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04-25-2008, 07:26 PM
Qui Gon Dave
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Originally Posted by ForzaHabs View Post
Valentenko and Yemelin although being gifted lack that 1st pass ability.
I wouldn't underrate Valentenko's passing ability just yet. He just finished his first season in North America and showed some encouraging signs in a range of aspects of his game. On the issue of making the first pass, from his own zone, he is a little inconsistent IMO. He can make some very nice passes (although they rarely tend to be of the kind that spring a forward through the other team) but sometimes his aim is off. Further up the rink, in the offensive zone and especially when on the power play, he is capable of some excellent passes. It wasn't a staple of his game this past year, but on enough occasions for my liking, he showed an ability to distribute the puck with an uncanny sense of accuracy, timing and awareness. The following comparison doesn't apply outright due to player styles and level of competition, but some of the kids passes this year were Markov-esque. He made a handful of seriously heads-up, are you kidding, did he just do that? passes.

While he may not ever get close to Markov's skills and efficiency in the NHL (time will tell), he gave me reason enough to believe that given time to fit into the NHL, his passing game won't be a major concern. There is no sense in trying to put a limit to his game just yet. The kid has all around skills. He has age on his side. He is surrounded by people who are showing/have shown an ability to develop talent. And for those doubting how much he cares about the NHL/Habs/Stanley Cup, he is a Habs fan. He wants to play for us. If he blocks a point blank slapshot with his head, with a minute left in a game his team leads by 4 goals in the minor leagues, imagine what he could do when he is living his dream. There are lots of questions about his game and how it could translate to the NHL. But for now, in my opinion, it is premature to say he lacks anything other than experience.

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