Actually, I think it's pretty decent for Staal to have even stuck! I've not seen an 18 year old player jump into the league and produce a big time amount of points in a long time. Nash put up 39 his rookie season. In my assumption, Bergeron will put up 45 or so. Spezza didn't even make the league as an 18 year old on a stacked Ottawa squad, and somehow 24 points for Staal isn't fantastic?! :p
On his 1997-98 season, Joe Thornton had only 7 points in 55 games in a lockerroom that housed such names as Bourque, Allison, Samsonov, Carter, and Heinze when he was still pretty productive. It had very little to do with the system, and more to do with the fact that 18 year old players take a season or two to progress. Staal is on pace to put up mirror numbers to Thorton's second season already.
I know this is a bit off topic, but it kind of bothers me when people assume that simply because of skill, an 18 year old player should come in and produce a point per game. It takes time people! As for the Detroit or Ottawa top 6 comments, who with an ounce of skill wouldn't produce better with all that talent? However, the down side is the fact that if Staal played for Ottawa, he might be in Peterborough this season playing with the Petes. I'd think it was the best thing for his production to be playing at an NHL level right now, because he's certainly ready.
First off all, I don't expect Staal to be averaging a point per game. He has done well, I agree, but if he was playing a top 6 role on a team like Ottawa or Detroit his numbers would be,IMO, higher than a guy like Bergeron in Boston. And as you said, if Carolina were any good, Staal wouldn't be playing in the bigs, or definetly not a top 6 role. As far as the comparison with Thornton goes, I'd like to know how many minutes he was playing, especially PP mins.
Either way my original post was not intended to discredit Staal, but moreso to show that I'd rather have a "bunch" of young players and be competitive than have 1 or 2 marquee names to be excited about while losing on a consistant basis. The original post I replied to basically said that Buffalo has no up and coming youngsters to be really excited about.
I can agree with that, but I just get a little defensive when it seems like people are trying to discredit the play of an 18 year old kid, when it's a wonder they're even playing in the league. I'm aware that you weren't trying to do that, but I just got the sense of "Staal is stuck on a stinker, thats why he's putting up bad point totals" and that offended me a little. Because it's nothing to do with the team really, it's a lot to do with the icetime and body maturation. All that was expected out of Staal this season was to go out there and not get himself killed. Play an 82 game schedule and try not to get concussed. Him scoring at all was a bonus.
Rick Nash plays on a poor team as well, but it hasn't hurt his numbers one ounce. He's still producing because he's still a productive player. Staal will reach that point one day, but he's not there yet. I'd say given the same amount of time played on a contender like Detroit, he might have a few more cheap points but there isn't any way he'd be a 30 goal player with 50 assists yet.
Having a young team is, in my mind, a big detriment. There are very few benefits from having a young team compared to an older one in my mind. You might say that a younger team will be better in the future. Well, I'd hedge my bets on 'older' teams such as Atlanta and Columbus ahead of the Sabres - no offense to Sabres fans.
That said, they are doing well for being so young. Most years, the youngest 5 teams in the league always seem to be out of the playoffs. Though I remember a few years ago, the Canucks were the youngest team in the league and just squeeked in.
It would be more impressive for Buffalo to have the youngest team, if they had huge impact players, but their best players at every position bar goaltending are older vets: Drury, Brown at center, (though Roy and Briere are a good 2nd and 3rd), Kotalik and Pyatt look like keepers but not stars, Satan is still the best winger. On defense McKee is a year older, Zhitnik is almost gone and Campbell/Kalinin aren't going to be stars.
Yup, his linemates for the season were Ken Baumgartner and his current coach Mike Sullivan. Not exactly linemates that would help you score.
Originally Posted by Caniacforever
Actually, I think it's pretty decent for Staal to have even stuck! I've not seen an 18 year old player jump into the league and produce a big time amount of points in a long time. Nash put up 39 his rookie season. In my assumption, Bergeron will put up 45 or so. Spezza didn't even make the league as an 18 year old on a stacked Ottawa squad, and somehow 24 points for Staal isn't fantastic?!
Ilya Kovalchuk put up good numbers as an 18 year old (65GP 29G 22A 51PTS). And so did Sergei Samsonov (81GP 22G 25A 47PTS) won rookie of the year as well. So it really hasn't been a while in since a player who was just drafted put up good number.