Current Rank: #11
Summer Rank: #4
Taylor Chorney had a pretty nice college career and a lot of smart hockey men said nice things about him. Geoff Ward: “He’s steady in all areas and that’s what sticks out to me the most. He’s a strong passer, moves the puck well and the thing I really like is that after he moves the puck he follows it up the ice so he’s always in a position to be the fourth man. He’s a guy that has tremendous upside and as a freshman right now he does a lot of things very well. I think in three years we’re going to be extremely excited to see how far he’s come.”
That was the backdrop, the foundation. Chorney had the kind of resume that drops hints all over about being a little better than the next guy, a stronger bet for a career, a guy who could jump a league on his way to the show. As an example, Chorney represented the United States twice at the World Junior level (once as captain). Chorney attended the University of North Dakota for three seasons before signing with the Oilers in the off-season. He did suffer an injury right at the end of his college career but we have no evidence it has had an effect on his career.
After Chorney signed with the Oilers he came to camp and did some good things. After the Joey Moss game I said “he’s not ready but you can see he’s a player. Good speed, made a beauty teeup pass to Visnoveky for a great shot on goal that resulted in the Eberle goal. You’re going to like him.”
And the good reviews continued when the Falcons brass got hold of him. Coach Jeff Truitt: “He’s been unbelievable so far. He’s such a smooth skater, he sees the ice really well and has great poise with the puck. When he has the puck, good things happen. He makes good reads and is sure noticeable with his skating ability, he’s so smooth out there. He’s a great player.”
Before the season, I suggested reasonable expectations might be a full, healthy season in the AHL, with a plus minus in the middle of the D pack and enough offense to justify his draft number.
And he’s been a dud. A complete non-starter. It’s hard to imagine a worse start to a pro career for a guy with this much promise. Further irritating the situation is that the positive verbal keeps on rolling. Guy Flaming (from his site Coming down the Pipe!) had a chance to talk to Truitt early in the season and asked if there were any pleasant surprise. Truitt: “I wouldn’t say that I’m surprised but Taylor Chorney has been really good. His confidence with the puck and his all around game, he’s obviously a highly touted guy and deservedly so. He works extremely hard, sees the ice, moves pucks really quick but having him in rookie camp for a bit he’s not really a surprise because he’s a great player. We’ve had him with Theo [Peckham] or Jake Taylor and he’s been really good every night.”
The numbers tell a very different story. Here’s the Springfield D and their plus minus:
- Sebastien Bisaillion +6 (19gp)
- Cody Wild +6 (15gp)
- Theo Peckham +4 (20gp)
- Jake Taylor +4 (12gp)
- Josef Hrabal E (10gp)
- Bryan Young -2 (15gp)
- Robbie Bina -2 (11gp)
- Mathieu Roy -7 (14gp)
- Taylor Chorney -10 (23gp)
Chorney has had 3EV assists and 2PP assists and he hasn’t hit the scoreboard since November 8th (12 games without a point). He’s had at least one minus in the last 5 games and is -6 over that stretch. He has been falling down the depth chart and is currently on the back pairing with Robbie Bina.
Taylor Chorney has always been a favorite of mine. Sure he’s undersized and there’s always a learning curve but at the World Junior’s it was obvious he could play and he had a nice career at UND. I didn’t think these would be the early results and at some level you can justify it and say well he’s 0-for-April but those line drives will find their way eventually. I’ll tell you, this is a helluva slump.