BURNABY JOEY

As a fan of an NHL team that has employed some unusual and chaotic defensive options–from Ruotsalainen to Bergeron and beyond–this Joey Laleggia fellow is interesting.

  • Penticton Vees Coach/GM Fred Harbinson. “I think he’s a great example of a person who has taken a slower path. He took the extra year of midget and it really helped him coming in having an outstanding rookie year for us. Instead of taking a year off early and going to college, he came back for his second year of junior.”

Laleggia passed through a couple of entry drafts before being selected, but he was certainly on the radar for NHL teams before the 2012 entry draft. Laleggia is listed at 5.09, 180 on the Denver Pioneers site, which I’m sure made him a NP on a lot of teams (Flames would be an example).

Why would the Canucks invite him? Why would Edmonton draft Laleggia? Skill. If Laleggia is going to have an NHL career it’ll be in a specialized “PP QB” role. Does he have the ability? Well, he sure looks good from here. Last season, Laleggia’s freshman year in Denver, he had quite an impact:

  • led NCAA rookie defensemen in points (38), goals and assists (11+27)
  • ranked 5th among all NCAA defensemen in points-per-game (.88)
  • named HCA National Rookie of the Year, WCHA ROY, All-WCHA 1st All-Star Team, All WCHA Rookie Teeam, Inside College Hockey WCHA Freshman of the Year.

Smaller players have been having a bigger impact on the NHL draft in recent seasons, as if the lesson of Martin St. Louis (learned up close and personal by the Calgary Flames) took 15 years to learn. Undersized NHL defensemen included Francis Bouillon and MA Bergeron the last time the league dropped a puck in anger. However, the number of “Kris Russell’s” or “Taylor Chorney’s” far outnumber the success stories when it comes to undersized blue.

Is Laleggia good enough to make it? Hell if I know. Luck, coaching bias, injury and God knows what (Tom Edur–a very good NHL defenseman–quite to become a Jehovah’s Witness! Stuff happens, baby) will impact his career.

I like the draft risk, though. At #123 overall its a good plan to draft oversized wingers, goalies from East Jämsänkoski, and kids like Laleggia.

  • Corey Pronman: Laleggia enters his third draft-eligible season after a very successful first WCHA season where he was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year. He’s a good skater with a great offensive mind who would be a nice shot in the dark pick in the mid-rounds due to his notable offensive upside. He flashes high-end hockey sense with his quick game processing and he’s really effective moving the puck out of his own end and controlling the blue line on the power play. Laleggia has solid puck skills as well, at times showing above average, but he is a much better passer than he is an individual creator. He skates well, moving fluidly in all four directions. His main weakness is his physical game, which is below replacement level. I’ve seen him listed at 5’10″, which is generous in my opinion as he looks pretty small on the ice, and he is not effective at all when he’s engaging. Despite his hockey smarts, I don’t see him as being effective defensively to any notable degree at the pro level.

Laleggia is 20, but he’s got 2 more years of college eligibility left after this one. He scored a goal and an assist last night and appears to be high octane offensively. I find him to be a fascinating prospect, especially after watching a dull AHL game on television last night. Whatever else big, lumbering players provide, entertainment value is not one of them.

Joey Laleggia will never be boring. Here’s hoping he makes the grade.

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13 Responses to "BURNABY JOEY"

  1. gd says:

    Denver hosts Khaira’s Michigan Tech next week.

    The Minn-Michigan Texh game from Friday night that Tech won is on the Score right now. Khaira is playing C and he looks big and fast, but he looks like he needs to get stronger on the puck. The pace of the game is very fast. Minnesota has 15 drafted guys on its roster. I’ve got to think there are teams in the AHL that don’t have 15 drafted guys. Tech looks like a real up and coming program, which hopefully will be good for Khaira’s development. Love that he’s playing C.

  2. RexLibris says:

    This may be apples to oranges, but didn’t it take Tom Gilbert, who had the physical tools, several frustrating seasons to learn to take the body? If Laleggia is a prospect that the Oilers can afford to sit on for another three or four years (two NCAA and one or two AHL) before deciding that seems fine by me.

    D-men don’t usually begin to look ready before they turn 22 anyway, so waiting until he is 25-ish seems reasonable.

    As for physicality, if Laleggia can learn to stick-check and make a quick outlet pass to a supporting forward, then he ought to find NHL employment. If its a big bruiser that one wants, pair him with a grain-elevator body type and let the two of them collaborate.

    And as for gambling on a longshot in the later rounds, are you suggesting that Laleggia is a safer pick where he went than, say, an untested high-schooler at 21st overall/ ;-)

  3. DSF says:

    Just a remarkable story being written by JC Lipon of the Kamloops Blazers.

    Leads the entire CHL in scoring with 13GP 13G 18A 31P and the Blazers have yet to lose in regulation.

    Undrafted 19 year old who had a tryout with Colorado squelched by the lockout so is a player that any NHL team can take a flyer on when the lockout ends.

    Some background here:

    http://tinyurl.com/9u4nhnb

  4. Woodguy says:

    Joey Legs is the correct nickname.

    Now I’m going to get the papers, get the papers.

  5. voxwah says:

    I like Joey. Any friend of the Nuge is a friend of mine.

    Also I think the headline “Ben Eager of Oilers charged with assault after Toronto pub fight” should be updated to “Ben Eager of the waiver wire charged with assault after Toronto pub fight”

  6. Lowetide says:

    WG: lol. How about Joey two times?

    Voxwah: The first thing I thought of was that Oil Change episode where Tambellini is saying “I don’t want that guy near these kids!” and then he hires Eager. Hahahahaaahhahhaa.

    You can’t make this stuff up!

  7. voxwah says:

    Lowetide,

    Totally. I’m pretty sure Konopka would have gotten into more then 1 fight last season sticking up for his teammates. That was such a dumb decision. Lordy, the Oilers pro scouting sucks sometimes. (well most of the time). ba dum pum pish!

  8. "Steve Smith" says:

    The presumption of innocence, folks – let’s not forget it. People get charged with crimes after doing nothing wrong all the time.

    (If you want to waive Ben Eager for being a pretty lousy hockey player, mind you, be my guest.)

  9. Backhand says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    People get charged with crimes after doing nothing wrong all the time.

    Very bold statement. You must be a lawyer with a vested interest in trying to make that seem real.

  10. RexLibris says:

    DSF,

    Agreed. If Feaster had half a brain (debate to be held later, town hall format alright with you?) he’d be contacting Lipon’s agent right away. That team’s RW depth is so poor it is laughable. They have three RW prospects in the system, the best being Greg Nemisz who is likely doomed to be a lifetime AHLer, After that is Akim Aliu, great story but very limited talent, and a guy they just sent to the ECHL. They need a RW prospect almost more than they need an NHL center.

    Be interesting to see if he can maintain this season-long. As I recall Tanner Pearson was causing a stir this time last year.

  11. "Steve Smith" says:

    Backhand: Very bold statement.

    How is it a “very bold statement”? It follows naturally from the premise that the police, like every other profession, regularly screw up.

    Do you have any idea how many convicted murderers have been shown to be innocent? I’m not just talking about the ones who were improperly convicted (i.e. who were not shown to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a fair trial), but those who were actually conclusively shown, by alibi or DNA evidence, to be innocent? And bear in mind that’s people who were actually convicted, not just charged. And that’s just murders, whose investigation involves thousands of man hours of police work. You look at more minor crimes, where police will often charge on a single sketchy eyewitness statement, and the number is astronomical.

    You must be a lawyer with a vested interest in trying to make that seem real.

    You’ve got it backwards: I don’t want people to believe this because I’m a defence lawyer, I’m a defence lawyer because I believe it.

  12. DSF says:

    RexLibris:
    DSF,

    Agreed. If Feaster had half a brain (debate to be held later, town hall format alright with you?) he’d be contacting Lipon’s agent right away. That team’s RW depth is so poor it is laughable. They have three RW prospects in the system, the best being Greg Nemisz who is likely doomed to be a lifetime AHLer, After that is Akim Aliu, great story but very limited talent, and a guy they just sent to the ECHL. They need a RW prospect almost more than they need an NHL center.

    Be interesting to see if he can maintain this season-long. As I recall Tanner Pearson was causing a stir this time last year.

    Considering Pearson finished with 37 goals and 91 points, was drafted by LA in the first round and is a PPG player with Manchester, it would appear he warranted the attention.

    Lipon is on pace for a 72G 172P season.

    LIkely going to be this season’s Justin Shultz.

  13. Truth says:

    I always found it funny how a bouncer could knock all of your teeth out while just “doing his job” and not get in trouble with the law. When in many cases it was actually just a product of a meathead being a meathead. Lookout though when the meathead bouncer meets his match, a double standard.

    In no way would I condone an assault charge, but I have known a few bouncers that would willingly start something with an NHL player for the story alone. Looks like he lost.

    However, Eager strikes me as the type that would make a great bouncer. So who knows. As mentioned above I would also lean towards innocent until proven otherwise.

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