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02-22-2010, 11:49 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Ah, HF... the only place where youth automatically equals potential. If I hear the "but he's X years younger" argument one more time I'm going to have to break something. Yes, Staal outscored Kesler at similar ages, but can we look at the facts a little?
Their first season in the NHL: Staal 15 minutes per game - Kesler 10 minutes per game (Kesler with no powerplay time)
Second season: Staal 18 minutes - Kesler 14 minutes (almost triple the powerplay time for Staal)
Third season: Staal 20 minutes - Kesler 16 minutes (double the powerplay time for Staal)
Staal played with Malkin (85 points) and Ouellet (48 points) in his rookie year. Kesler played with Keane (17 points) and May (11 points).
The difference in scoring is nothing more than the difference in roles they played. Kesler played largely a 4th line role in his beginning to the NHL, with little scoring opportunity, while Staal started as a 3rd liner and quickly established himself on the second line and a regular on the powerplay. This means nothing more than Staal was ready for a larger role earlier in his career than Kesler was. It is indeed impressive, but it certainly doesn't have any bearing on who is going to be the better player in their prime.
Is it perfectly logical to think that Staal can pass Kesler offensively? Most certainly so, but not because of what they accomplished earlier in their careers. I'm not saying one is better than the other, just that this "he's younger so he's going to be better" thing should really end.
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