Hodgson

 

In the last decade there have been a number of elite forwards who were slow developers. They either got stuck in deep organizations, suffered injuries or simply needed more time to produce. These late bloomers didn't emerge as potential stars until their early twenties. They are hard to distinguish from players who go on to have average careers or no careers at all. Some recent examples of late blooming forwards include Logan Couture, Michael Grabner and Bobby Ryan in 2009.  In the last 10 seasons there has been roughly one late blooming prospect per season. These players emerge on average at age 22 and all have gone on to some variation of fantasy stardom. Who is going to be this season's Logan Couture or Bobby Ryan? Here is a list of candidates, their age this season, and their point predictions.


Cody Hodgson 21, Vancouver



Hodgson has suffered a series of back injuries and then a broken orbital bone that has delayed his development. Many argued the leading scorer at the 2009 World Junior Championships should have won tournament MVP, however, it was given to John Tavares who signed a $33 million contract this summer. Hodgson has the talent and the drive to produce like Tavares and is one of the favourites to break through this season. Vancouver's depth is the only thing in his way and he appears to be taking care of that in the pre-season. He's had an excellent camp so far. He's played in two pre-season games and was even against Calgary playing third line minutes (13:29) in a 5-1 loss. His solid performance earned him second line minutes (17:27) against Edmonton and he was named first star. Hodgson is too good at this point for Vancouver not to give him at least top nine minutes and time on the second power play.



Prediction: 47 points and a Calder nomination.



Zac Dalpe 21, Carolina


Although not the best player on this list, Dalpe has one of the best chances to break through this season. Originally thought to be a transition player a couple of months ago, Carolina appears to think he's ready. They will give him every opportunity to play at least in the top nine and possibly the top six. He scored almost a point per game in the AHL last season, has a hard, accurate shot and is a tireless worker. He should get some points. He played one exhibition game (against Buffalo) and scored a nice assist playing on the third line with Brandon Sutter. He's had a good camp.



Prediction: 37 points, but if he breaks the 45 point barrier (cracks the top six) he could get a Calder nomination.



Blake Geoffrion 23, Nashville



He played 20 games for Nashville last season and acquitted himself nicely. He scored a hat trick and managed six goals. Geoffrion is more than ready and should play at least fourth line minutes but will have to fight Nick Spaling and Colin Wilson for third line ice time on the left wing. If a left winger or center gets injured, Geoffrion will be the beneficiary. He's been solid in the pre-season, scoring one goal and one assist in a 5-3 victory over Florida. He was the second star of that game. Nashville is a low scoring team and that will affect Geoffrion's point totals.

 

Prediction: 25-30 points.   


Kyle Palmieri 21, Anaheim


Dobber really likes Palmieri so he's on this list. Palmieri can play centre but is going to be in a brawl with Dan Sexton for the third line right wing spot. There is a lot of fight in this dog so don't underestimate Palmieri. He's an excellent skater, an energetic player who can score goals. It would be more comforting if his AHL stats were better, but his 10 game call-up last season went well. Palmieri managed a goal and an assist in a 7-4 pre-season loss to Phoenix. Unfortunately, he was -1 despite scoring two points so he didn't play a defensive gem. He's going to need another season to produce decent numbers.



Prediction: 30 points.



Brett MacLean 23, Phoenix


MacLean could turn out to be an average player (or an AHL one) because he's not a great skater. He played 13 NHL games last season and although he's fine in the offensive zone, he's a defensive liability which could cut into his ice time. On the plus side, MacLean has improved his skating and has worked hard to become a decent prospect. There are still skating concerns which are always hard to shake for a prospect. Phoenix pasted Anaheim 7-4 recently and MacLean didn't register a point in almost 15 minutes of ice time. He got a second chance against LA, with 15 minutes of ice time and again came up empty. He even missed a penalty shot. Between his poor skating, poor defensive play, advancing age and a poor pre-season, MacLean has a lot of question  marks.

 

Prediction: 22 points.


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Stuart McDonald said:

Slantman
... Slufoot, you were bang on about Gordon. Major kudos to you!!

Dave, I saw Tangradi at the rookie tournament and wasn't impressed. Palmieri had a bad camp and was sent packing fairly early. Boychuk was the last cut. I have always liked Boychuk even though had a bad camp. Here is a quote from Kukla's corner on Boychuk:

"Boychuk would later say that he wasn’t as prepared as he should have been. He worked hard this summer and he arrived to training camp early, hoping to get up to speed and impress the coaches. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to impress the coaches. From what I’ve heard and read, he didn’t look good in any of the scrimmages or pre-season games.

Not every Canes fan agrees with me here, but I fully expected Boychuk to make the big team, and play the entire season in Raleigh. It looks like he’ll have to bide his time and wait for an injury to one of the regulars. As of right now, Tuomo Ruutu isn’t playing at 100% and will be rotated in and out of the lineup after suffering a “lower body injury."

I think his size is holding him back. Smaller guys take longer and Boychuk is only 5'10. I don't see any of them producing big numbers soon, if at all, although Boychuk is your best bet.

September 30, 2011
Votes: +0

Dave said:

supaguy46
Palmieri/Boychuk/Tangradi If you had the option of drafting Palmieri/Boychuk/Tangradi who would it be and why? Thanks for your input.
September 28, 2011
Votes: +0

Stuart McDonald said:

Slantman
... Thanks Dodger and Slufoot for the kind words. Slufoot, I hear what you're saying loud and clear and am more inclined to agree with you than with Dobber. The problem is that over the years Dobber has been right too many times for me to argue with him even when it comes to prospects. I'll never forget drafting unknowns like Derek Roy, Eric Staal and SO many others near the end of my drafts only to have people asking me "what the hell are you doing? Who are those guys?"
September 25, 2011
Votes: +0

slufoot said:

slufoot
Ducks 3rd RW If Palmieri makes the team I`ll eat my hat. Dobber`s been pumping his tires all summer just because of a 15-game hot streak to end the season. He`s flashy, but not ready. Sexton has posted decent numbers in two half-seasons at the NHL level. Gordon finally has a shot after being buried in Washington on the right side by vets. (It says a lot that the Caps released Chris Bourque from camp a few years ago so they could keep Gordon instead). Sexton or Gordon will be the 3rd line winger this year.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0

slufoot said:

slufoot
GREAT ARTICLE Finally a dose of reality! Love the insight Stu. Realistic projections for these guys (unlike what is in the guide). I've noticed more of your tweets in the margin the past few days and they've been spot on. Not sure if you just recently started an account, or Dobber just added you, but keep up the GREAT work.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Draft Dodger said:

steve_oshp
Great article Excellent read Stu. Good to see some tempered expectations on the younger NHL players. Hopefully Hodgson does well this season and gets his career going. He is such a smart and talented player he still has the potential to one day become a really good first line player IMO.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Stuart McDonald said:

Slantman
... Gordon is interesting. He's a proven AHL scorer but hasn't quite made the jump yet. I generally avoid those guys but he could find his niche on the third line. You could be right. Players like Gordon are hard to read.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Lukasz said:

pahlsson26
... I'm not sure Sexton is going to make the team. I'd say Palmieri will be battling for that 3rd line RW spot with Gordon.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Stuart McDonald said:

Slantman
... I would give him another season to prove himself but when potential top six forwards have skating issues my alarm bells go off. I've seen far too many MacLean types end up in the minors. I was hoping he'd come out gangbusters in the preseason, but he hasn't done much so far. Keep an eye on him over the preseason and see what role he grabs when the Coyotes break camp.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan said:

letnry
... Wow, you really tempered my expectations on MacLean.
September 24, 2011
Votes: +0
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