Slava Trukhno takes one of the bigger dives down the prospect rankings this winter and it all boils down to one reason: he needs to be delivering more.
Trukhno looked good in TC and many of us felt he would have an impact in the AHL this year. In the reasonable expecations posts I wrote “more of a powerplay specialist than we thought he was based on scouting reports, Trukhno seemed to find his way as he moved up the depth chart. This will be a huge season for him as he was average or below in all categories. Reasonable Expectations: He should be able to establish himself on the top 2lines and as a viable option on the 1st powerplay.”
Last season in the AHL Trukhno went 64gp, 14-21-35 .547. Here are his numbers broken down by category:
- EV: 64gp, 5-11-16 .250
- PP: 64gp, 9-10-19 .296
- Shots: 94 in 64 gp, 1.47 per game
I think a reasonable expectation (in terms of numbers) would be something like 75gp, 20-40-60 .800, which is basically 1.5x the offense from 07-08 (plus fewer times out of the lineup). Reasonable? Remember, he’s getting extra time at EVs plus a lot of special teams opportunities. Here’s his progress so far this season:
- EV: 24gp, 1-7-8 .333
- PP: 24gp, 2-5-7 .292
- Shots: 44 in 24gp, 1.83 per game
Should he play in all games from here on out (he’s missed one game with the flu) and deliver offense at the same level as he is currently, Trukhno’s season ending numbers would be 79gp, 10-39-49 .620 for 08-09. That’s not “in the range” offensively but I do like the fact that his EV/60 is up (as we’ve discussed, Brodziak, Nilsson and now Schremp all improved markedly in this category just before/as they were elevated to the show).
Trukhno is a guy I’m always going to pull for, because he has more than one dimension to his game. Whenever I see him at TC he can make plays against more experienced men when possession in the offensive zone is established. He’s highly skilled. It’s all the other things (foot speed, positioning, etc) that seem to hold him back and I’d be interesting to know just how many times this season he’s been on the top line.
As a matter of fact the Springfield Falcons website supplies us with the lines every game so let’s post who he’s been playing with so far this season:
- Gilbert Brule-12
- Tyler Spurgeon-8
- Bryan Lerg-7
- Carl Corazzini-7
- Ryan Potulny-6
- Liam Reddox-4
- Colin McDonald-1
- Ryan O’Marra-1
- Stephane Goulet-1
- Rob Schremp-1
I think it’s pretty clear he was a 2nd line player through much of the first 24 games. When Schremp got called up Trukhno moved up the depth chart and has played several games with Potulny and Lerg. Earlier in the season he spent several games with Spurgeon and Brule, and I think you can argue those two guys were better than the scrubs.
Finally, let’s look at plus minus. I know it doesn’t give us a terrific view of minor leaguers but it can still be a useful tool. This season, there are 5 regular forwards who are better than Trukhno’s -1: Ryan Potulny, Rob Schremp, Bryan Lerg, Tyler Spurgeon and Guillaume Lefebvre. Brule is also at -1 and the only surprise in the group might be Corazzini (-5) who we can presume has played in bad luck since he’s been with the forwards above much of the season.
Anyway, mid-pack plus minus for 08-09. Fair?
A season ago, Trukhno was -16 for the season. Here’s the tail end of the Falcons F roster in 07-08:
- -14 Ben Simon
- -15 Rob Schremp
- -16 Slava Trukhno
- -21 Colin McDonald
- -25 Tim Sestito
The best number was posted by Liam Reddox, +10 in 65gp (incredible based on the other F’s numbers). Trukhno has improved in this area, and combined with the better EV/60 number there are positive indicators. The question becomes it is enough? Has Trukhno done enough to be in the mix for callup? Is he improving enough in his second pro season that we can reasonably say he’s finding the range?
I don’t think it’s an obvious “yes” to any of those questions, so Trukhno falls back into the pack of prospects who have several positives and negatives in their game. There will be players from the group who emerge but Trukhno’s numbers don’t make it obvious he’ll be one of them.