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01-22-2005, 11:16 AM
  #50
NFITO
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mooseOAK
Wellwood's skating is just fine.

He doesn't have patience with whining players that won't compete, like Steve Sullivan. It has nothing to with how big they are. He can't get by with a lot of small players in the eastern conference because the games are more physical. The western conference is far better suited to guys like Sullivan and McCauley.
The eastern conference has it's share of smaller players too... for every Sullivan you have a St. Louis that didn't make it in the West, but developed in the East... or Samsonov etc.....

but like I said before, Quinn was very clear that he didn't give small players a lot of chances when he was with Vancouver... the only guy that made it here that played a small player's game was Ronning, and he was a success offensively right from the start.

that's just my experience following Quinn, and he hasn't done anything differently in Toronto that makes me think otherwise. Until he proves differently, I have a feeling that Wellwood won't get many chances to prove himself in Toronto... maybe he comes in and makes an impact right away, in which case Quinn will be fine with him... but if he doesn't - like most young players - than chances are that he gets shipped out.

And it's not that uncommon for most GMs to think this way - not just Quinn.

From all the smaller players mentioned in this thread, nearly all of them were moved to another team (or 2 or 3) before they finally established themselves... in almost every single case, such players take time to develop their NHL games, and their original teams move them before they get a chance with that organization... an exception is Samsonov, but he was also a top 10 pick in his draft year and is a guy that has a higher offensive ceiling than Wellwood does.

This isn't all that surprising. Smaller players usually take longer to develop, and the team that has their rights have tough choices to make, since historically a high percentage of such players don't make it. With the NHL rules of protecting 12 forwards from waivers, it becomes tough for teams to continue developing such players on their NHL squads... larger players get more of a chance because they can usually slide onto the 3rd or 4th units to continue their development there, and aren't such a liability playing that role.

A player like Wellwood is though... he either makes it as a top 6, or doesn't make it - which means that by the time he is no longer waiver exempt, he needs to earn himself a top 6 spot - even tougher on a team like Toronto that seems to always load up on free agents and run with a veteran team.

It's just not as simple as a coach having patience either, without taking into consideration the team that he coaches... Toronto is a tough place to give a kid a chance that has to have a top 6 spot.

Having said that, Wellwood still has a while before waiver egilibity kicks in... and maybe Toronto finally decides it's time to go in a younger direction given the number of vets on that team that are close to done, although Toronto hasn't shown they are a team that is ready to go into a rebuilding route just yet, and depending on the new CBA rules, they could very well replace those outgoing vets with new free agent signings.

Anyways, this debate doesn't seem to be going anywhere, so I guess we just have to agree to disagree here... history though, and the rules for protected lists, and previous development of young players just doesn't point to the chances of a guy like Wellwood cracking it with the Leafs lineup, if and when he does crack the NHL fulltime.

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