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11-02-2006, 09:28 AM
Blind Gardien
nexus of the crisis
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Four Winds Bar
Country: France
Posts: 20,551
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I think Whitesnake nailed it... the WHL has a very long and storied history of having some statistically breathtaking seasons from those goalies blessed to be on the defensive powerhouses of the league. Some of them were legit NHL prospects, some of them weren't even drafted and never amounted to anything. So judging a goalie purely on a junior stats line is a completely wasted effort, in and of itself.

Looking at the stats lines with some acknowledgement of and allowance for the calibre of teams the goalies had in front of them definitely helps. It still doesn't tell the whole story either, however.

Ultimately, you really just need to see them playing, and be qualified to judge them purely based on their play. I haven't seen the WHL enough since probably the mid-90s or so to really feel confident in evaluating WHL players anymore. And junior-aged goalies are the hardest crop of all to try to evaluate.

But the one kernel of truth that lurks even within Leafaholix's baiting, one that we've debated endlessly on this board amongst ourselves, is whether Price truly is such an elite prospect that he warranted using the #5 overall pick on. We've been through that so many times it has almost worn out its relevance as an issue for us, we certainly don't need an outsider to remind us of it. The feeling I've usually expressed in those debates is that I don't think Price is better (or worse) than most of the other goalies who are at the top of the current prospect heap, and names like Rask, Pogge, Pavelec, etc have featured in the heap. I think it's plenty fair to add Irving to the heap too. So given that the heap features goalies who were picked 20, 30, or more spots lower in the draft order than Price, it has always been fair game here to wonder if it was a wise use of our providential #5 choice. And the answer now, as always, is that it's too soon to know for sure. Our scouting team seems to have been delivering the goods recently, so even those doubters amongst us who question the wisdom (myself included) are often ready to cut them some slack and wait and see. Call back in 3-5 years, maybe this debate can finally be settled then.

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