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You guys are so lucky (Matt Duchene)

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Old
08-27-2010, 04:24 AM
  #1
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You guys are so lucky (Matt Duchene)

I've been watching games from last season on NHL gamecenter recently, and last season I watched a couple Avs games, when they played the Sharks, and a few others, but not as much hockey as I usually watch last season as a whole. From what I saw of Matt Duchene, I'd formulated the opinion that he should have gone 1st overall, and that he was a very skilled player, a great prospect, and so forth.

But now, watching him more on the archived games, all I can say is wow. He might not just be the best player in the draft. He might be one of the prospects of the decade, along with Ovechkin, Crosby, Malkin et al. I can't help be reminded of Joe Sakic because of the sweaters and because he wore 19 and Duchene wears 9, but in many ways this kid is more than Sakic. He's half Sakic, half Martin St. Louis. If keeps working on his speed, he should be the fastest player in the league with room to spare. Couple that with his amazing hands, and he really is one of the most notable can't miss prospects of the decade, and somehow two teams did miss on him. I have a decent eye for talent, and I'm telling you guys, whatever wild hopes you have for this kid, you're undershooting. Think the Art Ross, Hart Trophy's, maybe a couple Conn Smythes. He is the best prospect I've seen since Ovechkin. Jonathan Toews just won the Conn Smythe, and Matt Duchene, on a skill level, is already better than Jonathan Toews, and once he gets more acclimated to the NHL, gets some experience under his belt, and puts on a little bit more strength, he will be much better than Toews overall. I know you all are extremely happy with him, and I'm just here to tell all of you to get ready to be even more happier with him this next season and seasons after that. Good players tend to play even better when they have more weapons around them, and the other team has to key in on more dangerous players, and more different types of players. Hopefully your management will add to this team sooner rather than later, and I think once you guys have some premier offensive defensemen that Duchene can work off of, that other teams have to defend against also, as well as a bit more size up front (and on the backend), that's when Duchene will really start to take over game after game.

The bottom line is the kid is phenomenal. I haven't seen anything like it. His combination of speed and puckhandling is, I believe, at this point, already unparalleled. I can't think of anyone else who has it. I would know about this watching him constantly as a Sharks fan, Marleau has nowhere near the stick skill that Duchene has. Martin St. Louis would be the comparative if he was still in his late 20's, but he's lost a step. Gaborik may be the closest currently but, like Marleau, he doesn't have that level of puck control either. Ales Hemsky might be the closest comparative but even he is not as fast. The only thing hindering Duchene right now is his average size and weight. He is already in a league of his own in the areas I mentioned, so once he improves on those things i think we all could see him start to produce in a league of his own (or with few others) sooner rather than later.

Most players, when they have such a big strength, like speed in Duchene's case, tend to just let that be and improve on their weaknesses. Given that Duchene is only 19, I hope he works on his skating the way a normal 19 year old prospect with average to below average skating works on it. If he leaves it be, he will be the fastest player in the league, and one of the best players in the league. But can you imagine, if he's like this at age 19, if he actually worked, hard, on increasing his speed? He could literally, no exaggeration, be the fastest player ever to play in the NHL, with room to spare. I truly hope the Avs go about developing him the way I would: working on his weaknesses, strength and size, but also putting just as much of a focus on improving his strengths. It's his strengths, after all, that will define him as a player, and that will determine his production, not his weaknesses. If Joe Sakic had settled with a top 30 wrist shot in the league, like a very good, almost great one, but not an exceptional one, we would remember him completely differently. It's going from that top 20 to #1 by a long shot that makes a player a Hall of Famer.

No matter what they do with him, you guys have a phenom on your club greater than I think most anyone realizes. I would not be at all surprised to see him hit 120 points in a season a few years from now. It's premature to say for sure, because obviously his development could get stunted and he'd end up as less than that, but I also think he can end up as even more than that if everything goes absolutely perfectly. He's just that good.


Last edited by Sharks14*: 08-27-2010 at 06:12 AM.
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08-27-2010, 04:36 AM
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Wow, thanks Sharksfan1515. I hope you are right. I think all AVS fans would like to see Dutchy among best players in the league. Personally I hope he avoid sophomore slump and hit 70+ season.

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08-27-2010, 04:50 AM
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Size up front? Check. (Stewie)
Up and coming offensive defensemen? Check.
Incredible work ethic? Check.

Let the trophies start rolling in! (Especially the Conn Smythe)

(ps, awesome post sharksfan1515, thanks!)

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08-27-2010, 06:21 AM
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Hey, thanks guys. I have to admit I thought I'd be met with scorn and "are you serious? even we don't think he's that good, idiot!" types of posts, but I've been left pleasantly surprised. Thanks for such a kind welcome to your boards. Of all the NHL teams fans I have encountered thus far (not toooo many different teams, but the Sharks and a few others), you Avs fans definitely seem the best, nicest bunch so far.

As for a 70+ point season, or whether he'll regress next season, I personally think the only way he regresses is if the team as a whole regresses. I don't think they will, at least not drastically, but it's possible. Generally to avoid even a chance of having that happen, you want to add to your up and coming team in the offseason. I have to say I'm disappointed the Avs management did nothing over the offseason. Marek Svatos is going to sign with Pittsburgh and score 40 goals playing with Crosby (not really), but that's a whole different thing. But just in general it's not like the team, although very good, is perfect, and there are always things you can do to improve, and I wish they'd done some of them. Willie Mitchell, Andy Sutton, or a number of other players would have added a bit more size to the defense corps, and at affordable prices. Size on defense was definitely an issue against the Sharks. Then again, I read somewhere that 1 in 3 NHL players use steroids, and I'm starting to think most of those come from the Sharks. Even guys who were so little that they got nicknames with the word "little" in them now look like gorilla's. It's ridiculous. But still, the Sharks aren't the only big team, and Avs management could have addressed that need, and others.

But, on the topic of Duchene, unless the team takes a huge step back as a whole, I think he can definitely get above 70 playing with Mueller and whoever he's going to be playing with next season. Mueller and Hejduk I think would suit him really well, as would Mueller and Stewart, or Mueller and Jones. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him hit 80 points next season if his linemates stay healthy and he gets 20 minutes a game.

And, on the topic of my first post, given that not even Ovechkin or Malkin have hit 120, or above, obviously everything would have to go perfectly for Duchene to achieve that. Thornton and Crosby both did it, Thornton in 05-06 and Crosby in 06-07, but the NHL was a different league in many ways back then, especially in 05-06. A lot of players (Thornton, Cheechoo, Hejduk, many others) accomplished things that season that they have not been able to replicate since. Everybody, especially defensemen, had to adjust to the new rules for the first time, and that adjustment created much more space for players than even the new rules in and of themselves did. In many ways it seems like the NHL is less open than it was pre-lockout. Yes, the holding and grabbing is gone, but because of that, defensemen have had to adjust and evolve, and now the gap control is by far better than it's ever been. Because of that, like I said, the league is different. It's harder than ever to hit 120 points, or 130, and in the heat of watching Duchene play maybe I put out an unrealistic number, but I did say it for a reason. Maybe it would have been better put just to have said that he can produce more points in a season than anyone else, even if the league just isn't producing 120 point players. But, then again, I did preface it by saying "if everything goes perfectly," so, in that sense I stand by my projection. Crosby and Thornton both did it, and I think Duchene will be able to do things both of those players can't. He can already do things Thornton can't, that's for sure. He's already faster than Crosby, but at this point I wouldn't put it past Crosby to be able to do a lot of the things Duchene can that don't include doing them at Duchene's top speed. Ultimately, it sounds crazy, and it would be crazy if it happened, but I did say "if everything goes perfectly," and, if everything does go perfectly, I think it's still true. Speed and elite level skill is what the new NHL is all about, and I don't think you can underestimate the way Duchene can skate, and stickhandle, right around, or through people, even at this stage in his career. Like I said I just haven't seen it, and when a 19 year old is doing something I haven't seen, well, that's what leads to crazy projections on other teams' forums. I've spent the last hour thinking to myself what kind of Vlasic + Setoguchi + 1st round pick + whatever the hell you guys would have wanted package I could have possibly thrown together to get that #3 overall pick from you guys if I was the Sharks GM during that draft. From what I've been watching of this past season (beginning of the year games so far), Duchene didn't seem to be getting any more than 15 minutes of the game, and the puck wasn't always finding him on those shifts, but when it did he was brilliant. There were about 3-4 plays a game he made that were brilliant, whether they resulted in goals or not. I think as he matures he will go from 3-5 bursts of brilliance per game, which apparently leaves you with around 55 points in a season, to 8-10 a game, to 10-12, etc, which will leave him with twice somewhere around twice that many points, and more ice time will help, and who knows what the ceiling is, if it's even more points than that. It could be. From what I've been watching it doesn't seem like the ceiling is on what he can do. The only limitation I've seen so far, which was probably a main factor in him only getting 55 points this year, was in how often he found the puck in a position where he could be creative with it, get to top speed with it, take on a defender, and so on.

I just wanted to add some to my original post because I got a little caught up in what I was seeing. That doesn't mean I don't think the things I said were true. I think they are. I wouldn't have been compelled to write this if I wasn't blown away. I just realized a little later I wrote that a sophomore player who had 55 points his rookie year could possibly end up getting 120 or more in a season, when no one has hit 130 in a long time, and I wanted to emphasize that everything would have to go perfectly. What got me thinking 130 or more, just complete and utter dominance, is only if he works on his speed. He's so fast now that if he really works on his speed, he will literally become twice as fast as most defensemen, and maybe more than twice as fast as someone like Doug Murray. And it's just my personal believe that, you know, the difference between being the exact same speed as the average defensemen, and being 1.5 times the speed of the average defenseman, means maybe 25 points difference in production. But the difference between 1.5 and 2.0 is like 60 points (for example, these numbers aren't scientific.) In other words, to me, in my opinion, it's exponential. At Duchene's speed, every little bit he adds will just make him that much more dominant, and if you can become literally twice as fast as the average defenseman, and have the skill to make moves with the puck that he does, then you will literally be skating circles around them, and that's the type of situation where one can start saying realistically that someone can hit benchmarks no one else has in a very long time. In other words, when you see a player doing something no one else can do, which is something I'm already seeing from Duchene, then I think maybe it isn't so crazy to think they can achieve things no one else currently playing in the league has achieved, or still can achieve, if you know what I mean.

But, you do have to have the players around you. Not everyone realizes the Avs were 6th in goal scoring last season, and you guys have a very I think to most fans underrated lineup, so by no means am I demeaning the team when I say this, but you have to have people to play with who are excellent, to really flourish to your full potential. Almost everyone on this Avs team can skate, and there is a lot of skill, and whenever I see John Michael Liles play, especially in the playoffs, I can never understand how he gets into the coach's doghouse, although I don't doubt he had poor stretches that I just didn't see. But, I think for the most part everyone on the Sharks has played much better, and been much more productive, since Dan Boyle arrived, and that speaks to what an offensive defenseman can do for a team, and its forwards point production. Mueller is a skilled player as are Hejduk, Stastny, Galliardi is underrated, Stewart and Jones are already quality players that should get better, but I still think you guys also need another big producer up front, in addition to an offensive defenseman. I don't know the best way to explain, but with the Sharks, I think your forward group is definitely slicker, faster, more agile, better with the puck, more creative, etc, yet the Heatley-Thornton-Marleau line is still a more productive line. They're all just so huge, and they eat the puck along the boards, and they keep it from the other team's defense, and opposing centers can't match up with Joe Thornton when they're defending him at all because he's so much bigger and stronger than them, and they just get a ton of goals by protecting the puck along the boards for awhile, slinging up to their defensemen, going to the net with their huge bodies, and finding rebounds and banging it in. Technically speaking, besides his skating, Patrick Marleau may not be as talented as Stastny, Hejduk, Mueller, whoever else, when it comes to actual skill with the puck, but he scored 44 goals last season because he's just such a prototypical thoroughbred in every sense of the word. It's not like he's a really gritty player either, but he's big, fast, and knows where to go to find the rebounds, and knows what to do with them. I personally think Stastny, at his best, is a better player than Marleau at his best. But my point is you need both. If the Sharks could trade Marleau for Hejduk, they might actually be a better team, because they already have two other thoroughbreds in Heatley and Thornton, and they don't have a slick guy like Hejduk. I don't want to say if you guys did that you might be a better team also, because I think very highly of Hejduk, and he can do things Marleau can't. I don't know if Hejduk is the right person to use in this example, but I couldn't think of who else to use. The point I'm trying to make, and Marleau isn't the best example of the Sharks either, but what I'm trying to say is I think the Sharks need to add someone like Peter Mueller, or Hejduk, or Stastny, and you guys need to add someone like Heatley, or Getzlaf (who couldn't use him though?), or Marleau to a lesser extent. A prototypical thoroughbred. Definitely hard to come by but, anyway. I just think variety is an important thing, as long as you don't add it at the expense of your strengths, and I think Duchene would benefit from someone like that to play with along with a Mueller type that you already have.

And on the back end, I think it's more self explanatory. Overall, with Kaminski, Liles, and Quincey on your backend, you've got some very good skaters. I still don't understand why Dean Lombardi gave away a future stud defenseman for what's turning into a worse and worse contract every year Ryan Smith grows older and less fleet of foot. I'm hoping it was just an injury in the playoffs, but he was looking like molasses out there. But, back on topic, your D skates well, but Foote seemed to deteriorate after the first few games vs San Jose in the WCQF, and you still lack that prototypical #1. He wasn't available this offseason via UFA anyway so it's not like you guys missed out, but still it would have been nice to see a few additions to the overall team. But in regards to Duchene, a hard shot on the backend creating more rebounds off the goalie helps everyone's production. A prototypical #1 offensive defenseman rushing the puck up the ice, making perfect passes, making smart, creative plays, helps everyone. I guess we'll see if I'm completely crazy or not over the next 10 years or so, but whether he's an 80 point per season player or a 140 point per season player, he's still a great player, and, most importantly, he has to skill to really turn it on and take over games in the playoffs, and I think he will.


Last edited by Sharks14*: 08-27-2010 at 06:37 AM.
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08-27-2010, 07:12 AM
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I'm afraid to say anything because I don't want chapter 3 of this novel to be posted.

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08-27-2010, 08:20 AM
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He's okay I guess

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08-27-2010, 08:32 AM
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Thanks sharksfan! Who knew one of our biggest advocates would be a fan of a rival team?

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08-27-2010, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hennessy View Post
I'm afraid to say anything because I don't want chapter 3 of this novel to be posted.
Well you can take the mindless two sentence drivel that's the norm on these boards if that's all your attention span can handle. I personally appreciate someone putting thought into their posts. (thanks Sharksfan1515)

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08-27-2010, 09:00 AM
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ABasin
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Originally Posted by Hennessy View Post
I'm afraid to say anything because I don't want chapter 3 of this novel to be posted.
Why is it that seemingly so many people in this Avs forum dislike long, well-thought out, intelligent posts?

Sure this one rambled a little, but a 3 word response (with two typos) along with a silly guy is better?!?

SharksFan, keep 'em coming.

-AB


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08-27-2010, 09:20 AM
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I don't really think he has "amazing hands" and most likely never will. He does have good coordination and is good at getting garbage goals around the net (lets say he has 75% of the skill around the net of Parise, which is the closest comparison I can see). His shot above average and his playmaking pretty good but there is room for improvement.

What he does have is great speed, great strength, he isn't afraid and he has good instincts. He also seems to have very good work ethic and will do all he can to improve. I am sure he will turn into a very useful 80-85p kinda guy. I don't think he will ever be a superstar 110p player. Hope I am wrong because, based on what I have seen this far, he is as likeable a player as you will ever find.


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08-27-2010, 09:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ABasin View Post
Why is it that seemingly so many people in this Avs forum dislike long, well-thought out, intelligent posts?

Sure this one rambled a little, but a 3 word response (with two typos) along with a silly guy is better?!?

SharksFan, keep 'em coming.

-AB
Personally I will read a fair bit before I go tldr and want to see some content. I read two paragraphs and the superlatives were a little over the top. I appreciate what the poster sees and agree that Duchene is exciting but the projections seem a little premature and emotional. I think most are here to banter and if they want to take the time to read thoughtful analysis they want to make sure the source is well place.

Wait a minute, tldr.

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08-27-2010, 10:01 AM
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Hey chief, it's tl;dr.

Hey, I'm a useless poster of the highest order, but I agree with ab. This is a well constructed, thoughtful opinion, and I appreciate his contribution. Good work, boss.

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08-27-2010, 10:35 AM
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Duchene boner.

hey, i hope you're right. I don't think any of us expect a sophmore slump because of his work ethic, and the fact he hit like 10 posts last year.. just needs to learn how to finish a little better.

but it's nice when other fans notice your team/a player on it, and it's not just use crazy homers overrating them

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08-27-2010, 10:38 AM
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He's no Stastny!!

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08-27-2010, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian View Post
I don't really think he has "amazing hands" and most likely never will. He does have good coordination and is good at getting garbage goals around the net (lets say he has 75% of the skill around the net of Parise, which is the closest comparison I can see). His shot above average and his playmaking pretty good but there is room for improvement.

What he does have is great speed, great strength, he isn't afraid and he has good instincts. He also seems to have very good work ethic and will do all he can to improve. I am sure he will turn into a very useful 80-85p kinda guy. I don't think he will ever be a superstar 110p player. Hope I am wrong because, based on what I have seen this far, he is as likeable a player as you will ever find.
What? He has great hands. If there is anything he needs to improve IMO it is his shot. It isn't good enough to score from the perimeter, so he needs to get in tight to score goals. I would say Parise, St Louis, Crosby and Kane are all good comparables. He has a little bit of each of them in his game.

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08-27-2010, 11:42 AM
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Hey chief, it's tl;dr.

Hey, I'm a useless poster of the highest order, but I agree with ab. This is a well constructed, thoughtful opinion, and I appreciate his contribution. Good work, boss.
Yah, wiktionary disagrees. It seems kind of ironic to insert any absolutely unnecessary characters in that particular piece of internet slang.

BTW - I wasn't intending to slag on the OP just explain why some aren't going to read it all. The great democracy of information in effect.

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08-27-2010, 11:44 AM
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http://avalanche.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=535602

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08-27-2010, 11:48 AM
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Anybody wanna buy him with me?


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08-27-2010, 11:49 AM
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I think you're absolutely right about all of Duchene's assets, sharkfan, but you forget one (or lump it with puck control) and it's actually my favorite: his strength on his skates. It's like Crosby or Forsberg when he gets low and puts that defenseman on his backside -- absolutely nothing you can do except hope he doesn't make a scoring play or commit a penalty.

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08-27-2010, 11:52 AM
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Anybody wanna buy him with me?

No cause I was the one that put him up for sale.

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08-27-2010, 11:53 AM
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I don't really think he has "amazing hands" and most likely never will.
Interesting. I think his hands are great - wonderful puck possession skills while making moves at full speed in tight spaces.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian View Post
He does have good coordination and is good at getting garbage goals around the net (lets say he has 75% of the skill around the net of Parise, which is the closest comparison I can see). His shot above average and his playmaking pretty good but there is room for improvement.

What he does have is great speed, great strength, he isn't afraid and he has good instincts.
I thought his strength was one of his weaknesses. He got knocked off the puck pretty regularly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Freudian View Post
He also seems to have very good work ethic and will do all he can to improve. I am sure he will turn into a very useful 80-85p kinda guy. I don't think he will ever be a superstar 110p player. Hope I am wrong because, based on what I have seen this far, he is as likeable a player as you will ever find.
The downsides I saw from Duchene in his first year: Inconsistent defensive play (normal for an 18 year old rookie); got knocked off the puck all season long (normal for an 18 year old rookie); his shot was wildly inaccurate, especially early in the season (not normal, and damn irritating).

Lots of upsides.

-AB

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08-27-2010, 11:56 AM
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If the Avalanche get LW Couturier next draft *unrealistic cross of fingers*

A line of Couturier-Duchene-Stewart would be up there in the best lines of the league










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08-27-2010, 12:11 PM
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Interesting. I think his hands are great - wonderful puck possession skills while making moves at full speed in tight spaces.
I think he has good hands, but not amazing. If Duchene has amazing hands what does Gretzky, Forsberg and Datsyuk have?

He does, for a scoring line player, have very good stick handling and coordination around the net. He does have an average shot and average playmaking (granted, this may be more related to his decision making which will improve). I don't see how that equates to "amazing hands", at least not if we want words have meaning.

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08-27-2010, 12:17 PM
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@Aitto: If we get a top 10 pick next year I would want David Musil!!!!!

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08-27-2010, 12:25 PM
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Adam Larsson. Jesus we don't need a winger to win the cup but we do need a legit no. 1 Dman.

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