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10-31-2008, 01:43 PM
Qui Gon Dave
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I find it interesting that some people are throwing Carle's name above Valentenko's on the depth chart, especially taking last season into consideration.

We haven't even seen Carle really settle in the AHL yet IMO. Carle had a tough time last season, missing a lot of the early games through injury which forced him to adapt to the AHL in mid-season, when everyone else (pretty much) was up to speed, both as individuals and as teams. He showed some great flashes of skill and awareness with the puck, both going forward and when set up in the offensive zone. But does anyone else remember some of the mistakes he made last year? I know in the old 'rookie Dman' Vs Brisebois/Dandenault debate, there is the arguement that at least a rookie has time to learn and correct their mistakes, and of course, at his age, he has a lot of time to develop. But people talking about the next Dman in line for Montreal and citing Carle? Come on. Experience or not, those mistakes won't fly in Montreal unless it is clear that he is being used in a role that asks more of him then we should reasonably expect. After half a season last year, he still struggled in his own zone and that was in the AHL. Carle should not see NHL ice time until he proves something in Hamilton that benefits his team in their own end, regularly. He needs time and opportunity to do that, so calling him up should not be an option unless we have a severe lack of depth on D at some point. Let him play the AHL a while, he needs it until proven otherwise.

As for Valentenko, he started his first few games in the AHL last year poorly as well. But after about 2 months of action, he'd cut most mistakes out of his game. After about 4 months, he was rock solid at the back and helped put the odd few points on the board. He had a slight decline in play towards the end of the year, but when half the team as good as gives up once they are denied a playoff spot, it's hard to focus the blame on a 20 year old rookie who has travelled half way around the world to adapt to a new style of hockey.

I didn't see much pre-season action so I can't comment on that, I'll leave that for others to detail. By consensus, he wasn't good. But I don't see why people are getting on his case for his 4 games in the AHL this year. He wasn't at his best, there were a few mistakes present in his game, but he was hardly bad/awful. He looked like a young kid trying to get his rhythm back, but he had some positive moments that all seem to have been conveniently forgotten. Not to mention, he may well have been playing while knowing that all was not well at home.

The LD/RD arguement has some value, but I think someone earlier said it should be on a case by case basis, which seems fair to me. Seeing as we don't have the opportunity to see these guys tried out of their comfort zone unless it happens in a match, it's hard to call. But it should be considered. The style of play arguement is important though. Tank can shoot almost as well as Carle/Weber, probably harder though. He can't move the puck up ice as well as they can. He has his moments making great passes, but the other two are clearly better. But along the boards? In front of the net? Defending a 2 on 1? Making the Dogs zone a place where other teams forwards watch where they skate? I'll take Tank for those jobs any day of the year anyone can name until the other two show me something to make me change my mind. Based on this years play or lastyears. Weber is starting to look better in his own zone, but hasn't been overly tested. Carle was a mixture of average/occasionally brutal in his own zone in his first game of the year, but he needs time to get used to being back on the ice in game situations.

Team needs would likely have played a big part in who would have gotten the next call up on D. But people counting out Pavel on the basis of a few pre-season games makes no sense to me whatsoever.

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