I thought I remembered Malhotra doing a two-week conditioning stint in the AHL in his second season while struggling with the Rangers. He didn't turn 20 until May, I believe, so he would not have been 20 years old. I think eventually he was sent down to Guelph that season too as a result of him not playing much or very well, and returned [to Hartford] because Guelph didn't go too far in the playoffs. I may be wrong, but I was going off that scenario as I thought it played out.
It does state that Manny was 19 years old - I'm not sure if the rules have changed, although then too you couldn't 'play' in the AHL if your b-day is after 12/31 of that season. The 'conditioning stint' may be a loophole.
Wowser, finding that PR was impressive. I can state that it was Manny.s 2nd year which technically makes him a vet, so CHL/NHL rule doesn't apply. Staal, being a rookie, does not have that luxery, and cannot be sent to AHL for any reason until his Sudbury team's season is complete.
But Rucinsky was injured. Many athletes in many sports have to wait for an unfourtante thing to happen to step in. When Rucinsky returned he took Pruchas spot but Prucha was also returning from an injury and i don't fault the rangers for using kid gloves with Prucha.
I think with Staal who is marketable and is the future of our defense to beat out a vet is not of the question. However the Rangers are not in a postion where they need to rush things with Staal. It's a win win for the Rangers....
Not to change the subject but I've already spelled out how Staal makes the team. I think Kaspar starts the year on IR and Staal gets that spot and is given a chance to see if he can play every game. I just can't see Kaspar coming back 100% in training camp and there is no reason to rush him.
Have you told Kaspar your plans for him yet? Because according to him, he's going to be ready for training camp:
"Defenseman Darius Kasparaitis, who was nursing groin and shoulder injuries this offseason, took part in workouts yesterday and said he'll be ready for training camp."
sorry, no poll from me. I've been debating with myself this issue, and it's a tough one and I thought I'd pose some tough questions.
I think many, or even most, in here think sending Staal back to juniors would be best for his development (and I assume best for the team). Right now, I believe the kid would have to have an oustanding training camp, and a great preseason, with another defenseman or two not doing well at all in order to make the team. I say this because the current top 6 likely won't be supplanted due to a rusty training camp or preseason as none of them are really at the point where the skills and hockey sense should've deteriorated significantly from last season and conventional wisdom says it will come back. With Staal, playing 4-5 games against what is sometimes AHL competition is tough to judge one's readiness for the NHL grind. So the odds of him making this team, in reality, are long, but not insurmountable.
But the question is, if he does have a good camp and shows he may be ready to make the jump, while others don't play themselves off the team, does he stay for a limited role. Before saying no, hear me out.
Defensemen other than last season's top six (which is roughly defined and wasn't static) did get 35-65 games last season, averaging around 13-15 minutes. Those included Kondratiev, Ozolinsh and Strudwick (who some may consider part of the top six). So it is conceivable that Staal can get into 45-50 NHL games this season, averaging 13-15 minutes per night, and perhaps he can be sent to Hartford for a two-week assignment during which the 'Pack play 5-6 games, or more, and get 18-20 minutes of AHL time. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-60 pro games (in an OHL season, he'd likely get around 65 games). Of course, before his 10th NHL game, he could be sent back to juniors too (and if he does the AHL stint early, he may not have to ride pine in the early going). The shame of all this is he's about 14 days too young to play in the AHL this season. Damn that's close.
OK, I'm sure people still aren't convinced. The thought in most people's minds is that his development would be furthered along by playing in all situations in the OHL - which of course is something he's done the last three years and perhaps has done all he can do there (there is a point where you don't learn more because something isn't challenging, and at that point, you can begin to regress). Of course, we can probably point to many 18/19 year olds who played in limited action and became budding stars. Joe Thornton is one (3 goals/55 games/limited ice time as an 18 year old). I'm sure he's not the only one.
The whole point is, if you're a bit advanced (which I can't say Staal is for sure, but I do get the feeling he may be), and are able to keep up with the NHL game, you needn't play 82 NHL games, getting 18-20 minutes of ice time in order to still further develment, and be a contributor to the team. He did say that he's approaching this camp differently and will try to make it difficult on the powers that be to make a decision.
Good question and while I don't think a player like Staal would have to play every game to continue his learning process, one thing that bothers me about the possiblity of him sitting for more than 15-20 games would be the lack of meaningful practice a player not in the regular lineup gets. It's one thing to sit out a game because of mistakes, it's quite another to not get any meaningful practice time as an NHL team goes through the grind of playing 4 games a week, plus the travel time from city to city after that happens.
Another concern I have is that a 19 year old defenseman will make mistakes and some of them will cause the Rangers to lose the game(s). How much tolerance will the organization have when they are not only fighting to maintain the respectiblity they built up after last season, but are looking to improve upon it, not only to make the playoffs, but make some noise once they get there? If the defense is not as stable as it was through most of last season and Staal is having rookie moments, how long will they be willing to keep him in the lineup? The pressure could become quite intense both on the coaching staff and on Staal himself if things don't work out as smoothly as they did last year.
is there really a rookie/vet rule? I thought that if you're under 20, you cannot play in the AHL. Going down for a 'conditioning stint' technically isn't being permanently assigned there. What if an 18 year old (call him Crosby) is playing in the NHL and he gets hurt and misses a month. Can't the 'Pens send him to the AHL for this 'conditioning stint' instead of dropping him back into the NHL? I think a conditioning stint is different from a full year assignment in the AHL.
It wasn't easy finding that PR. I typically use Lexis/Nexis, but for some odd reason I couldn't find anything.
I agree Brooklyn. Sending him back the OHL may be the best thing for him and the organization, but I don't think it's as easy as saying he's not playing every game in the NHL, and he needs to play every situation so the OHL is the best for him. I do believe that as little as 40-50 pro games is better than 65 games in juniors playing in all situations for a guy who's advanced in his developement.