With McIlrath, I can clearly see that the tools are there, he just hasn't mastered them yet. Hell, he really hasn't mastered any of them yet aside from the fighting aspect.
However, I can see the potential in him that folks inside the organization are excited about. He's a 19 year old kid who is still a long, long way from filling out an absolutely monstrous frame. He's goofy, lacks coordination, and his body hasn't quite caught up to what I think his brain is trying to accomplish.
Still, what I've seen is some good stick work, and his ability to read a play in both directions has improved considerably since he was drafted. His ability to end the play or distribute the puck is well below where it will need to be, but I hardly think he lacks the mental capacity to do it. He has a long way to go, but that's just fine considering there likely isn't even going to be a spot for him to earn with the big club for at least 2-3 years.
I get excited over prospects like Dylan. He's the sort of player where you can actually see the point in his development where his feet and hands finally catch up to his head and all you can do is say "woah."
I just want to add that McI definitely is struggling out there (I kind of forgot to write that in my previous post, but it was one of my key points), he is definitely be capable of playing a more solid game at this level than the level he is playing at now -- for sure.
The thing is, if he calms down, plays it safe, make sure to get the job done instead of trying to impress -- he is, after the top 2, pretty interchangable with the other 2-3. And that of course scares him. Samuel Noreau is what, a 5th round pick, McI sees him and obviously wants to be heads and shoulders better than him. That, more than anything, is the reason he is struggling.
McI has tools to be much better than SN. But he isn't on a completely diffrent level than him right now, and if he tries, he gets himself into trouble. Thats really the root of his problems.
The only real problem I see with Erixon is that he's making plays here that he just won't be able to even try in the NHL... now that's good in ways because he knows his competition and is clearly above in most aspects. But it doesn't tell me a lot as far as his thought process.
In the Dallas game for example he went into the corner for a puck that was dumped in, he slowed down to put a shoulder into the forechecker and then went and retrived the puck... in the NHL that guy either bowls him over or skates right around him. It really scared me lol.
Otherwise his poise and his passing, especially on the PP look brilliant.
That's what I see from him, too: a third pair defenseman. I, however, am hardly fine with that. It's what I expected when he was drafted, and that expectation hasn't changed, unfortunately. You don't take third pairing defensemen with the tenth pick in the draft.
You want to talk about looking for tools? These three games, he has simply reinforced what was already clear from his junior play. He's missing the most important tool of all: brainpower. The kid has no sense of gap control. Talented puckhandlers can blow by him or walk around him several times a game with ease because he doesn't understand where he needs to be located in relation to them in order to be able to successfully eliminate the possibility of their advancement. His physical gifts allow him to carry the puck in transition, but he has no idea what to do with it once he arrives in the zone. Several times in this tourney, he's gained the zone and lost the puck almost immediately. So not only is that an offensive zone turnover, a wasted offensive zone opportunity, but now the other team has an odd man rush against with one of your defensemen stuck up ice. Bonehead play.
These are the same issues that plagued his game 2 years ago. There has been hardly any progress on that front, and why would there be? He continues to rely heavily on his size advantage when playing junior hockey rather than developing a skillset.
I disagree on both accounts - I think he plays scared to make a mistake in this tournament based on expectations as a high draft pick and wearing a "C" on his chest, but his mistakes are more execution related in plays that he's clearly capable of making. He gets brain f**ts from time to time but it is not a problem at this stage of his development. I'm satisfied with Clark's estimate of his current stage in his development compared to last year and hopefully he gets to take steady steps forward in the next couple of years in juniors and AHL. If so he should be at least a top 4 defenseman in NHL within 4 years. Remember he's big and he's a defenseman so longer development is par for the course.
I disagree on both accounts - I think he plays scared to make a mistake in this tournament based on expectations as a high draft pick and wearing a "C" on his chest, but his mistakes are more execution related in plays that he's clearly capable of making.
How do you know he's clearly capable of making them when he doesn't make them? These are the same type of plays he doesn't really make in juniors, either.
I wish it looked like he was playing scared. That'd be a better explanation. The problem is that he doesn't look scared at all. In fact, there's no trepidation from him. He doesn't hesitate in throwing himself way out of position at puck carriers or taking far too aggressive an angle to a player instead of what a knowledgeable defender would do and sit back and establish position.
He gets brain f**ts from time to time but it is not a problem at this stage of his development.
What you call brain farts I call the most fundamental and important principles involved in playing defense. The building blocks. Not having them at his stage of development is, IMO, an enormous problem if the expectation on the player is that he is going to be more than a glorified enforcer/role player.
And this gets back to the core of the problem. Taking on projects like this is more than acceptable in the mid/later rounds of a draft. When you take a player with the 10th pick of the draft, it's a very scary proposition that after THREE seasons of major junior under his belt, he still doesn't have even a decent grasp on these concepts.
No doubt Hagelin and Erixon have looked very good, Erixon a bit slow but like Stall was a the beginning, he will adjust to the NHL hopefully and when he does hes gonna be a good one. But Hagelin looks very good, idk he hasen been talked about more and is not higher in the prospect ranking he looks like a top tier prospect to me and im excited to see him in the NHL training camp. Borque has also looked good.