Good things take time; that’s just the way it is. As much as it might pains them to do it, coaches of the National Hockey League have to resist the urge of sending in boys to do the work of men–this is a reference to experience and readiness, not their manhood. Rushing prospects into a club is risky because it throws instant pressure on them and there is the very real possibility that they are not properly prepared. While the process might be a little slow, development is the top priority to keep the interests of these players at heart. After all, the image of a highly tuned star in three to four years beats seeing someone become damaged goods because he was utilized prematurely.
With Claude Giroux, the Philadelphia Flyers chose the patient approach. Selected in the 2006 Entry Draft, his progression was as follows: two more years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with a two-game NHL stint squeezed in there, a rookie season in which he kept his composure adamantly and a sophomore year that can hardly be constituted as a slump, but he was nowhere close to his potential. While he wasn’t quite spectacular in the regular season, his magical play really shone through in the playoffs. (more…)