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01-18-2007, 09:03 AM
  #1
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Kyle Chipchura

How would you rate his development so far? He has 6 goals and 11 assists in his first pro season...how far of the NHL is he?

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01-18-2007, 09:35 AM
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How far off depends what role he would be asked to fill in the NHL. If we were desperate for a healthy centre who can play a defensive role, he could step up an play a couple of games this year, but that is only if we were stuck for other options.

His season has pretty much mirrored the Bulldogs this year. The team started slowly for the first 8 games, went on a fantastic streak of form for about 15 - 20 games, then hit trouble in a big way and are currently fighting to find their winning ways again.

Chip started the season with a few flashes of what we could expect, having some good games and some quiet games with a couple of mistakes thrown in. When the team played with confidence, so did he. When he was playing his best hockey, he was rock solid defensively and showed remarkable patience with the puck in his own zone when other players would rush into something and give the puck away. He has shown he can protect a puck very well and control it in tight spaces around opponents and along the boards. He occassionally gets involved in the scoring but its not something that the Dogs have come to expect from him (although I'm pretty sure Don Lever would like to see him improve in this regard).

However, over the last month or so, his play has slipped and he is far less noticable out there, perhaps because of the schedule which is more than he is used to. He tends to play on a line with Baines and Ferland and as veterans, they have shown far more consistancy of late, Ferland particularly playing his own game and trying to add some energy to the Dogs as they struggled. Chip on the other hand seems to be trying to focus on not making a mistake and hasn't been taking charge on the ice as he did in the earlier part of the season.

I think that as far as his development is concerned, he is doing just fine. He was drafted as a more defensive forward and he has rarely caused problems for the team in his own zone. He has made a big step up in terms of the quality of league he is in and, over the course of the season, has at least held his own. Lever is of the opinion that O'Byrne is struggling mentally at this stage of the season and it wouldn't be a stretch to think that the same thing could be occuring with Kyle. But I expect as things hot up towards the end of the season, he will find that extra spark to play his best hockey again.

He still has things he needs to work on, and these are the things people already know about: his footspeed, his offensive ability. At times his concentration has wavered and he has made some bad plays, but I think that's something that can just be put down to inexperience at the AHL level. In terms of his future development and potential use in Montreal, if he carries on at a similar pace then I expect he might see the odd game or two next year as a reward (pending circumstances), with maybe a few more should he make large strides forward in his level of play. But at this rate, I'd expect him to be in Hamilton all this year and probably most or all of next, particularly when factoring in managements reluctance to rush a prospect.

What I'd like to see of him for the rest of this year is for him to find his game again and get back to playing his best in the regular season and then hopefully just be reliable defensively in the post-season. Then during the off season, he can work on his skating further and start next year knowing full well what to expect, how to pace himself and to take on more responsibility within the team, hopefully improving his offensive numbers in the process.

It would be wonderful if he was playing perfectly in his rookie year, but that is a little high of an expectation. He certainly has things he needs to work on, but he has shown he not only belongs but can be a very effective player already in his rookie year. I think the rest of it will come with time. He works hard and seems like a guy who can rise to a challenge so I doubt there is anything to worry about, we just have to sit back and be patient and watch him develop, as with a few of our prospects. In a year and a half, 2 years, he should be ready to make a big challenge for a roster spot in Montreal.

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01-18-2007, 09:40 AM
  #3
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Originally Posted by Qui Gon Dave View Post
How far off depends what role he would be asked to fill in the NHL. If we were desperate for a healthy centre who can play a defensive role, he could step up an play a couple of games this year, but that is only if we were stuck for other options.

His season has pretty much mirrored the Bulldogs this year. The team started slowly for the first 8 games, went on a fantastic streak of form for about 15 - 20 games, then hit trouble in a big way and are currently fighting to find their winning ways again.

Chip started the season with a few flashes of what we could expect, having some good games and some quiet games with a couple of mistakes thrown in. When the team played with confidence, so did he. When he was playing his best hockey, he was rock solid defensively and showed remarkable patience with the puck in his own zone when other players would rush into something and give the puck away. He has shown he can protect a puck very well and control it in tight spaces around opponents and along the boards. He occassionally gets involved in the scoring but its not something that the Dogs have come to expect from him (although I'm pretty sure Don Lever would like to see him improve in this regard).

However, over the last month or so, his play has slipped and he is far less noticable out there, perhaps because of the schedule which is more than he is used to. He tends to play on a line with Baines and Ferland and as veterans, they have shown far more consistancy of late, Ferland particularly playing his own game and trying to add some energy to the Dogs as they struggled. Chip on the other hand seems to be trying to focus on not making a mistake and hasn't been taking charge on the ice as he did in the earlier part of the season.

I think that as far as his development is concerned, he is doing just fine. He was drafted as a more defensive forward and he has rarely caused problems for the team in his own zone. He has made a big step up in terms of the quality of league he is in and, over the course of the season, has at least held his own. Lever is of the opinion that O'Byrne is struggling mentally at this stage of the season and it wouldn't be a stretch to think that the same thing could be occuring with Kyle. But I expect as things hot up towards the end of the season, he will find that extra spark to play his best hockey again.

He still has things he needs to work on, and these are the things people already know about: his footspeed, his offensive ability. At times his concentration has wavered and he has made some bad plays, but I think that's something that can just be put down to inexperience at the AHL level. In terms of his future development and potential use in Montreal, if he carries on at a similar pace then I expect he might see the odd game or two next year as a reward (pending circumstances), with maybe a few more should he make large strides forward in his level of play. But at this rate, I'd expect him to be in Hamilton all this year and probably most or all of next, particularly when factoring in managements reluctance to rush a prospect.

What I'd like to see of him for the rest of this year is for him to find his game again and get back to playing his best in the regular season and then hopefully just be reliable defensively in the post-season. Then during the off season, he can work on his skating further and start next year knowing full well what to expect, how to pace himself and to take on more responsibility within the team, hopefully improving his offensive numbers in the process.

It would be wonderful if he was playing perfectly in his rookie year, but that is a little high of an expectation. He certainly has things he needs to work on, but he has shown he not only belongs but can be a very effective player already in his rookie year. I think the rest of it will come with time. He works hard and seems like a guy who can rise to a challenge so I doubt there is anything to worry about, we just have to sit back and be patient and watch him develop, as with a few of our prospects. In a year and a half, 2 years, he should be ready to make a big challenge for a roster spot in Montreal.
A defensive forward in the 1st round? Ouch...

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01-18-2007, 09:50 AM
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A defensive forward in the 1st round? Ouch...

Wouldn't be the first time. Does the name "Bob Gainey" ring a bell?

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01-18-2007, 09:51 AM
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A defensive forward in the 1st round? Ouch...
He has some offensive potential, but I doubt anyone expected him to become the next high scoring centre for the Habs. His strength is his defensive play and hard work and already has the ability to play keep away with the puck against more than one opponent. I think he will always be able to chip in a few goals here and there but the offense is something he does need to work on. How he goes about this and how successful he is is difficult to gauge at this juncture (for me). I never saw him play in other leagues or in international play so I can't compare his offensive skills now to then. And because he isn't an out and out attacking player, it's no suprise he hasn't made waves with his scoring in his rookie year. Maybe next year, when he is adapted to the level of competition, he will put up 25-30 goals in the AHL, but as I said, it's hard for me to gauge that based purely on his rookie year. But from what I've seen, if he is going to start lighting things up offensively, it's going to be as a playmaker as his puck control skills have at times been extremely impressive and that will serve him well in the future. How much further he can develop his shot and finishing instincts though, I can't say. Hopefully montreal or someone else who has followed his career in more detail will have a more accurate projection.

But to be saying 'ouch' with regards to his future potential at this early stage of his development seems a little over the top to me, although maybe thats just the way my post sounded? Eitherways, as long as someone develops into a good player for the Habs, I don't mind where they are drafted. And at this point, he looks like he will become a good player for the Habs. That'll do me.

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01-18-2007, 09:52 AM
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A defensive forward in the 1st round? Ouch...
Actualy, it's more than that...he's a real leader and a character player. He's captain material and one day, he could play on the second line, but he should be a real good shut down guy who will exel on the PK. Those players are really valuable, even if they don't show great stats...

And thnaks Qui Gon Dave for the report...and since you're on the board, I have two questions for you:

-Do you believe that Kostitsyn is ready for the NHL and do you think he will succeed in the NHL?

-Do you think Grabovski could be a good winger?

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01-18-2007, 09:52 AM
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A defensive forward in the 1st round? Ouch...

Bob gainey

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01-18-2007, 09:53 AM
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I've also got a question for Qui Gon Dave

Do you think the Habs will ever give Ferland a chance? seems a perfect fit for the 4th line to me

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01-18-2007, 10:06 AM
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I rate Chippy's development thus far as a solid B+... which is a small step up from the "B" grade I would typically give to a player who meets my default expectations. I've really liked him when I've seen him live (7 times this year), although a couple of the TV games he seemed to be more invisible. As Qui Gon Dave already said, he started off with a bit more fire than he has shown lately, though. He was playing with more of an edge to begin with, but really I find that since he has settled in with Ferland and Baines, he's letting them handle more of that and just seems to be concentrating on minding his defensive assignments and holding his position.

I still think Chipchura was a steal where we drafted him. He doesn't have very good hands... he bobbles the puck a fair bit and has no shot to speak of... but he has really exceptional vision and awareness, and I still believe that as he matures and plays with more talented linemates, that vision will ultimately translate into some decent scoring totals. His skating has continued on a steady improvement slope, IMO. He would not be out of place in that respect in the NHL right now. Sort of like a Bonk, he might never be able to pull away, but he knows where to be and when to be there better than almost any other player on his teams, so that will always help compensate for his lack of pure speed.

I also agree that it would probably be best for Chipchura to be back full-time in Hamilton again next year... hopefully on one of the top-two lines with some players who have more offensive ability (should be plenty to choose from... D'Ago and S.Kostitsyn would be good choices IMO). That way we'll get to see his playmaking develop more, along with his physicality as he can do more cycling and crashing down low than he really gets to do now. I don't think he'd be out of place in the NHL next year either, really, but I don't see the need to rush him or to take away his chance to work on those other aspects of his game by having him in a 4th-line reduced-minutes role. Ultimately I think we'll get a better player by seeing him continue to work on those areas in the AHL.

Chipchura is right on track and I firmly believe he'll be an extremely valuable core player for the Habs one day.

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01-18-2007, 10:12 AM
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I've also got a question for Qui Gon Dave

Do you think the Habs will ever give Ferland a chance? seems a perfect fit for the 4th line to me
I think he'll always be a guy battling for a 4th line role. Nobody will "give" him anything. I don't think he'd look out of place, really, but he has to go into camp next year, hope the Habs haven't reserved a lineup spot for a veteran thug/character guy like Downey, hope he outplays any other internal challengers for that 4th line job (Murray, Milroy), hope Carbo doesn't decide he wants some cheap veteran checkers down there (a viable option IMO), and then just play his heart out every day to stick.

I don't think he's better than Garth Murray, personally. This year he has really stepped up the physicality, well, I guess he has been healthy enough for a change to keep it up consistently, more like. And while he can chip in a bit on offense at the AHL level, I don't see it happening any more frequently than a Murray or Downey provides in reduced minutes on an NHL 4th line. But hey, if he'll sign for the league minimum, and play with that energy or intensity, I'd like to see him make it next year.

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01-18-2007, 10:14 AM
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-Do you believe that Kostitsyn is ready for the NHL and do you think he will succeed in the NHL?

-Do you think Grabovski could be a good winger?
- I'd say Kostitsyn is ready for the NHL although might benefit from starting with a little less ice time. If he was called up in the near future, I expect there would be a lot of pressure on him to produce and it might not help him. Of course, he might also thrive on it. But he has been working hard, makes a lot less errors defensively of late and has done what his coach asked him to do, compete more. Offensively speaking, if anyones has seen my little rants lately, you'll know I'd love to see him played on the right wing as I don't think the left side brings the best from the set of skills he has. But yes, he is ready. As for succeeding, more difficult to answer. If he became a 20 goal scorer putting up 40 assists a year, some people would propably see that as a failure due to his draft position. I think he should be good for at least those stats and probably a bit more. I don't think we have seen the very best from him yet, offensively speaking. But I think he can reach a point where the majority of people would be pleased with his production/play - he just needs to keep this determination up and continue to want to improve.

- I haven't seen Grabs play the wing much, so nothing much to base this on. But he could do a nice job as a winger (he has speed, puck control, passing skills and a good shot) but he would have to refine his game a little to avoid a short career. Put him with a strong, defensively capable centre and you could see some very impressive results. Maybe a Grabs - Bonk - Kostitsyn line, or Ryder - Bonk/Pleks - Grabs, I could see that working at NHL level. He still needs to work on his defense a bit but he seems to be willing to make the effort to learn how to be the best player he can be for the NHL.

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Do you think the Habs will ever give Ferland a chance? seems a perfect fit for the 4th line to me
Sadly, I have no idea what the Habs have planned for the career of Ferland. But in my opinion, they should at least give him the chance to prove to them one way or the other. I reckon if given the chance, he would be more than capable as a 4th liner. So far in Hamilton, he hasn't shown as much offensive play as I'd have liked, but for hard work and punishing (a very apt word) physical play, you can't fault him. He isn't the quickest guy, but when he leaves opponents limping round the rink, he doesn't have to skate that fast to beat them although on a few occassions this year, he won foot races for loose pucks or to beat off icing calls I didn't expect him to. It's also not like he is a defensive liability either. He deserves a chance, for sure. I just hope he gets it.

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01-18-2007, 11:39 PM
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wow threads like this remind me why I signed up on this board

thanks guys for your input

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01-19-2007, 12:24 AM
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I rate Chippy's development thus far as a solid B+... which is a small step up from the "B" grade I would typically give to a player who meets my default expectations. I've really liked him when I've seen him live (7 times this year), although a couple of the TV games he seemed to be more invisible. As Qui Gon Dave already said, he started off with a bit more fire than he has shown lately, though. He was playing with more of an edge to begin with, but really I find that since he has settled in with Ferland and Baines, he's letting them handle more of that and just seems to be concentrating on minding his defensive assignments and holding his position.

I still think Chipchura was a steal where we drafted him. He doesn't have very good hands... he bobbles the puck a fair bit and has no shot to speak of... but he has really exceptional vision and awareness, and I still believe that as he matures and plays with more talented linemates, that vision will ultimately translate into some decent scoring totals. His skating has continued on a steady improvement slope, IMO. He would not be out of place in that respect in the NHL right now. Sort of like a Bonk, he might never be able to pull away, but he knows where to be and when to be there better than almost any other player on his teams, so that will always help compensate for his lack of pure speed.

I also agree that it would probably be best for Chipchura to be back full-time in Hamilton again next year... hopefully on one of the top-two lines with some players who have more offensive ability (should be plenty to choose from... D'Ago and S.Kostitsyn would be good choices IMO). That way we'll get to see his playmaking develop more, along with his physicality as he can do more cycling and crashing down low than he really gets to do now. I don't think he'd be out of place in the NHL next year either, really, but I don't see the need to rush him or to take away his chance to work on those other aspects of his game by having him in a 4th-line reduced-minutes role. Ultimately I think we'll get a better player by seeing him continue to work on those areas in the AHL.

Chipchura is right on track and I firmly believe he'll be an extremely valuable core player for the Habs one day.
I would tend to agree except that I think he does have fairly good hands and is a good puck distributor. If he increases his skating speed he will do alright. I think he is 2 years away though.

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01-19-2007, 12:26 AM
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I think that if Kots came in on a line with a playmaker and another skill player he would do fine. I wouldnt like to see him struggle on a kid line. This kid is a shooter with some playmaking skills

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01-19-2007, 01:00 AM
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I hated this pick and i'll probably hate it for quite sometimes...
I wanted a defenseman badly and meszaros was available same with mike green.
I know for lots of habs fans it was a consensus with chipchura, but to me he was 2nd round material.
anyway i'm just a fan and Chipchura still have plenty of time to prove me wrong !

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01-19-2007, 01:26 AM
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I love Chipchura, he is definitely my favourite prospect because those type of players often go unheralded. He is the perfect example of what intangibles mean to a team, as he has the leadership, drive, and smarts that makes teams win. He won't be the guy who scores 50 goals and gets 100 points, but he will be the guy that will win that key faceoff with 10 seconds left in his own zone, or he will block the shot that could have made the difference in a game.

Like Blind Gardien said, if he was in the NHL right now he would not look lost as he always makes the smart play and rarely will you see him make mistakes. What is also good is that he has offensive upside and he has the ability to get that clutch goal. He will be a top PKer and you might even see him on the PP just because his awareness and knowledge of the game is so good. He will do anything to win and I love guys like that. To me he is one of our few untouchable prospects (Kostitsyns and Price the others).

What is also interesting is that at one point he was the #1 North American prospect of his draft year (2004), meaning he was more touted than Cam Barker and Andrew Ladd, which says a lot considering they were phenomenal in the juniors, but he was sidelined with a groin injury. Chips also missed most of the 2004-2005 season when his achilles tendon was severed in practice. He would come back for the playoffs and get 4g 7a in 14gp. That just shows you his drive, as that can often be a career ending injury.

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01-19-2007, 02:55 AM
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...
What is also interesting is that at one point he was the #1 North American prospect of his draft year (2004), meaning he was more touted than Cam Barker and Andrew Ladd, which says a lot considering they were phenomenal in the juniors, but he was sidelined with a groin injury. Chips also missed most of the 2004-2005 season when his achilles tendon was severed in practice. He would come back for the playoffs and get 4g 7a in 14gp. That just shows you his drive, as that can often be a career ending injury.
This may turn out to best justify getting him so early, although Meszaros appears to be the choice justified by hindsight. Work ethic can make the difference between a player who stagnates and one who applies himself to systematically resolving the shortcomings in his game. With his mindset, I could see him working with a skating expert, such as the woman in the Montreal area who worked with Ribiero recently, and addressing his stance and mechanics every summer.

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01-19-2007, 06:43 AM
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I hated this pick and i'll probably hate it for quite sometimes...
I wanted a defenseman badly and meszaros was available same with mike green.
I know for lots of habs fans it was a consensus with chipchura, but to me he was 2nd round material.
anyway i'm just a fan and Chipchura still have plenty of time to prove me wrong !
J., that's what I like in a fan. You want to be wrong, because it means the CH will be profiting from it. I get that. Some want guys to fail so that they can be right. You're aces in my book J.

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01-19-2007, 08:40 AM
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Bob gainey
Now Chipchura is a re-incarnation of Bob Gainey? Funny...

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01-19-2007, 08:48 AM
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Now Chipchura is a re-incarnation of Bob Gainey? Funny...
He was giving you an example of a defensive player drafted in the first round.

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01-19-2007, 08:51 AM
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I don't think he's better than Garth Murray, personally.
You know I don't agree with you on that one about Ferland....

You might have won the first set, but I wonder if we'll have another chance to see if Ferland might be picked up when called up or that's why he wasn't called up yet....'cause they're too afraid of losing him.....

I feel while he probably won't drop the gloves, I belive he's a little faster but definately better hands and better hockey sense. Not first 3 lines material hockey sense, but that would make our 4th line one of the best especially if paired with Lapierre and Streit or somebody else.

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01-19-2007, 08:52 AM
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He was giving you an example of a defensive player drafted in the first round.
Right, the best defensive forward of all time.

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01-19-2007, 09:02 AM
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Right, the best defensive forward of all time.
He wasn't the best defensive forward of all time when he was drafted. He just gave an example of a defensive player taken i nthe first round. We don't know what Chip's career will be like any more then the guys that picked Gainey.

Though there were less teams in those days and Gainey was picked 7th overall whereas Chippy was picked 18th.

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01-19-2007, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by nittany View Post
Right, the best defensive forward of all time.
Or Mike Ricci, or Radek Bonk... , or Scott Harnell, or Sutherby (or his potentiel), or Weiss, or Mike Richards (have in mind last year's performance). If he's great defensively and rack up to 40 points, I'll be satisfied.


Last edited by Whitesnake: 01-19-2007 at 10:11 AM.
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01-19-2007, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whitesnake View Post
Or Mike Ricci, or Radek Bonk... , or Scott Harnell, or Sutherby (or his potentiel), or Weiss, or Mike Richards (have in mind last year's performance). If he's great defensively and rack up to 50 points, I'll be satisfied.
50 pts! That would be remarkable, but I really don't think he's got that offensive talent...maybe more around 30-35pts, 4th line center, with grit, emotion and leadership...

I agree that when you select a first rounder, you want him to be a essential part of the success of team in the future...I just don't see Chipchura becoming this kind a player...but, hey Kyle, proove me wrong, I'll be very happy

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