I've noticed that both Pat Rissmiller and Garret Stafford are putting up some nice numbers for Cleveland. I watched Rissmiller a little last year and liked what I saw of him. It looks like he is developing an offensive game this season. What sort of role does he have with the Barons? Is he signed by San Jose? What is his upside?
As for Garret Stafford, I understand he is signed by Cleveland, not San Jose. I would think that if he continues to play how he has he will be signed by San Jose at some point. What type of player is he? Is he really as good as his numbers suggest? What is his upside?
I don't get to see much Barons games so any opinions about these two would be great.
Stafford's production in the AHL is slightly surprising, but it's not surprising that he's in the AHL. At New Hampshire, his numbers were generally good, although not matching Preissing's. Preissing's character surpasses Stafford's in that Stafford missed half of last year academically ineligible (GPA below 1.80, you have to work to do that) while Preissing was an All-Academic every year I believe, and last year's WCHA top scholar. As I understand it, Preissing did a fair amount of community work too.
Anyway, Stafford put up good numbers in the USHL with Des Moines before going to UNH, and cracking UNH full-time as a freshman is no easy feat. Michael Hutchins played no games last year, and Toronto draft pick Jon Doherty isn't playing every game either, in fact neither is Hutchins. (Both benefitted from the eight player suspension for going down to Boston during the Red Sox riots. None participated, but coach had told them not to go there.)
Stafford's size, at 6'0" 190 pounds is a concern at the NHL level obviously. (Kimmo Timonen does just fine at his size though, but you have to have excellent awareness to make it work, as well as speed and offensive ability, although Francis Bouillon is one exception.) And when an organization already has Preissing, Fahey and Gorges, this can become repititive.
Stafford is from LA by the way.
To begin the year, I never would have figured Stafford would ever surpass Preissing, who graduated from the USHL the same year as the Defenseman of the Year, after starting out as a forward. If Stafford can avoid becoming a Theo Fleury off the ice, pro hockey should treat Stafford well. Obvoiusly he has the ability to be a top AHL offensive defenseman. I wouldn't consider Stafford's defense as good as Preissing. Stafford obviously has not yet surpassed Preissing, but if ends up with 70+ points in his rookie AHL season...wow!
Stafford isn't of the same caliber as a Preissing or John-Michael Liles. I would have expected Brad Fast to be doing better than Stafford too, but he's not. (Fast plays for Lowell, a pick of the Hurricanes, Liles is up with Colorado.)
However, Stafford a little over a year younger than Preissing.