Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Wed Report

Prospect Action

Antoine Lafleur (07 2nd Round) got his first win of the season Wed night as his Prince Edward Island Rocket defeating Lewiston 4-1. For Lafleur it was a nice game to rebound with after being pulled on Sunday.

I know that people are going to say that Lewiston was missing several key players due their still being in NHL camps but a win is still a win for a young goalie like Lafleur. Lewiston has owned the Rocket over the past couple of years winning 14 out of 19 games between the 2 teams so short roster or not, the MAINEiacs are a very good team.

Stat wise Lafleur had it easy as he gave up 1 goal on 18 shots. Of those 18 shots only 8 were called serious scoring chances so when he had to be Lafleur got the job done. I still believe that the kid suffered "Draft Year Hangover" so a game like this will help remove his "Hangover"

Hugh Jessiman

Here is the case of a prospect that you can say had everything go wrong for him that could go wrong. Where to begin is actually tougher than listing all that has hurt his career so I got to start with this one:


Here is a kid who came from a smaller HS program and had one really good freshman year at Dartmouth. Hugh jumped up the draft ranks like a shotgun and maybe the blame for how his career developed can be pointed at all those supposed draft "experts" and not the kid.

It was not his fault that he got hyped by the media and draft websites. However because the Rangers took him (I had him as a very late first rounder) so high at 12, no matter what he will never be viewed as more than a bust.

Development Restrictions

Because the NCAA has so many rules against a prospect getting help from the team that drafts him, there is little that either player or team can do to help his development. A player must pay his own way otherwise he becomes a pro (which is why we are seeing more and more college players leaving school to join a junior team) and has to leave school.


Breaking his leg in his junior season did more damage than anything else because Hugh is a power forward and PFs need as much playing time as they can get. In 3 years at Dartmouth Hugh got to play a total of 80 games. Contrast that to any kid playing in the juniors (who in a regular season get 70) and you see why Jessiman has been so slow to develop which leads to this one:

Bad Advice and Decisions

This is where Team Jessiman failed Hugh more than anywhere else from his agent (OK advisors since the NCAA does not allow agents) to his parents to even the Rangers as IF it was up to me I would have pulled him out of school and sent him to the Canadian Junior team.

So many misread Jessiman's first season where basically he came out of nowhere to have the season he had. In his sophomore season other teams knew what to expect and double or triple teamed him because his team simply did not have enough talent to protect Jessiman.

Had Jessiman gone to a CHL team he would have had more talent to play with, coaches better equiped to prepare him for an NHL career but most important he could have attended Ranger rookie camps something he only got to do once before turning pro.

Play along with me now as let us compare what might have been Jessiman's fate had he left Dartmouth after his freshman season and went the junior route for the 2003-04 season. Right off the bat he gets to play (if healthy) 70 regular season game, about 5-6 preseason games and who knows how many playoff games. He could have played as many as 90 games AND then joined the Wolfpack since he had turned 20 during the season.

Just one season and he would have more than double the number of games played. I am pretty sure but not 100% that he could have spent 2004-05 in the juniors as well as an overaged player which would have given Jessiman close to 200 games of playing time.

Jessiman's Future

Of course this is hindsight which everyone has but seriously instead of a prospect who by most Ranger fans has been labeled a failure there might have been a decent player developed. I am not giving up on him just yet but I do not see him as a first or second line NHL player.

He at best could be a checking forward with his size but I simply do not see him (because of the lack of progressive development training) becoming an elite player like many in his draft class.

Next Time I plan on talking about how some rank Ranger prospects.

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