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06-08-2012, 11:17 PM
glovesave_35's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: South Korea
Country: United States
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I know this is an HF article but I feel like this thread is redundant when we already have the prospects thread...

At 6-7, one would expect more in the way of truculence, but Oleksiak is predominantly docile, even in post-whistle shenanigans. It doesn't appear as if anyone can generate much of a rise in Oleksiak – at least not regularly – but on the flip side, he plays a clean and efficient game. He only took two minor penalties in the entire OHL playoffs – both stick fouls.
There are so many ways to interpret this kind of comment. Calling a player "docile" is one thing but then to go on and say "even in post-whistle shenanigans" it gets sort of muddled. I don't have a problem with a team's rock solid defenseman not taking himself out of commission for god knows how long just so he can put his glove in someone's face. That's entirely different than saying a player, especially a big defenseman, avoids physical play. If it's a lack of competitive drive then I'd be worried; I don't get the impression that's an issue though.

This seems to be a criticism directed toward a lot of big young defensemen. Does anybody remember what Chara's game was like in juniors? Some guys seem to want to work on the tertiary elements of their game and once they have those down feel more comfortable playing up to the physical level expected out of a big man. When you're 6-7, 250 lbs you don't really need to go out of your way to be physical. If he takes it up a notch later on all the better. If he's a bigger, slightly more offensively talented, better version of Grossman then so be it. Not worried about Oleksiak at all.

On another topic, is anyone else getting excited about Ritchie? At the development camp I saw him at he looked damn good, especially in the offensive oriented drills; kid has a good shot that reminded me a little of an 18 year old Jamie Benn. But this development of his checking game, while not sexy, is really just a huge plus in my mind. It seems he's worked himself into that "should be at least an NHL role player" level of prospect with power forward upside. We need more guys like him who aren't all offensively oriented scoring forwards but who also have a little bite to their game.

I can't help but be generally positive when thinking about the state of our farm system, which is partly why I think the next Texas Stars head coach is one of the more important decisions to be made over the last four or five years.

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