Those who read this blog regularly know there are certain themes (really there’s about 5 things I keep beating to death over and over again). One of them is “saw him good”, the idea that many teams (baseball and hockey) can get the inside track by being lucky enough to see a player turn a corner when they were at the old ballyard to “see him good.”
The other side of the coin is “what if that was his one good game?” which has happened a time or two as well. The player in photo is Jani Rita, who scored a lovely goal in a World Championship Game in the late 90s and looked for all the world like a guy who would play in the NHL for years to come. Someone, certainly the Oilers, saw him good.
In one of the “saw him good” threads on this blog awhile ago, Rivers Q got off about 20 great points in the comments section. They were just outstanding, and I made a mental note to post them again when we all had a chance to give them more time and attention.
The basic premise of the original post (“Blue Bullet 30″) was about the 2007 draft and who to take. RQ dropped in and made the following comments:
- You know what would be great? If someone with a really rational take on the game kept an eye on these kids. You know, someone who values outscoring, playing tough opposition, two-way play, the relative contributions of defensemen versus forwards, etc.
- I hear about scoring totals, about “1st liner, 2nd liner” nonsense. Even the word “upside” makes me cringe at this point. Do they cheat for offense? Can they check their hat? Can they skate? Do they win puck battles? I realize this is much harder stuff to find, but it’s way more important than just looking at jacked up scoring totals.
- I’m also talking about more than just physical maturity. Winning puck battles, playing some kind of defense, not cheating for offense, skating, etc are not all attributed to a player’s physical maturity. Actual maturity, intelligence, competitiveness and hockey sense are part of the equation.
- I think if you’re drafting based on projected upside all the time, you’re begging for a high percentage of busts. It blows me away that a prospect that is clearly ahead of his peers can be considered less attractive because his upside somehow isn’t considered to be as good. Of course it’s not as good – he’s got a shorter path to an impact player. It’s like Vic’s thing the other day with the monkeys and the moon. Of course this is by no means restricted to hockey – I’m pretty sure most teams in most sports draft with this logic.
- I’m talking about sifting through the elite players and finding the true difference makers. One presumes they’ve at least crossed a threshold of offensive production.
Amazing stuff here. Thoughts?