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03-21-2008, 05:43 PM
Quiet Robert
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Originally Posted by lou4gehrig View Post
Here is a list of some notable power fowards and the number of AHL games they played.

Doan 39
Andrechuk 0
Bertuzzi 0
Leclair 8
Iginla 0
Shanahan 0
Pyatt 27
Morrow 0
Nash 0
Ryan Malone 3 (even though he was a 4th rounder)
Kevin Stevens 0 (even though he was a 6th rounder)
Tocchet 0 (even though he was a 6th rounder)

On the other hand, even a player like Brett Hull played 67 games in the AHL and Kostitsyn played 170 games there.

There is a strong precedence that players who are strong enough to play in the NHL like Lats, don't play in the minors.
I think I others just got owned on this, but I think I can mount some kind of counter argument to this. But those are some good stats on that one LG.

The thing I would counter with is that there's quite a mix of guys you put there. Those who were exceptional talents (Shanahan, Iginla and Nash) were known commodities and were sure-fire bets to excel in the NHL. Not the case with Lats and some of the other guys.

More important are those other guys because they are the ones closer to Lats. (Doan, Stevens, Bertuzzi, LeClair and Morrow) The guys who weren't surefire superstars and needed to work on a few things in their game. All of them had longer junior or NCAA careers and entered the NHL later than Lats and all of them did spent a few weeks in the minors, either IHL or in Doan's case AHL.

Would that have made a difference with Lats? Is a 2-4 week spell in the AHL a magical cure for all young players? Is his development hurt by the fact that he made the jump directly and only plays 12 mins a game? Who knows. But all the guys comparable (in one way or another) to Lats spent more time against kids their age and spent a few weeks in the minors before becoming full time NHLers. To me that's quite a noteworthy caveat to the list of zero AHL games played list.

Though in general I think you're correct in saying stronger players don't need ~2 years in the AHL to learn the pro-game.

Overall I think what people want is for Lats to excel in the NHL. But I think they also want to see a linear development. Guys like Pleks, Kost, Higgins, Komisarek etc...came along slowly but showed signs every year of getting better and better. They learned how to play complete games and when they were ready they stepped into the NHL with few difficulties.

Lats on the other hand is all over the place. He goes through spurts. The first 20 games he looked like he didn't belong in the NHL. The next 20 games he looked like a future top 6 player. The next 20 games he was again not showing much. Lately he's been playing well. Obviously young players are going to be inconsistent, but I think the main concern people have with Lats is that this wild inconsistency and lack of playing time could hurt his confidence and his long term development.

Finally, I'd really like to hear Pierre Maguire's take on this. He's the leading advocate for Lats spending a little time in the minors and these kinds of stats may be worth him looking over.

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