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07-02-2008, 08:44 AM
The downward spiral
Join Date: Jan 2004
Originally Posted by
I think you inadvertantly supported my point.
Hartnell and Upshall were 'safe' picks with moderate upside but well-rounded games. They had moderate updsides for
overall picks. But let's not mistake that with the thought that they would be third line grinders coming from that draft position.
Despite being drafted 6th overall, third line grinder was exactly what Hartnell was when he left the Predators. Simply put, he never progressed into a good pointscorer, which he was certainly drafted to do. If you would have told Poile that drafting Hartnell would have meant zero seasons where he scored 50 points or more, Poile would have politely passed on him.
But this isn't to say that he didn't show flashes of brilliance. At the ripe old age of 23, Hartnell had a 25 goal, 48 point season that looked like a sign of things to come. Predators fans could certainly see a 30 goal, 60 points season on the horizon, which was about what was expected from him when he was drafted. Yet he regressed the following season and looked even worse in Philly. Oh, and for the well-rounded, rugged, scorer with good leadership skills that he was supposed to be when he was drafted, he left as a 40-45 point per game guy with mediocre defensive abilities, a penchant for terrible penalties, and a physical game that often fell silent when he left the Predators after 6 years under Trotz.
Similar to Hartnell, though I think he was considered to have more offensive upside due to better hands and much better skating, this guy was to be the upgrade to Scott Walker. Yet he was basically an AHLer when he was traded to the Flyers. But, like Hartnell, Upshall showed flashes of brilliance. He was one of the Predators most efficient point producers in '05/'06 where he scored 24 points in very limited ice time at the age of 22. Despite that performance, he was never able to be a regular contributor to the Predators after that. Eventually leaving to the Flyers where in his first 79 games there, he had 20 goals and 23 assists, far better than the rest of his NHL career combined. And now he's back to showing signs of being exactly what we could sorely use right now.
Like the previous two, Hall came to us with the expectation that he would be a well-rounded, physical player. And he completely lived up to those expectations in his first year with the Preds. He had the makings of being a solid borderline second/third liner for us. Yet, much like the other two, despite a solid season around the age of 22/23, he never progressed as a player beyond that. He eventually left the Predators as a bad skating, stone handed winger/center with very little physicality. He's now a 4th liner.
Just like all three, Arkhipov peaked at 22 with the Predators. He had a great 20 goal campaign despite playing for a defensive first team in limited minutes. And he never progressed from there. He actually regressed to the point where he's barely better in the RSL than when he left 8 years ago.
This one almost got caught in the tractor beam as well. If it wasn't for two seasons ago, you could argue that he peaked at age 22 as well with his 17 goal, 48 point performance. But, unlike the rest of the guys, he was able to pull out of it even if it did take him 4 years to best those numbers. But, just like the aforemenionted quartet, he failed to live up to either the expectations set upon him the first time he put on a Preds jersey for an NHL game or the expectations set upon him by his first 'breakout' season. Who would have thought that 10 years after having drafted the most dynamic scoring "draft eligible" player in the OHL, he would have only once crested 20 goals OR 50 points?
Now, each one of these guys is responsible for his own actions, and Trotz is not entirely to blame. But the similarities in their careers is too much to just ignore and pass off to "they never had the upside to begin with." They clearly showed their talents with breakout seasons at the age of 22/23.
The common denominator in each one of these frustrating stories is Barry Trotz. Sure, maybe they would have all busted out regardless of the NHL coach. But maybe Trotz had a part in it. Maybe there's a reason why only two forwards who've had ANY formative years under Trotz have ever gone on to score 60 points in a season while still under his tuteledge:
Scott Walker -67 points - 2003/2004
David Legwand - 63 points - 2006/2007
wow, well said sir. here here!
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