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12-12-2012, 10:40 AM
kirant's Avatar
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Originally Posted by Chapin Landvogt View Post
It seems like almost every year in recent times, the Islanders have taken an offensively-oriented junior Dman (often an overager) with a late round pick.

For example:
- Jared Spurgeon, 19, 6th rounder, Spokane 12-31-43 +36 his draft year 2008
- Tony DeHart, 20, 5th rounder, Oshawa 10-40-50 -23 his draft year
- Brenden Kichton, 19, 5th rounder, Spokane, 23-58-81 +55 his draft year 2011
- Jesse Graham, 18, 6th rounder, Niagara, 4-37-41 +25 his draft year 2012

Of them, Spurgeon has become an NHLer, Dehart an ECHLer, Kichton a very overage WHLer and Graham is in the midst of a personally difficult 3rd year with Niagara. Heck, in 2009 they also took a big unknown Russian kid in the 4th or 5th round named Klementyev and brought him over immediately (that expirement has quickly come to pass despite a few promising things his first season).

Anyhow, seeing as how you've probably seen both Spurgeon and Kichton in the course of time, how would you compare the two? Is Spurgeon simply much better? Is his making the NHL actually a bit of a surprise? Are they somewhat similar when all is said and done? Are they completely different?

Would you actually feel Kichton is the better of the two?

Do you think Kichton is worth an ELC?

Would appreciate any info if you should feel like responding.
I think they're pretty similar in many regards. They're both semi-fast and rely on instinct and vision more than size. Spurgeon relies more on a better shot in the, though his goal scoring numbers aren't as sexy in his WHL stint, they'll translate better.

One key difference is that, while Kichton is a bigger player, he doesn't play bigger than he is. Simply put, Spurgeon does. Therefore the size difference matters little to me as they both act as if they are about the same size.

Kichton seems a little more offensively geared of the two while Spurgeon is a better in-zone defender. In general terms, I'd trust Kichton to quarterback a powerplay, while I wouldn't question decisions to have Spurgeon play on both the PP and PK. Kichton's play is certainly a little bit closer to Rafalski in style (honestly, I can't think of a better comparable than that...not to say he'll be as GOOD as him, but that patterns in their movement and style are similar).

In NHL potential, I would have never thought Spurgeon would make it as far as he has. Though you always get a few players like that, who exceed each and every expectation you set out. Kichton is likely to make the NHL in my mind, but to a lower level (bottom pairing, given time on PP). He'll be hit hard because everything will be ramped up, so those "good" level skills I defined in my first post will probably become less prominent as he has to keep up with the best of the world (I say probably because I would have put the same labels on Spurgeon, had you asked me back then). While Spurgeon played above and beyond where his numbers pointed, I think you'll see Kichton drop down from what his scoring numbers indicate. For a best case scenario, I think you would want to pair him with a player with a good shot as I'm still not convinced he'll ever be a goal scoring threat himself. My though is that he'll top out as a bottom 3 guy with good power play vision. Then again, I've been wrong before. I'm just really bad at projecting some of these smaller, more skill oriented D.

There is no doubt in my mind that he's worth an ELC. I would suspect that, given the Islander's defensive situation, they would have loved him in Bridgeport this year. Next season, provided this one is a scratch, I see him either playing top 3 in Bridgeport or playing #5-7 in New York. Given Wang's penchant for hiding money in large ELCs, I could see either happen, though the best place for his development would be a stint in Bridgeport to get used to faster and bigger players.

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