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12-09-2012, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by PocketNines View Post
The whole thing with Schwartz is his extremely advanced hockey IQ. It's better than the other two by a fair margin. Not saying the other two don't have it; it's just Schwartz' defining characteristic. It's what separates him from the pack, and it's what separates good from great NHLers. Not saying Schwartz will be a great NHLer. In fact, he might not succeed at all. But if he succeeds, it's because of this aspect. His adjustment is all in the physicality and ability to handle defensive responsibilities. If he becomes at least adequate in these areas, he'll be a productive NHLer, possibly even a great player.

Rattie has good hockey IQ and an insane shot. He's also 6' and will eventually fill out. I could see him being a streaky winger at the NHL level. Put him on the right line and he'll produce. But he probably won't be his line's linchpin at the next level. I do think he's ultra competitive and like his chances to make it. Have a great feel about his attitude. Almost Perron-like.

Jaskin is more curious to me. It's obvious that he can dominate smaller and (mostly) younger players in the Q. When he played with men he didn't do this, but he's still in the middle of developing and kids aren't supposed to dominate men so it's no shame. Still, despite being larger than the average player, he won't ever have that pure physical edge in the NHL against so many towering defensemen (defensive corps are getting bigger and bigger by the year). Confidence is the key. If he can taste success level by level, he'll stick. If he stalls out when he hits a higher league with bigger players I could see him not making an NHL impact at all.

All in all, three very different players who rely on entirely different strengths. Schwartz that special hockey IQ, Rattie that special snap-laser-accurate shot, and Jaskin through a physical edge that allows him puck possession time to make something happen. Each of these strengths is clearly elite among their age group peers, but each has potential issues that could prevent those skills from translating at the next level. If one of these guys turns out to be as good as we hope, it'll be a boon to the Blues. If it's two guys, given the core and a player like Pietrangelo being a career anchor that'll always get the team into the playoffs, the Blues will be perennial threats. If they all three develop (definite longshot), we are looking at a possible multi-Cup cycle of Blues hockey. I don't even mean if they all develop and stay with the Blues we might not have that much room on the wings but I trust Armstrong to shuffle his organizational assets to turn one or more of these guys into something impactful in trade.
Very well said... Totally 100% agree.

Please don't take it as a slight that I mention Tony Currie or Michel Mongeau. It is not. Both could have been special players. Go back and watch footage and read scouting reports. Very familiar. I do think Schwarz could be special. If he is playing like Mongeau at 19, then he can grow into the player we hoped Mongeau could be. We haven't had that perennial 40-50 assist guy as a forward. Don't really have it now. Mongeau could create opportunities with the puck, but he got where he shyed away from the contact and disappeared away from the puck. If Schwartz didn't have the puck, then you didn't notice him in his initial cup of coffee. Not a slight, he's a kid and for once nearly all the players on both rosters are as good and strong as he is. He has to figure out how to adjust his skill set.

Currie could flat out find away to score, just not often enough to be elite. He was a good offensive forward... I remember a game at the old arena where he simply undressed two defenders and roofed it. He had some skills. If Rattie figures out how to create enough space for himself to use his shot, then he may have 25 30 goals written all over him. This year, he seems to be picking up the rest of his game too. Hopefully, he continues to develop and play a complete game at the next level.

Both will have to work extra hard to be mentally and physically aware of their defensive assignments, because both are naturally more focused, gifted, and skilled on offense. For that matter early in Brett Hull's career he scored tons, but was still a minus player and defensive liability. Later in his career, he rounded out the rest of his game. If Brett Hull did not put up points early in his career, then he would have been the AHL's all time leading goal scorer. Mongeau didn't put up enough points at the NHL level to compensate for his defense, hence he has some ridiculous minor league numbers.

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