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03-24-2011, 05:55 PM
Smith - Alfie
Join Date: Jul 2009
Originally Posted by
I generally agree with avoiding a small sample size assessment. BUT, I also believe that you can very quickly assess a players "physical tools" - size, skating, puck handling, speed of decision making.
These are those god-given characteristics that are difficult to improve upon dramatically -- especially after a certain age.
Some people really don't see tools when they watch a young player. They see how plays turn out, focus on the results and assess based on that. To me those are the people who are fooled and make bad assessments after small sample sizes.
Personally, I like to think I can tell whether a player will be an "impact" player in the NHL after watching just one or two games. Similarly I think almost anyone can tell a guy who has no chance to stick in the league very quickly.
It's the in-between guys who are tougher, the ones who could be good solid NHLers or could end up being lifetime AHLers... too close to call. For those guys, you probably need a half season before you really can make up your mind.
And I think Weircioch clearly falls into that category.
But most of those who were writing O'Brien off had never seen him play, and were just going based on stats in Bingo. Which is fine, but it is quite different from seeing a guy play his first NHL game and picking apart the flaws in that game.
Filling out and getting stronger is something that will obviously happen if he trains - happens to every guy in his early twenties.
Improving his foot speed is a bigger question mark, especially since the "filling out" will tend to make him slower, not faster.
On top of foot speed I think he just generally needs to improve his skating -- not his top end speed, but his ability to stop, start, turn, etc.. This is something Spezza had to work on in his early years in the league, and I think most tall guys struggle with it.
Agree, especially with the bolded.
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