Springfield no "Oyster Bay"

Word this week that Chris Vande Velde has decided to stay in college for another year. Good news for UND, and I believe good news for the Oilers and their fans. Chris Vande Velde is playing at a level that challenges his ability and he’s having some success in terms of growth as a prospect. He managed a 56% faceoff percentage, scored well (18-17-35 in 43 games) and was +10 on a team with only two players in double black digits.

Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald uncovered a gem in an article on VVV this week. In the Friday Herald he revealed that one of the reasons he was staying in college was friend Taylor Chorney’s advice to him.

Quoting the article “I didn’t want to play a full year in the ‘A’ like Chorns and a lot of other guys did. Just talking to Taylor and some other guys, I felt that staying would benefit me and the team as well. Taylor had a fun year and he had a good year, but he really misses hanging around the locker room and hanging around a true team. He gave me some good advice. I took it and I feel like I still have stuff to prove, so that’s the direction I’m going to go.”

I think it makes perfect sense for Vande Velde to stay in college. Chorney turned pro a year ago, was thrown into the deep end of a very strong professional league, and fell flat. Earl Weaver always said the best way to develop players was to find a level of competition that was challenging for them and then let them dominate that level before moving on.

I think we can surmise that Taylor Chorney was hurried–not in turning pro–but in taking on the AHL heavy lifting so early in his career. Vande Velde is about the same age as Chorney and a forward usually has an easier transition to pro hockey than does a defender, but it’s still a good idea to let these kids develop on their own timeline. The 08-09 Springfield Falcons are the latest example of what can happen when NHL organizations get too giddy about fresh recruits.

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12 Responses to "Springfield no "Oyster Bay""

  1. Yeti says:

    Chorney really misses “hanging around a true team”. Ouch for the morale and camaraderie in Springfield.

  2. Lowetide says:

    Yeti: Yeah, it’s a killer quote and credit to the guy who got it. We could get carried away with what was said, but it certainly wasn’t “you gotta get here-fast!”

  3. Traktor says:

    I think an argument can be made that Chorney should have left UND sooner.

    By all accounts he regressed in his 3rd year of college.

    You want prospects to dominate any league but once they can get by with just 80 or 90% effort then you have a problem because the guy in the next locker room is giving 100% 24 hours a day just to stay afloat and it doesn’t take long for that gap to narrow and bad habits to set in.

  4. Mr DeBakey says:

    A few things at play here:
    -The Oilers want to settle and decide upon what they’ve got
    - The Oilers want less Rooks in Springfield
    - Nor do they want to be sitting at 48 contracts Opening Day

  5. PDO says:

    Agreed with Traktor. Chorney stayed there too long.

    That quote’s a whopper. Hopefully a wakeup call to management….

  6. Lowetide says:

    I think Chorney remains quality in the areas he counted as strengths in college. The problem is that the largest mountain for any defender–coverage–isn’t a strength and he has a learning curve straight ahead.

    He’s Tom Poti-lite based on the pro scouting reports.

  7. oilerdago says:

    What’s interesting in this is that it seems that VVV might be what this team really lacks, a 3C, but he’s not there yet. Another year @ UND dominating the pitching will do wonders for him.

    It will also allow the Oilers the opportunity to straighten their roster and Springfield.

    LT: I don’t disagree with your assessment of Chorney, but unless he takes a big leap forward in Springfield next year, he could be further away than all of us think.

    And if only one kid makes the roster next year (Peckham), that’ll be a good thing.

  8. bookie says:

    Perhaps the quote could be taken as follows – The goal of all of the players in Springfield is to be called up – lets face it, the rest (playoffs, games, etc) is all basically a training camp/practice session for the NHL. The old guys that are there are pretty much fillers to support the young guys. For Players like Chorney its like being the understudy in a big production…

    Being in college, you are thinking about the NHL, but you are playing for your college and you are surrounded by a bunch of young guys all excited about today. THe future is the future – you are part of a TEAM, not a farm team…big difference…

  9. Gord says:

    I do not worry about the “true team” wording.

    Agree with bookies response 100%…

  10. hunter1909 says:

    “The goal of all of the players in Springfield is to be called up – lets face it, the rest (playoffs, games, etc) is all basically a training camp/practice session for the NHL. The old guys that are there are pretty much fillers to support the young guys. For Players like Chorney its like being the understudy in a big production…”

    To use the Led Zeppelin v Loverboy analogy, I think these kids need to understand that some of them aren’t going to make the NHL. Some of them by even getting the the AHL have in fact reached their peak.

    Like a bigshot guitar player from Edmonton who goes to Los Angeles only to discover that there are suddenly dozens if not hundreds of guys just as good if not better then he is, which offers the guy a challenge: Either rise to it or pack your bags for home kid, you’re just another dud.

  11. Lowetide says:

    You know, we could make up a fictional character to reflect this. Call him “Jerry Edmonton” and he could be a guitar player (or drummer, drummer might be better) and he could form a band called, I don’t know, the Sparrows and he could get his brother to join and name himself Mars Bonfire.

    They could move to Los Angeles with a band that included a guy whose Mom fled Prussia with that kid as a baby twenty years before.

    It’d be cool.

  12. hunter1909 says:

    Lowetide: That’s an astounding level of thinking. Especially the Prussia bit.

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