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12-14-2012, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ABasin View Post
See, here's the leap of faith that I have difficulty navigating sometimes. A lot of times, young players do improve. No question. However, just because players are 21, does not in and of itself mean that they will improve by age 27, or more to the point, that they will markedly improve. In fact, they may regress. The Avs own recent history shows this.

In early 2006, the Avs had 3 pretty exciting young forwards named Stastny, Wolski, and Svatos - aged 20, 20, and 24 - who were very nicely productive offensive players - Stastny and Wolski were rookies who put up points, and Svatos was coming off a 32 goal season. Those players are now 26, 26, and 30. How many of those three 'got better' between then and now? Not only are none of them 'better', I believe all three regressed between those ages and now, two of them markedly so (yes, I understand Svatos had injuries). If Stastny hasn't regressed, he certainly hasn't gotten much better either. He's simply been the same.

So, just coming to the sweeping conclusion that young players will improve through osmosis leaves a lot of open space for error, IMO.
I understand what you're saying but in the case of Svatos, he was 24 and not between 18-21 when he started. We was a good goalscorer but did every Avs fan seriously consider him an untouchable part of the core? I'm not so sure. He was a nice player who had a knack for finding the back of the net...the rest of his game, yeesh...wasn't anything to write home about.

For Wolski, I had extremely high hopes for this guy, I thought he was finally putting it all together when he was traded and it's been all downhill since then. Extremely talented - poor drive/motivation/work ethic. He's part of that 20% that doesn't improve and goes downhill. Was interested to see how he was going to do in Washington this year, would be surprised if anything changed though.

For Stastny, I actually believe that he can be that player again and more. We'll see.

But again, I guess I wasn't really clear. The guys that I'm SPECIFICALLY talking about here are our CORE, specifically: Johnson, Varlamov, Duchene, O'Reilly, Landeskog and Stastny.

All of these players made their NHL debuts between the ages of 18-21 AND not only did they make the NHL, they played a pivotal role on the team at that age. So, top-6 forward, top pairing d-man, starting goaltender (playoffs for Varly).

I'd also like to mention that it's NOT just all about points. Did Joe Nieuwendyk suddenly regress after his 50+goal 100+point rookie season? Or did he learn different and more important aspects of the game (DEFENSE) that ended up making him a key component of what 3 Stanley Cups?! THIS is what I'm talking about guys. As I alluded to with the Yzerman and Spezza references, sure those guys put up points but it wasn't until they 'bought-in' to what their coaches were trying to drive through their heads that they needed them to be great defensively AS WELL!

Usually, that kind of stuff doesn't show up on the scoresheet. But if you keep ignoring it, you'll end up on the bench.

Players like RoR who just seem to understand this concept from the 'get-go' are the rare exceptions...generally, especially for players like Duchene who have played full-out offense from the first time they laced up skates until their final year of junior, it just takes longer for them to buy-in.

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