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03-23-2011, 04:01 PM
Jeff Goldblum
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Originally Posted by SteelTownFever View Post
Maybe and maybe not. If they are too good for the competition they are facing, then they could also develop bad habits.
I've heard this, but can you find me an instance of a player's development stagnating because he spent too much time in a Junior league? I honestly can't think of one, but I can think of plenty who suffered from leaving Juniors too soon.

But being the go to guy has nothing to do with developing as a player. Either you are producing or you aren't. Just because there is somebody better on their team doesn't take away from that.
This is kind of like saying Kris Letang didn't benefit from being the Captain of his WJC team. I just don't agree with it. The benefits are less physical and more mental, but they are there in regard to both. Again, you get to work on weaknesses while maintaining strengths and you get the swagger that comes with knowing how to carry a team.

Certainly there are pluses to being a go to guy, I never said otherwise. Will that be a reason why a guy succeeds at the NHL level or not? Maybe and maybe not again. It all depends on the player and the kind of person they are. Maybe, playing devil's advocate, getting added pressure will make the kid feel like he has to do too much and hurt his progression.
That happens too. Almost everything happens in prospect development. That won't be the case with Kuehnhackl though. Windsor likes winning and Khokhlachev isn't NHL-ready. I don't follow junior hockey close enough to know how Windsor is looking for next season though.

Who's rushing him into the AHL? It's not me. If he's going to be there, it's because he stands to gain more from playing against greater competition. Who's to say he hasn't learned all he can at that level anyway? Maybe he would benefit more by learning our system and getting taught by our minor league coaches.
Kuehnhackl isn't a finished product at the Junior level. People that have watched him are the ones saying it. His skating is sub-par. He could use more muscle. He could benefit from becoming a better playmaker. These are his present weaknesses and the first two especially are just going to be all the more exposed at the AHL level.

Just proving a point that being the go to guy doesn't always mean your player turns out better.
There is a huge difference between a player's junior abilities and his NHL prospects that you are ignoring. That's the difference between Taylor Hall and Justin Azevedo.

The point is it happens. Again though, I'm not advocating him be moved along faster than he's capable. If he proves he is better than junior hockey, then so be it. I'm certainly not going to send him back there just because he hasn't been a go to guy yet. That's a good way to hold back your prospects as well.
Is this a theoretical discussion or a discussion of what's best for Kuehnhackl? He has not proven himself better than junior hockey, but I agree that when top six prospects do prove themselves to be too good for junior hockey and will be able to hold top six spots in the AHL, they should move on.

You're hung up on one term. 'Go-to guy' doesn't necessarily mean he has to be the best player on his team, just that they are elite, counted on to be elite every night, and a big part of that team's success.

He also didn't have the option to go to the AHL. What I'm certain of is the fact that the Pens will make the best decision for his development. Whether that is back in junior or in the AHL will be determined by how well he plays in camp, not because he needs to be a go to guy somewhere.
Well, no, it won't. Most of these prospects' paths are already pretty much mapped out. Camp is a nice experience, but this season means a lot more in determining who goes where and who is ready for what. Camp can change minds and force management's hand, but that's up to the players. Our scouts have already figured out who is likely to go where. They need to know this so they know who to go after on July 1st.

One final factor that I'd like to add is that a player's contract does not kick in until he plays professionally. In the cap world, an entry-level contract is gold. Delaying that contract one year while having the player still develop makes it a smart decision financially.

To be clear, if Kuehnhackl takes power-skating lessons while simultaneously adding 15 pounds over the summer and earns a first line spot in WBS, that's fine. That's an unreasonable expectation but weirder things have happened. Barring that, Kuehnhackl still has a lot to learn at the Junior level. Wilkes-Barre is always a deep team and he'll likely have trouble even cracking the line-up. There are a lot of older wingers like Tangradi and both Johnsons that I'm sure management would prefer to give the opportunity to.

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