Summer 2009: Not Ranked
In choosing Trukhno as the #20 selection on this year’s list, I’ve passed over men who are finally getting it at the pro level (O’Marra), junior players who were on the summer list (Kytnar) and a grade 12 student from Minnesota who may be playing for high school hockey’s version of the Harlem Globetrotters (Troy Hesketh).
Slava Trukhno is not having a very good season, he’s falling back from previous established levels in the AHL and he appears to be moving down the depth chart weekly.
Why then would I choose him at #20? Because for all of that he remains the one player still available to place on this list with true top drawer skills. The hardest thing in the game of hockey is to score a goal and this player has more ability than any of the other prospects available.
Let’s begin with the positives. Slava Trukhno has a very strong resume that includes terrific stickhandling skills, tremendous passing ability, good speed and a willingness to enter the fray. He’s not clueless without the puck and has improved since turning pro in several areas (footspeed, patience with the puck–especially on the powerplay).
- Craig MacTavish: “The guy has talent. He’s strong, sees the ice well and knows where to put the puck. On the powerplay he sees all of his options and explores them. He makes it tough on defenders.” Now remember, this isn’t Kevin Prendergast saying these things, it’s MacT.
- Jeff Truitt: “I thought he took some giant steps forward with his confidence and just being reliable on the ice, both offensively and defensively.”
I’ve tracked Trukhno closely since he turned pro (I thought he’d be in the NHL by now) and he has never been at the top end of the range in terms of young AHL talent. The numbers immediately below are boxcars.
AHL at 20
- Rob Schremp 69gp, 17-36-53 (.768)
- Jarret Stoll 76gp, 21-33-54 (.711)
- Marc Pouliot 65gp, 15-30-45 (.692)
- JF Jacques 65gp, 24-20-44 (.677)
- Kyle Brodziak 56gp, 6-26-32 (.571)
- Slava Trukhno 64gp, 14-21-35 (.547)
AHL at 21
- Rob Schremp 78gp, 23-53-76 (.974)
- Marc Pouliot 33gp, 14-17-31 (.939)
- JF Jacques 29gp, 10-17-27 (.931)
- Liam Reddox 65gp, 16-28-44 (.676)
- Kyle Brodziak 55gp, 12-19-31 (.564)
- Slava Trukhno 56gp, 7-19-26 (.464)
AHL at 22
- Kyle Brodziak 62gp, 24-32-56 (.903)
- Marc Pouliot 55gp, 21-26-47 (.855)
- JF Jacques 38gp, 11-14-25 (.658)
- Rob Schremp 69gp, 7-35-42 (.609)
- Slava Trukhno 28gp, 3-4-7 (.250)
There are factors that impact these numbers; one of them is the overall offense for the teams Trukhno has lined up for each season in the AHL. Their GF/game totals have fluctuated greatly (2.68, 2.32 and so far 2.62 by season) but that doesn’t account for the falloff in production. Also interesting is how those 7 points in 09-10 have been scored:
- October: 2 powerplay assists and a goal on a penalty shot.
- November: a powerplay goal, a powerplay assist and an EV goal and assist.
So he’s not performing well in any area, but his EV number is in the toilet:
- 07-08EV: 64gp, 5-11-16 (.250)
- 08-09EV: 47gp, 4-10-14 (.298)
- 09-10EV: 28gp, 1-1-2 (.071)
Trukhno began this fall with high hopes but was sent to minor league camp a full 10 days earlier than fall 2008 then began his Springfield season slowly. He is currently playing with lesser linemates; earlier in the year he was alongside Ryan Potulny and Colton Fretter, two players more suited to complementing his skills. He is in a contract year and may not be with the Falcons next season (in fact there’s a chance–this is me speculating–he could pull a “Hrabal” and head back home before the end of the season).
That said, and understanding this blog is about using math to track prospects, I’m going to choose Trukhno over the math because he’s quite simply the best available player left on this list. I think Rob Daum is an excellent coach and that Trukhno remains a terrific pro prospect and refuse to believe it ends this way.