oil pitch is absolutely insulting to the knowledgable fan. Janks was an undersized mid round ohl selection, then played high school in canada ya high school instead of at the provincial junior level against tougher comp. The fact that he is touted as the best is borderline hilarity.

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#50 SmellOfVictory
February 28 2013, 09:47AM
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negrilcowboy wrote:

Amen Brother, the used car salesman, or snake oil pitch is absolutely insulting to the knowledgable fan. Janks was an undersized mid round ohl selection, then played high school in canada ya high school instead of at the provincial junior level against tougher comp. The fact that he is touted as the best is borderline hilarity.

He's absolutely a late bloomer, hence his playing in a high school league rather than the CHL. He's not touted as "the best right now"; they believe he has the raw skillset to be the best player ten years down the road. That's a mighty large claim to make, but I have no trouble believing that Weisbrod actually feels that way.

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