Posts Tagged ‘Mike Richards’

The 2003 NHL Entry Draft, perceived as one of the best in league history, churned out a bundle of cornerstone players in the first round–a few were also snagged in round two. And to think, such a coveted collection of players was forced to be put on hold for one year due to the lock-out. That distinction should have went to the class of 1999.

Going No.1 overall, Marc-Andre Fleury was chosen to fill the void in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ net. Ask, and you shall receive. The 27-year-old has decently done what he’s supposed to–the Philadelphia Flyers beg to differ– after a rookie season that saw much trial-and-error experimenting within the club.

As the second player to have his name called, Eric Staal went straight to work with the Carolina Hurricanes by amassing 100 points as a sophomore and sparking the group towards a Stanley Cup. Florida picked up Nathan Horton and while he wasn’t exactly a leader, he wasn’t a bust either. Nikolai Zherdev, as talented as they come offensively, didn’t solidify his selection with the Columbus Blue Jackets. (more…)

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…)