Oh well, not every prospect changes the game.
Tonight we have a chance to see 4 young players who have experienced the ups and downs of hockey since their draft day.
For the Edmonton Oilers, Sam Gagner and Andrew Cogliano had terrific rookie seasons one year ago. Cogliano’s speed is stunning to watch and he has enough skill to help a team offensively. Sam Gagner showed elite level ability one year ago and frankly was the best offensive rookie seen in these parts in 15 years (Jason Arnott).
Phil Kessel was a top 5 pick for the Bruins who received as much bad press as good in the years following his draft day. In the Gare Joyce book Kessel is framed as a questionable character and a high risk kid despite the skill. His first two seasons in pro seemed to confirm the question marks.
This season Kessel has scored 6 goals in 7 games and looks like he can score from anywhere. For those who like a good story Phil Kessel’s emergence this season is a beauty.
Milan Lucic is absolutely going to be a guy that fans from coast to coast wish their club had drafted (50th overall in 2006, the Oilers did have one shot at him but chose Jeff Petry instead) and you’ll probably see why tonight. He’s a freaking machine and does in fact remind old guys like me of the old Bruins, the big, bad Bruins who beat you on the ice, in the stands and damn near anywhere else you’d care to go many years ago.
MacT has Gagner on the 1PP to get him some confidence but even better was the kid’s response (basically he said that he wasn’t worried because the chances were coming. I am so impressed with Sam Gagner) and I imagine the points will come as the season rolls on. Fans need to remember our wunderkind had some slow periods a year ago (he was 1-2-3 in all of November and racked up some negative plus minus numbers throughout the season) and is in the black at EVs so far this season.
Cogliano has had a nice start and honestly the main worry isn’t about offense for this team. It’s the chances going the other way and the bleeding in their own zone that comes from a struggling defense. Even more troubling is that the culprit seems to change by shift and by evening and so addressing the blue appears to be a moving target. The forwards could help by waiting until they’re actually in the Ozone before losing the damn puck.
I think the Oilers win tonight, probably in the 4th period. Either way, for old Bruins fans like me this is a must-see.