Josh Winquist scored a goal today, it’s been awhile so it was good to see. As a lifelong hockey fan, one of the things that absolutely makes me smile is the underdog making the grade. In the case of Wingquist, the ‘grade’ might be AHL regular but that’s a terrific peak for anyone. We should never discount the difficulty of this beautiful game, nor should we be too quick to bury 20-year olds who don’t flourish on the first day of pro schooling.
Winquist doesn’t have an Oilers contract and who knows if he’ll get one. This summer, Edmonton has a plethora of prospects turning pro, some signed (Draisaitl, Chase) and as yet unsigned (Slepyshev, Houck) and goodness knows the club is pursuing an Iiro Pakarinen as we speak today. I was told by a scout Winquist is probably the smartest player on every team he joins but the foot speed issue is a legit concern. Still, this is a nice bet by the Oilers, better than a few of their recent draft picks and I hope the young man gets a contract somewhere for next season.
Over the last two years or so, I’ve become increasingly concerned about the way prospects are discussed on blogs and in comments sections. It’s a difficult thing to do, discussing kids at 20 and making statements about their future. Anyone who knows the overall odds on success (100 NHL games, which really isn’t very many, is considered a success in many circles) would be best to bet dead red and adjust to the curveball.
Cynical stance for sure. Me? I just like to cheer from the cheap seats, the longer shot the better. Blame Larry Mavety, blame Larry Patey and blame Greg Smith. They’re the culprits and Josh Winquist is the latest to pass through my purview. Godspeed, son. We’re cheering for you.