I’m always fascinated by the process that turns young amateurs into seasoned professionals. In the case of defensemen, it’s a slow and often painful process.
When I was a kid, there were 12 teams and the good clubs had maybe one or two new guys at the most each season. Toronto had a bunch in the late 60s, that was probably the first crew I can remember following. That’s the Jim Dorey-Rick Ley bunch. Pelyk was supposed to be the best of the bunch but it didn’t turn out that way at all.
That’s sort of the reason for this post. Looking at the Oilers young defensemen currently–the group that includes Peckham, Petry, Chorney, Plante, Motin–we could probably choose one or two as favorites but injuries, luck, timing, desire and coaching bias all contribute to those 5 kids and their future. And even though Plante hasn’t seen the NHL this season and Motin looks like he’s fading, that’s just what we see right now. You never know which kid is going to have the light go on and which kid is going to destroy a knee.
Injuries. Luck. Timing, Desire.
Watching Jeff Petry on the weekend, you could see the kid was a deer in the headlights; it was a far cry from the “puck poise” he displayed when called up. The Oilers sent him down and recalled a former deer in the headlights, Taylor Chorney. Chorney’s first game with the Oilers this time around was impressive. Scored on the PP, added an assist and played almost 19 minutes; even for the night. Confidence. Sometimes it’s easy to forget the power of confidence, especially when it comes to youth.
I have an email address for the Nation Radio show now. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org and should be ready to roll now. I’m still lining up guests for the weekend, but have confirmed Gabriel Desjardins from behind the net as one of the guests. I’ll only have about 15 minutes, but will ask as many questions as time will allow. Shoot me an email if there’s something you’d like to know and we’ll get it from Mr. Desjardins.