I was around for his short career, but I was a little younger...and as a Leafs fan I didn't see him too often. I remember him being one of the only bright spots along with Amonte for some of those Blackhawks seasons.
How good was he? Could he have been better if it weren't for all of his injury problems?
He kind of exploded in juniors after he was drafted, wound up being considered a real top shelf prospect, then had a great rookie year. He was huge, pretty physical, good hands, and an absolutely killer shot. Quick release on the wrister, good one timer as well. I thought for sure after his rookie season that he'd be regular 40 goal guy with the potential to hit 50. Closest comparison I can think of today is Rick Nash, though Daze was bigger and Nash faster.
The Hawks were looking pretty scary then (95-ish); Roenick, Amonte, and Daze looked like they could be a dominant core group of forwards for a long time. Wheels fell off that whole thing pretty suddenly. Was a shame, Daze was a really entertaining player to watch.
He was a real big guy who didn't play physically from what I recall but would take a hit to make a play. Tough to handle for most defensemen.
Good speed, good hands.
If not for the back injuries he could have had a Mats Sundin like career but from the wing.
Would have been a consistent 30-40ish or so goal guy every year.
Would think thatīs placing to much faith in Daze. Thatīs John LeClair territory. I, as a very dedicated Blackhawks-fan at the time, never had that much hopes about Daze. Sundin and him probably had about the same sky limit with goalscoring, but thatīs where it stops in my opionion. Even if he was younger, both Amonte and Zhamnov ranked ahead in my book. Both potential and play. Not one I would choose to build my team around, but a nice first liner.
Didnīt his injury problems start first in 98/99 when he was 24? Even if some power-forwards, like big D, often gotta have some seasons to put it together I donīt think he had that much untapped potential. I always tought 25-40 goal scorer, not so many assist and maybe a 80-point career season was his limit.
Donīt remember "good speed". He wasnīt slow for a big guy in the 90īs, but not fast either. But his hands were sure great for a big guy.
Or for that mather... I may be wrong and sell him short. Itīs been a couple of years and maybe he would have had a Bertuzzi (or for that sake LeClair) late break trough to the next level.
And may be coloured of that he came in just when things where going south around 95/96 after having a nice run and a teamfoundation you still believed could achieve greatness. Then it became obvious Roenicks (favourite Blackhawk...) best days where behind him. And in a couple of seasons he, Chelios and Belfour amongst others where gone. And "suddenly" NJ, Colorado, Detroit and then Dallas seemed to be on a level you couldnīt get to in a million years.
Haha, what a downer-post it became Well... it where dark days as a Blackhawks fan.
Edit: For some reason, giving it a couple of minutes, I think a greater Dustin Penner...
Last edited by feffan: 12-20-2013 at 06:37 AM.
Reason: Thought about Penner...
Honestly, I thought Daze was pretty crap for most of his career. Laser of a shot and great hands, but was a plodding skater, soft as butter, poor defensively, no intangibles, and under-produced relative to his role/linemates.
Then in his last two seasons he started to put things together and has an absolutely outstanding year in 2001-02. Harnessed his skills and started to out-produce his faults.
But then his back issues hit and his breakout season was his last full season. Hard to know if it would have been a blip or if he would have had some seasons where he would have been top-5 in the league in goals.
His name was brought up as a candidate for the 2002 Olympic team, even if he was lower on the totem pole. But he was a "player" at one time for sure. I agree he wasn't as physical as he could have been. Sort of reminded me of Keith Primeau at times. In other words, you always felt they could just take the game over physically and on the scoresheet every time they were on the ice but they didn't, although Primeau was certainly more physical.