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10-30-2012, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Loffer View Post
Yes, I use the word "slump" loosely here, almost tongue in cheek. More seriously, variation or not, he is sliding in the scoring. But if he can keep up with PPG, it's good for a 17 years old. The red hot start made it look too easy.
I will agree that his early season pace was clearly unsustainable. I mean, he had 8 points in his first 4 games, 2 PPG over that small span, and no 17 year old has ever put up 1+ PPG in the SM-liiga. At the same time I'm sure nobody expected him to sustain that pace, it was just 4 games.

I think Barkov will probably fall a bit below 1 PPG by the end of the season, but he's still a virtual lock to have one of the best seasons ever by a 17 year old in the SM-liiga. Not only some of the best production ever, but also a very rare role on his team, being the guy they lean on in all situations (ES, SH and on the PP).

The last SM-liiga player to have similar tools to Barkov was Mikko Koivu. Both are/were big centres with very high hockey IQs, lots of 2-way ability, but not a tonne of flash or explosiveness. Koivu spent his draft year split between juniors and the SM-liiga, and in his time in the SM-liiga he put up 0 goals and 1 assist in 21 games, but he still went 6th overall (albeit in a weaker draft year than this one). After being drafted Koivu spent 3 more seasons in Finland, and put up 7 points in 48 games, then 20 points in 30 games, then 30 points in 45 games. I'm just trying to put into context how impressive Barkov's accomplishments this year are, and how 3 games without a point is nothing to be too worried about.

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