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01-07-2013, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Beacon View Post
Who should they be ahead of? In particular Noreau... should he be ahead of McIlrath? Miller? Who? Even Thomas and Fast are clearly superior prospects due to both having significantly higher potential. Both have the potential to be above average top-6 RWs. Noreau's potential is still as a third pairing defenseman.

Noreau is a downgraded version of McIlrath. He scored .1 more points per game this year than McIlrath did last year (comparing them at the same age), but he doesn't skate as well as McIlrath (though Noreau isn't terrible), doesn't fight as well (though Noreau is also very good) and doesn't carry the puck as well (neither of them will be a puck mover in the pros).

I see The Undertaker as someone who's at a minimum a third paring defenseman and a likely second pairing one, with a shot to be a first pair guy like Beukeboom. I see Noreau as a guy whose uttermost ceiling is as a #4 blueliner, but who's most likely going to be somewhere between a #6 NHLer and a #3 AHLer.

That said, if we have McIlrath on one pairing and Noreau on another, I don't envy any opposing player who decides to take liberties with our goalie or skill players.
Pure talent isn't necessarily the best indicator who makes it to the NHL. What I always look for is steady improvement. The minors are full of players who tore up juniors, but hit a wall as pros. When a young player, especially one with abundant scoring ability, takes a step backwards, it doesn't bode well for his future as an NHLer. In particular, Christian Thomas had a much poorer season as a 19 year old in juniors than as an 18 year old. As a pure scorer, he is not exactly tearing it up in his first AHL season either. Granted he's only 20, and I am not giving up on him yet. But it's not a good sign for someone who projects as a top 6 scoring forward. I see him as a career minor leaguer, like a Marc-Andre Cliche.

Noreau is about as different from Thomas as a player can get, but what I like about him is that he's continued to improve from the moment he was drafted. No, I certainly don't see him ever as a top pairing defenseman, but players like Matt Carkner, John Erskine & even Stu Bickel do sometimes scratch & claw themselves into the NHL. Perhaps not with the Rangers because of McIlrath, but I would not be surprised if Noreau finds a role for himself on some NHL team.

Am I saying that Noreau has more skill than Thomas? Of course not. But it's not always about skill.

Also, Oscar Lindberg has had an excellent breakout season in Sweden. I like Jesper Fast too, but Lindberg is bigger, is supposedly a faceoff whiz & was drafted higher. This is also the 2nd season in a row that Fast has missed time with injuries. It's not really a knock on Fast, but I might rank Lindberg a notch higher at the moment.

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