|(New York Rangers)|
This lockout is leaving bloggers without Ranger content to write about so they turn to the CT Whale or the other Ranger prospects. I have lost count on the number of times I have seen "Joe Prospect has poor numbers so he is a bust" types of comments.
Looking at a scoresheet is not going to give you an accurate read on a prospect because there are too many things that don't show up in a scoresheet. 2012 1st round pick Brady Skjei is a great example because people look at his stats and assume that Skeji is struggling.
Never mind that the majority of those saying that Skjei is struggling have either not seen Skjei play or even know what role Skjei is being asked to play for the 4th ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers. How many even know the name of the team's coach?
** I will be the nice guy and introduce you to Don Lucia
Lucia has only been coaching for the last 25 years and just recently won his 600th game as a NCAA coach. Take the time to look at his resume and maybe give the coach some credit for knowing what he is doing with Skjei.
Love this bit of info
Lucia has helped many Gophers move on to the next level as well. During his 13-year tenure, 65 of his players have been drafted by NHL franchises including 14 first round selections. Erik Johnson was taken first overall in the 2006 draft by the St. Louis Blues while Thomas Vanek (2003), Blake Wheeler (2004) and Phil Kessel (2006) were all taken with the fifth overall choice.
Skjei is just a freshman and his role so far has been that of a "stay at home" defenseman so his offensive numbers are not going to be there. Don't be surprised if at the Under-20 Championships that Skjei doesn't even register a point.
Instead see who his partner is and see what kind of numbers he will put up. Check out what Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey says about Skjei
Meanwhile, Skjei is a very strong defense-first kind of defenseman with elite speed and skating to help him contribute offensively on occasion.
And Peters would know because he watches him play and happens to have an excellent read on the pulse of USA Hockey having worked for them in the past.
If Skjei does make Team USA then expect coach Phil Housley to pair him up with his old partner Seth Jones. Jones is the first to acknowledge that having Skjei as a partner allows him the freedom to go on the attack more because he knows Skjei has his back.
But here is where you can make a difference; make an effort to watch Skjei whether he is playing for Team USA or Minnesota. Go into watching him with an open mind and ignoring everything that you have read including what I am writing here.
Watch him play 3 different games from now until the end of the season. If you want contact me and I will email you a copy of the checklist used by the NHL's Central Scouting for your own use.
Grade him not by how many goals he scores but by his overall role in the game. Do that with Chris Kreider and J.T. Miller as well.
But more than anything give these prospects more than half a season before you start saying they won't make it.