Dreaming

Lowetide
October 13 2010 05:08PM

Patience is required in order to let things develop in their own time, especially when it comes to youth. One minute kids are failing again and again, the next minute they've mastered the discipline and moved to a new level. When it comes to predicting hockey players and their futures, patience is a vital part of the plan.

I've noticed  a disturbing trend among the msm early this season. Although patient with the three kids, comments like "it is time for Sam Gagner to step up and I didn't see it tonight" and "this is Gagner's chance and despite the two points he hasn't impressed" have been sliding into our living rooms and vehicles via television and radio.

Deep breath. We need to remember that everyone drafted 2006+ is (or should be) considered a developing player or prospect. Jeff Petry (drafted in 2006) is just starting his pro hockey career, Sam Gagner (drafted in 2007) is 21 years, 2 months old. There are miles to go before the race is run.

If we go back to the beginning, we can re-set the expectations: Gare Joyce, in his wonderful book Future Greats and Heartbreaks:

  • On the morning of the draft, there's all kinds of cross-talk and scuttle-butt about Columbus's plans for the 7th overall pick. One thing is certain: The Blue Jackets would feel much better about their pick if it were sixth, and all the more so at No. 4 or No. 3. The way the Blue Jackets and a lot of other teams see it, there's an elite group of six draft-elgibiles: Patrick Kane, James van Riemsdyk, Kyle Turris, Sam Gagner, Jakub Voracek and Karl Alzner. After this group, there's a significant fall-off. Last year, the Bue Jackets ranked seven players "top 10's." This year, just six made the grade.

A "top ten" was defined early in the book as a possible draft pick who could be a difference maker, someone who could develop into a first line NHL player, maybe an All-Star, definitely someone who can contribute to a winning team.I think we need to place Gagner in that context, a top flight young player who can contribute to a winning team. He certainly helped on October 22, 2009 and he can help this season too. However, we need to be patient with him. Prospects don't develop in parallel lines with past HOFers, they take their own path based on all kinds of factors (including quality of team).

I think this comes from the idea that in being patient with the three kids up front it will fall to others to lead the way. I agree. Shawn Horcoff, Dustin Penner, Ales Hemsky, those men are completely capable of having a consistent impact on the team (positively) pretty much every night. I believe Sam Gagner will get there. But expecting him to develop into that 1line C overnight (as if turning on a switch) is unreasonable.

If "Sam Gagner isn't developing as I hoped" then perhaps you need to examine whether or not your hopes are reasonable. How much of the offense is vanRiemsdyk carrying in Philly? Voracek in Columbus? The Edmonton Oilers have chosen to fast track yet another generation of kids. That's not Sam Gagner's fault. I think he'll continue to develop and should pass the 50-point mark this season. If you're looking for 70 points from him, I'd suggest that is beyond reason. According to nhl.com, exactly 15 centermen had 70 or more points last season, while 43 had 50 or more points.

I think Sam Gagner should end up in that group of men over 50 points this season, but 70 seems a stretch. With that in mind, I think pointing to Gagner after 2 games as an underachiever borders on the ridiculous.

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#151 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 12:27PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Ya, great point. They were further away last year then Gagners rookie year, because of Gagner.

Couldn't have been 500 man games lost and no goaltending.

What about the pevious year were the only long term injury was Vishnovsky, Souray was an All-star and Roloson stood on his head.

Picking and choosing your facts doesn't work with me.

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#152 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 12:29PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

You still aren't getting that you don't subtract to a weakness, you try to add to it.

You don't add you upgrade, big difference.

Closest year to making the playoffs, Gagne was a winger.

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#153 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 12:36PM
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@Lowetide

The last 73 posts were from the same people, you owe us serious royalties!

I will buy you advil with my share

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#154 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 15 2010, 12:40PM
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C-DOG wrote:

What about the pevious year were the only long term injury was Vishnovsky, Souray was an All-star and Roloson stood on his head.

Picking and choosing your facts doesn't work with me.

His first two years the team had 89 and 85 points. It was only last year the wheels fell off.

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#155 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 15 2010, 12:41PM
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C-DOG wrote:

You don't add you upgrade, big difference.

Closest year to making the playoffs, Gagne was a winger.

He played wing and center.

It's a ways back, but I believe he was C when they had the most success in the last 35 games or so.

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#156 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 12:44PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

He played wing and center.

It's a ways back, but I believe he was C when they had the most success in the last 35 games or so.

Wrong, Cog's was the centre Nillson was on l.w. Those my friend are FACTS!

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#157 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 15 2010, 12:53PM
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C-DOG wrote:

Wrong, Cog's was the centre Nillson was on l.w. Those my friend are FACTS!

Well he took 300 FO, so he had to spend a fair amount of time at center.

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#158 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 12:54PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

His first two years the team had 89 and 85 points. It was only last year the wheels fell off.

Considering the injuries in his rookie year thats still a significant drop off, injuries or not still a down trend, and most people beleive even with the injuries last year they still don't make the playoffs and finish below 85-89 points.

Just like 99% of people don't think he's a #1 centre like you do.

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#159 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 12:58PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Well he took 300 FO, so he had to spend a fair amount of time at center.

Maybe p.p when Horcoff was injured for the last 30 games and the faceoffs in the right hand faceoff circle when playing with Cog's, But positionaly he never played it. That's a FACT! Mac-T wanted to shelter him and then in the following season Mac-T said he wants him to play centre because that way he keeps his feet moving, more Facts.

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#160 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
October 15 2010, 01:33PM
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C-DOG wrote:

Maybe p.p when Horcoff was injured for the last 30 games and the faceoffs in the right hand faceoff circle when playing with Cog's, But positionaly he never played it. That's a FACT! Mac-T wanted to shelter him and then in the following season Mac-T said he wants him to play centre because that way he keeps his feet moving, more Facts.

I like how you keep capitalizing FACT, after beeing so lite on facts you must be so proud to actually have a couple.(even though you haven't posted proof I'll still take your word)

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#161 C-DOG
October 15 2010, 02:45PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

I like how you keep capitalizing FACT, after beeing so lite on facts you must be so proud to actually have a couple.(even though you haven't posted proof I'll still take your word)

Thanks man.

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