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04-17-2013, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by thomast View Post
Vaakanainen is promising young defenseman. It's too early to tell if he can reach top prospect status like guys you mentioned.
At some point it was too early to tell that from those other guys as well. Therefore I think your comment; “would pan out in every organisation because they are extremely and naturally talented” is slightly misleading. The surroundings might not have been 100% ideal for any of them, but they were adequate for good development and from the looks of it attention was paid mostly to the right details. Somewhere else things might not have gone quite as well.

If my memory serves me right, here are some of my first impressions about different prospects, just as an example of how things can change over time:

Pokka - The first time I saw him was when he was still playing for TIHC; chubby overweight kid with zero agility. He saw the ice really well and was a very good passer, but his movement was pretty horrible.

Kapanen - Him and Miikka Pitkänen were a treat to watch, but at that point there was no clear indicator of which one was going to become the better player, both looked equally skilled and small.

Vatanen - It was obvious that he knew how to skate and handle the puck, but he looked more like a rinkball player than a hockey player. There was no way that a small little brat like him could someday play high level hockey as a defenseman against grown men.

Armia - The kid was capable of deking multiple opponents while practically standing still, his hands were special. On the other hand he was a one-dimensional player and his skating definitely wasn’t anything to brag about.

Barkov - Looked like a promising player, but it was Jonatan Tanus who was running the show for Tappara at that point.

Salomäki - His skill level really stood out when playing against clearly older players with TeKi, but among other things I didn’t like his effort level. It was like he was walking on the ice for over half the time. Has since then become a hard working player.

Ristolainen - Was a good skater and displayed some ability to carry the puck, but his frame wasn’t special in comparison to other players on the ice. He has since then grown almost 20cm and is now one of the tallest players on the ice.

Teräväinen - The guy was small and thin, didn’t engage in battles or show much effort. There were flashes of skill, but I must admit that I underestimated his potential.

Granlund - Truly exceptional hockey sense and anticipation, it was like he knew what was going to happen a second or two before anyone else on the ice. What made me doubt him big time was his frame, as a 7th grader he was still the size of a fire extinguisher.

Originally Posted by thomast View Post

There is bit info about Blues junior program policy. Player developement is the most important thing and team success will come if the main thing is working.

There is top knowledge in the managment, great coaching in every level.
All teams try to present themselves in a good light and get players see them as a good career path. They talk about the cooperation with schools, show examples of successful ex-players and make their organization seem reputable, welcoming and special.

Blues is doing a fine job with their younger juniors and has produced a good number of SM-liiga players lately, but I’m not 100% sold on them having better coaches or organization than most SM-liiga teams when talking about the upper echelons; SM-liiga <-> Jr.A <-> Jr.B. Would’ve been nice to see the results their coached had achieved with the material of teams like SaiPa or Pelicans.

Also, at least I had pretty high expectations of Joonas Nättinen when he moved to Blues. He was first and foremost a skill player when still with JYP and seemed to have offensive upside. Not saying that Blues failed with him, but I can’t say that they really exceeded the expectations either.

Originally Posted by YARR123 View Post
Generally I think it's a good thing for a young player to be in an environment which provides a lot of challenges. Whatever the thing is you do I think it's benefitial to surround yourself with people that are good in what you do, not worse. It is likely that an environment of high competition and high level of talent will only push each individual more. In an "easy" environment it's easier to sit back a bit and not be pushing every small edge. Of course there are many things to consider when choosing / changing teams, so there's no way for anyone on an internet forum to say for sure what is best for anyone. And I don't base this post on facts or research, but intuition. So basically just my 2c.
I agree with you and like you said there are many things to consider when changing teams. I’m just saying that playing for an average team can sometimes offer bigger (or at least different kind of) challenges than playing for a stacked team. In a weaker team you really need to struggle to even have a chance of winning a game and due to a weaker supporting cast top players are forced into taking big responsibilities on every aspects of the game. They literally carry the team on their shoulders, it’s up to them to make a difference, nobody else will do it. In a stacked team training is more competitive and getting a roster spot is harder, this is good. On the other hand weaker organizations can to some extent compensate for this by moving the player up a level, if it seems there are no more challenges available at current level.

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