The guy just turned 19 and is eligible to be back in junior, but I am predicting right now that the makes the Ducks roster for this season. I think it's a perfect combination of player readiness and team need.
The Ducks have a ton of talent in the top half of their roster, but things thin out fast, especially on their 3rd and 4th lines. As it stands now, they could look something like this in their top 6:
Bobby Ryan-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry
Jason Blake-Saku Koivu-Teemu Selanne*
*is still unsigned
After that things get pretty silly with guys like Cogliano and Parros assured jobs. People like Macenauer, Bonino, MacMillan, Gordon, Jacques etc fighting for spots with young guys like Etem, Smith-Pelly and Palmieri.
Smith-Pelly might be young as a 19 year old but his game fits exactly what they need on the 3rd line. He's a very hard worker, he hits like a truck, he's responsible defensively, he can kill penalties or play the PP and he will provide key offense as a depth player. I think he sticks as this is basically a perfect fit. Hell, if Selanne doesn't re-sign I could see both him and Etem on the roster this year.
This is one of those predictions that I enjoy making because it's not a huge gamble, but it's also definitely not assured. It's like when I predicted RNH to the Oilers in February!
So, what do you think?
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He could make the team. The Ducks are definitely going to give him a shot at a bottom six spot. I'm also interested in what you guys might think his ceiling is, is the offense there for him to be a Brenden Morrow type player?
Linking something that is complete crap? Doubt he watched Fowler play at all and just looked at his +/-. Or watched that many Ducks games at all, Fowler was the best defenseman with whoever he was paired with. His partners were crap.
That article is complete crap, it's obvious the writer didn't watch Fowler play more than a few games because most of what he wrote is ********. I'm going to trust my own eyes and Randy Carlyle's opinion a hell of a lot more than some moron who didn't watch Fowler play who used statistics that don't paint a true picture of Fowler's ability.
The Ducks didn't let Getzlaf, Perrry, or Ryan jump right into the lineup.
Smith-Pelly is physically ready to play against men, but I don't see how having him play a full season working on the fine details & other aspects of the game and gaining confidence dominating against his peers would be bad for his development.
ANA has other guys (i.e. Palmieri) that may deserve a shot over him just based on age & maturity. It's somewhat akin to Eakin playing in the WHL this year -- sure, he could have made the Caps, but going back to juniors and dominating did wonders for him.
As good as DSP is, he hasn't "outgrown" the OHL. If Selanne retires, it may be a different story.
I'd return DSP to the OHL if I was running things in Anaheim. Yeah sure, he's one of those kids who at 19 could probably survive in the NHL. I don't think he'd be a difference-maker, though. Whoever else they have auditioning for lineup spots to fill out their roster (Palmieri, Maroon, Bonino?) is probably going to be capable of making approximately the same impact (and likewise not be difference-makers).
DSP is physically mature and has a great work ethic, but it's true that he still hasn't dominated offensively. He played on a balanced, systematic team, and his individual stats weren't eye-popping. He has a few more skills than he was able to show, he could use his release and shot to even greater effect, learn to use some of the time and space his hustle and phyiscal determination give him to make more creative plays. I'd think if I wanted to push the envelope on his upside as a player, I'd return him to junior and let him develop that side of his game further. Being "able to play in the NHL" doesn't automatically mean that that's the best place for him. Maybe the OHL is, maybe it isn't either, but I'd sure keep that option in mind and not decide on anything prematurely.
I understand the part about returning to the OHL to "have another year of dominating" his peers. I just think that this will be a situation where he absolutely forces the Ducks hand. He will play too good in training camp for them to put him down.
I understand there will be a ton of competition for those few spots, I just think that he is primed to stand head and shoulders above those other players. That's the essence of the prediction.
For me, it will likely come down to one of DSP and Palmieri. I also like DSP's chances but Palmieri probably has the upper hand here.
Looking at the players alone, that's probably correct. However, there's a few factors around it that will have an impact on how things turn out. The first thing is the role that player will have to fill, which will - most likely - be the wing spot on the third line with MacMillan and Cogliano. While the Murray/Carlyle want that line to generate more offense than the recent third line combinations did, I feel Palmieri would fit better on a second line type, and DSP might fit a little better there. No problem if anyone feels different about that, obviously.
A bit of another factor is the prospect of having Holland and Palmieri anchor Syracuse's top line this season together and develop some chemistry playing against men. The comparision to Getzlaf/Perry seems obvious in that regard, and both could be up for some heavy NHL duty as soon as one year from now.