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03-11-2014, 07:20 AM
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I've seen a few HFD games lately. I don't got all that much to add to what has been said. A few short thoughts.

-McIlrath is playing decent. I think he has been a bit hard to pin-point in terms of where he is at. My feeling right now though is that he is a couple of years away at least. I just miss that proactive, a bit more intense, defensive play.

If we look at what the reasonable expectation is for McI, I think he is behind the curve in terms of defense and ahead the curve in terms of offense. That also kind of throws you, because he makes "good" plays with the puck and you think "good to see, he is actually pretty good with puck, we shouldn't be so down on this kid". But he isn't really a big factor defensively. And when its all said and done, I think he basically needs to be dominant defensively in the AHL to be ready for the NHL. You know, if HFD gets a box play you should be comfortable when McI hits the ice. You will know that he will dominate defensively and win several battles to clear the puck etc. Like you do with the better defensive Ds in the NHL. He don't have that "aura" at all in the AHL. Could develop it though in the coming years.

-Baby Bourque is playing really well. Its too bad he had all of these injuries. Will he ever get a chance? Where would he be had he been healthy? Does he still have a chance?

He is not a scorer, never has been. But he is world class in the areas you need to be world class to be useful in a smaller role. He is so good at helping his team-mates with and without the puck.

-Jesper Fast is playing better and better, but the key for him is to identify himself as a player on the smaller ice. He has done that more and more over the course of the season. In all areas really, on the forecheck, when we have the puck, in the transition game.

He is so smart and poised on the ice, a coach dream in many areas. But everything on the smaller ice still don't come natrual for him. Its something he needs to work on. And yeah, of course stay healthy. I still don't think he got the intensity in his skating as he had before breaking his leg and facing all the other injuries.

-Oscar Lindberg is facing an ocean of adjustment to apply his game in the AHL. But he is working hard and hanging in there. It kind of feels like he has done all that can be done this year. He needs an off-season to keep building up his body, get some time to sit back and reflect on his game, and then the opertunity to come back to HFD next summer with some openings on the roster and a fresh start.

Once he gets that and can take a prominant role for HFD, he will start to get considered for a NHL game too. And when he gets a chance, I think the NHL game will come much more natrual for him. Especially in AVs system. The AHL game is soo much high pace N-S oriented. There is definitely more room in the NHL to make decisions with the puck etc. For the career AHL scorers, going to the NHL so often turns into a vacum like experience. They end up skating around in no-mans land. They don't get the ice to jump on like they do in the AHL, they face D's that aren't flawed defensively, etc., they just so often fail to get anything going. For Lindberg it will be the opposite, he can really play that chess game too. His strength is his ability to be clutch defensively, on FOs, and to pull off the odd top notch offensive move (he is quite effective there, doesn't need 5 chances to create something, if he gets an opening he will make really good use of it), all the while he is really good at using his linemates and playing to their strength. His weakness is that he isn't very fast on his skates nor does he have great intensity. Nor is he an elite playmaker or sniper. Its players who excells in the later areas who has the most success in the AHL.

-It seems a bit like maybe Kristo will have a hard time making it to the NHL. He makes a lot of really good plays in the AHL, thats great to get from a prospect. But just is never going to get a shot in the NHL on a top 2 line, NOT unless he has worked himself up the lineup first. That means starting off on a 3rd or 4th line. When you look at what he lack to be able to play in a role like that, I just has not seen much if any improvement in those areas so far this season.

I don't know if Gernander can get through to him there. You should never say never, but he got a long way to go.

Last edited by Ola: 03-11-2014 at 07:26 AM.
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