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The Promise of Youth, Six Years Later

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Old
04-15-2004, 10:48 PM
  #1
Bohologo
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The Promise of Youth, Six Years Later

HF Oilers Rookie & Prospect Report From 1997

[Forgive me if this has been done; it's a Lowetide kind of post.]

Here's a HF article from October of 1997. Boyd Devereaux is being compared to Steve Yzerman, the Steve Passmore/JF Labbe tandem is tops in the AHL, Steve Kelly is another Sanderson, Joe Hulbig is about to flourish, Chris Hajt is compared to Brian Leetch, Michel Riesen may have been the steal of the draft, and "Laraque’s forte is fighting and making his presence known," but on the other hand, Bonsignore's Mario-like talents are not matched by his heart and time is running out.

It's not fair to drag out an article like this and see how it compares with reality, but perhaps it's a good tonic to some of the hype current Oilers' prospects are getting. Maybe Rita is another Hulbig, maybe Mikhnov is another Kelly. Maybe Oiler fans get Oilervision after intense scrutiny and even more intense hopes.

The difference between then and now is the group of people doing the drafting and developing, but maybe we should consider balancing our expectations of the Pouliots, Niinimakis, and Deslauriers of the world.

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04-15-2004, 10:56 PM
  #2
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Chilling, it really is. I was really sold on everything I read about Chris Hajt, and his dad was one helluva hockey player so it seemed like it might happen.

Hajt played 5 games this season for Washington. Career freaking high. If Hemsky turns into nothing I'm going to find a ledge, I swear to GOD!

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04-15-2004, 11:05 PM
  #3
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Great post Bohologo and a valuable reality check. It is very easy to get caught up with unbridled optimism and hype written about prospects. But the road to the NHL is littered with the 'next great player' who for some reason or another didn't work out. The reality is very, very few players ever make it to the NHL.

Much like back when this feature was written, the current crop of Oiler prospects sound like worldbeaters ... on paper. But the harsh reality is that few will ever see the light of day as NHLers. Fewer yet will ever make a significant contribution.

I hope this doesn't sound too negative. My intention is to be more pragmatic and realistic about this current group of next ones. Hopefully we will mine some diamonds among the fool's gold of prospective players.

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Old
04-15-2004, 11:22 PM
  #4
Digger12
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Chris Hajt and 'offensively gifted' in the same sentence?

That surely must be a sign of the apocalypse. There's your 5th Horseman right there.

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04-15-2004, 11:36 PM
  #5
Matts
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My Gawd

I don't know who wrote that but I think it's a classic example of HF erring on the side of blinding optimism.

I don't think it's sensible to compare anyone to Leetch offensively. Much less a guy with numbers like Hajt. I wish I was posting here back when this guy wrote that. Because I'd see enough of these guys with Hamilton to cast severe shadows on just about everything he wrote.

I thought Kelly was a good bet to be a very good bottom sixer and I think he would've been if he didn't have the pressure that came with being such a high pick. Hullbig was a poor skater. Hajt was just poor. Even back then no dmen could handle BG but he wasn't fleet of foot either then either. IN fact he was slower than he is now. The guy who looked the best on those clubs was Markko Tuominanen. And every time I watched a series I came away wondering why Henry didn't get more buzz than Hajt.

I've seen every game the Oilers affilate has played here since '96 and I find that the same tendancies these guys show in the A are those they'll bring to the NHL. When they get there they are usually bigger and faster mind you but it's basically the same things they are good at or poor at.

From all the guys I've seen the only ones I was really wrong about were Watt and De Vries. I thought Watt would be a near 20 goal scorer and I didn't think much of De Vries at all. That's not to say I could scout for junior or anything but I'm seeing these guys when they're 19 and 20 and almost finished their pre-NHL developement. And I'm not saying that I'm the russian scout that finds all the gems for the wings but I have been pretty dead on about the guys I've seen in the A.

Right now I'd have to say that I think Rita should get a shot just to see what he has but I will agree with the guys who say he doesn't always compete and doesn't always finish his checks. Salmo will be a player somewhere. I don't know how he'll finish but he's gonna be a very good bottom sixer somewhere. I spoke highly of Bisahi before he get his call and I think in this watered down league he can certianly play. He does most things well and he's smart. Everyone likes Lynch and I'm no different. he's gonna be a good solid pro unless omething out of the way happens. I don't get Woywitka having much opffensive upside but he is big and skates well for his size.


The guy I could be most wrong about is Semi. Down here he made a great first pass and I don't see that at the NHL level. IN fact he looks tight when handling the puck. And I don't know if he was a huge hitter in junior but he wasn't in the A. He used his size to push guys around and out of harm's way but he didn't unload on people. macT might want that from him btu I think that can be taught but most times it falls on a deaf heart and not on deaf ears

he either like hitting or you don't. that's not to say Semi can't still be a good dman. we make the chara comparisons because both are behemoths and Zeneno isn't exactly a terror when it comes to hitting


Last edited by Matts: 04-15-2004 at 11:47 PM.
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Old
04-16-2004, 02:58 AM
  #6
jadeddog
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this is a good article, and its nice to get some semblance of reality on these boards, lol..... im not bashing the boards or anything, they are still the best hockey boards ive ever been to, but.......

i grow tired of hearing how every first rounder will be an impact player, and how mikhnov is gonna come over here and be our sniping-winger savior, and how hemsky will one day score 80+ points, and how MAP is the answer to our center problems etc etc etc etc..........now i REALLY REALLY hope all of those things happen, but the cold reality is that the chance of even one of those scenarios happening is pretty slim........

the biggest weakness this board has is the how much stock everybody puts into the young players..... and its not just the oiler board, its all of them..... go look at the player ratings of any team, the vast majority of the players ranked will never even see NHL ice, let alone be decent players, but they are ranked ridiculously high...... i know its "potential" and all, but they are still really out of whack.....

again, im not ragging on the boards, i love em, but i would love to see mroe restraint shown when it comes to predicting young players impact

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04-16-2004, 06:09 AM
  #7
Yanner39
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Actually, this is a perfect example that they're are no guarantees. Some poster wanted to "throw" the season to get a crack at a top 5 pick. Makes no sense. Sure, you *maybe* increase your chances of getting a good player with a top 5 or 10 pick, but they're are still no guarantees.

That being said, I have alittle more confidence in the current scounting team than the one 8 or 9 years ago.

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Old
04-16-2004, 09:51 AM
  #8
Oil_in_my_veins
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bohologo
The difference between then and now is the group of people doing the drafting and developing, but maybe we should consider balancing our expectations of the Pouliots, Niinimakis, and Deslauriers of the world.
Very good point.

I don't know about Mikhnov or Niinimaki but from everything I've seen and read I'd like to hope that Pouliot and Deslauriers have the character and mental toughness to make an impact someday. Hopefully KLo won't put any labels on them before they've proven themselves, like was done with Hemsky.

I remember cheering for 2 guys in the late 80s who I thought would be our future stars: Dan Currie and Shaun Van Allen...live and learn I guess.

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Old
04-16-2004, 11:52 AM
  #9
aspin
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yeah

I think the person that wrote this was exaggerating even their opptimism. Every thing I heard about Chris Hajt including the Future Watch from The Hockey News back in the day was that Chris was like his dad or unlce in that he was a tall stay at home defenseman with some offensive ability. Yes it is easy to get caught up in thining our prospects are better than they are but I really think that KLowe and his staff do a lot better job preparing nad evaluating than the last staff did.

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Old
04-16-2004, 12:49 PM
  #10
Master Lok
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. van Nostrin
Actually, this is a perfect example that they're are no guarantees. Some poster wanted to "throw" the season to get a crack at a top 5 pick. Makes no sense. Sure, you *maybe* increase your chances of getting a good player with a top 5 or 10 pick, but they're are still no guarantees.

That being said, I have alittle more confidence in the current scounting team than the one 8 or 9 years ago.
Exactly. Agree with you 100%. There are no guarantees in drafting.

Question to everyone: what do you think of pushing the draft age back a year? Would it enable more accurate drafting/scouting?

Matts, thanks for your honesty. I totally agree with you on Devries. I didn't see anything from him being a top 4 NHL dman until all of a sudden, boom! he's playing reliably on the Avs!

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Old
04-16-2004, 01:43 PM
  #11
Mizral
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I have said in the past that I have questioned the NHL potential of the Oilers prospects as a group. I still feel that, particularly the top end, I don't see anything aside from possibly Hemsky that looks anything like a 1st line forward, 1st pairing defenseman, or a #1 goaltender (Deslauriers might proove me wrong when he hits the A though).

However, I don't think it's fair to compare things to 1997. Things are better off from then, though the team itself was significantly worse. You can't have it both ways.. unless you're the Detroit Red Wings or New Jersey Devils ... I guess.

neogeo - Moving the draft year back one? Hell, I'd rather it move up one.

jadeddog - Well, it is 'Hockey's Future', but you're right, people have put too much emphasis on youth on these boards for a long time. Ask for the 'perfect lineup' from most board folks here and they'll give you a list of the best players in the league under 25 years of age.

And yes, the Oilers board in particular does overrate it's prospects - but what board doesn't? This is where I enjoy talking to folks about the Oilers prospects. I think for some of them, you guys can terrifically overrate (Rita, starting to get that way with Lynch for some of you), but at the same time, there are others whom I think you guys don't pay NEARLY enough attention to (Woywita and Samlelainen).

Has Lowe done a better job than Sather? I certainly do not think the answer is a cut and dry yes, but I would say he's done marginally better. Though think back to the best draft the Oilers have had in recent memory, and it's a Sather one, his last one in 1999.

Then again, the Rags routinely make miserable picks now, so it appears that was a one-hit-wonder for Slats.

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Old
04-16-2004, 02:00 PM
  #12
jadeddog
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to answer the comment about a top-5 pick, i wasnt the one who was saying that they should throw the seaosn for a top 5 pick, but i defenitly wouldnt have been against it either

about a month ago igor posted a thread about draft rank and the careers those players went on to have.... it was basically a perfect curve from the 1st round on.... meaning that a top 5 pcik does not "garantee" a better pick, but statistically you are much better off..... essentially - a higher pick does indeed usually mean a better player

once my finals are over im gonna go through the draft years from 1980 on and do some "work" with the numbers.... average games played, averge points, etc etc.... and im going to obviously focus on the oilers, though it will be quite sad as our drafting has been rather pathetic most years

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