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      Insults/Name-calling will not be tolerated   11/19/2016

      It's great to see the boys earning their way into the playoffs this season (barring a Colorado-would-be-proud collapse).  What a night-and-day difference from way back in November.   With the playoffs, we typically see more traffic/visitors on the site, usually from the opposing team's fanbase (especially from the Oilers).  This is just a reminder that stating your opinion is fine (it's exactly what these forums are for), and friendly, good-natured ribbing is OK, however, name-calling and insults will still be a major no-no and cause for the Banhammer to warm up.  This applies to all new guests and visitors as well: you're more than welcome to join the party, but civility is house rule around here.   All insults/name-calling will be met with a zero-tolerance approach, regardless if you are a new person to the forums, or have been around since these forums began.   First-offenses will be met with a moderator-needs-to-approve-your-post for 3 days Second offenses will be met with a week-long suspension Third offenses will result in a perma-ban   If you have any questions regarding this policy, or would like to voice your concern about it, you are absolutely free to contact me directly.   We all love this team, and this game.  Let's all hop on the Bandwagon, enjoy a few beverages, and ride this wave of excitement as far as we can.   --  Kulstad


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Crzydrvr last won the day on November 14 2016

Crzydrvr had the most liked content!

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About Crzydrvr

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  1. Athletically gifted player, excellent wheels and has a hard shot. A volume shooter, not a great passer but has good hands. Not a huge fan of him but would still take him for his tools alone. I think he has problems thinking the game and relies a lot on his physical attributes which is a red flag to me. He reminds me a lot of a Jake Virtanen or an Evander Kane. Another athletic specimen, not a guy I see a lot so I'm not an expert, but I didn't like his tunnel vision and I hear he's been largely a nonfactor with attitude issues in Russia at all levels which matches his numbers. He's another guy who has the physical capability to be a top player in the NHL, but he's a huge risk with the KHL factor. Good two-way guy, not really sure what he's going to be at the NHL level but he's one of the few guys who doesn't really have a major red flag. He's just good at everything, but not elite at anything. Maybe that in and of itself is a red flag? Either way, I don't see him dropping outside the top 20. He's one of the few guys in this draft with a relatively safe floor. Someone will love his mobility and potential enough to take him high in the draft. At some point I'm going to have to release a ranking sheet rather than answering questions, I just haven't gotten around to it. So look forward to that at some point in the distant future.
  2. He's a smart player who's made the most of his opportunities. Very well rounded guy, is more of an all situations type than a pure playmaker or shooter offensively. He could use some more top end speed and agility, but he's consistently been one of the most impactful draft eligible prospects in the OHL. I think he's done enough to put himself in the discussion as one of those players in the 5-15 range. He's not the most physically talented player, but he makes up for it with his hockey sense and his effort. I like him a lot for that reason, I think he cares about doing well on a small market team and that's not always/often the case with some of these elite prospects, so he gets bonus points for showing drive and not acting entitled about where he wants to go.
  3. I agree, which is why I say it's a weaker draft at the top. This has a high chance of being a draft where the best prospect isn't even drafted in the top 5 or 10. That makes it weak at the top, even below average drafts tend to have at least one or two players separate themselves from the pack. There will be gems as usual, but the top pick has been devalued because of that uncertainty, similar to 2012. Why pay out the nose for a player that you might be able to match at a pick way lower? Nobody in this draft is of the caliber of a consensus top 3 pick across most average draft years IMO. Don't get me wrong, I love Hischier and Patrick, but neither would be top 3 picks in last year's draft and everyone else in this draft would be on the cusp of the top 10 last year, at best. It's just not a great year to be picking 3rd, you're likely to get a player that in other years might fall in that 7-10 range of player, which as we've seen historically is a crapshoot in terms of NHL projections. The gap between a top 10 pick and a late 1st round pick is as thin as I've seen in the last 5 years, and we could see a lot of movement in terms of draft pick for draft pick trades as teams will be focusing on particular players they like more than usual.
  4. I think it's probably your best bet to do so if you wanna hit a home run and you're drafting in the middle of the round. The elite talent up front isn't there, and most of the forwards will probably top off as really good second line players (although one or two will, as normal, rise above the rest and break through into top line players). On the other hand, there's only one defender that is a safe bet and a top 10 caliber prospect in this year's draft IMO (and it isn't who you think it is). The rest are all medium risk medium reward or high risk boom or bust picks. There's a lot of them hanging around so I'd say the chances are good that of those non - top 10 caliber guys at least one or two will end up being top pairing players, the question is can you get a little lucky with it because a 1 in 4 chance (at best) isn't a great ratio for success at all.
  5. It's tough, he's definitely not playing up to par since returning. He's had too many poor and average games to be considered a true generational prospect. At this point he's starting to play his way out of the consensus 1st overall position, which would never happen to a Crosby-level prospect. This year's draft at the top looks extremely weak, and I think a lot of scouts are having to downgrade their projections for a lot of players. It's looking a lot like this year might not even match 2011 in terms of high-end talent. A lot of good, even great, prospects, but all of those impressing would probably be in that 10-15 range in last year's draft, for instance. Decent depth of the caliber of prospects, but that lack of high-end talent stands out considering the drafts before and after all look very strong at this point in time.
  6. Answering this now as I didn't see it my first run around this thread. As you said, big guys with skill are rare and when they're around as defensemen, you make sure to give them due diligence. He's an above average skater speedwise (I have him as an 8 out of 10) but his lankiness makes it difficult to gauge his footwork. Is he still growing into his body, and will it improve itself with more time and work, or is it simply one of those skills that'll never get better? He's good enough offensively. I think he has a bit of work to do in the other 2 zones; he can be pressured into bad plays and doesn't have a high panic threshold. Transition-wise the entire Steelheads team can be a bit of a crapshoot and it's hard to judge whether he was a victim of that or a cause of that. Defensively, he benefits a lot from sheer size and range of coverage, but he'll need time like most young prospects to fully develop that sense of where to be and where to look. Raw is exactly the word I would use, but he's been very impressive all things considered and if he works out like you hope he's going to be a PP threat and a two-way anchor at the NHL level on one of the top 2 pairings. He doesn't look as dynamic as he did in the summer or at the end of last season. He's got a bit of that Valeri Nichushkin syndrome, where he's got his size and speed but doesn't really have the hockey sense to use it effectively. He wasn't creating chances, wasn't backchecking well, had some tunnel vision and just generally was a nonfactor in the few games I saw of him since. A lot of pure athleticism in him, though. He's a project player who if he works out is going to be a presence on the ice, I just don't know if he ever reaches that potential. Liljegren is an interesting one, because you can see the talent, but like Kylington was he's been generally hit or miss so far in terms of his ability to process the play. Going by pure talent, he's a top 3 pick without question; excellent skater, good shot, great passer, decently physical and plays solid positional defense for an 18-year old, but his transition abilities are reliant on his decision-making and he does some odd stuff at times. As well, in the offensive zone he hasn't been great at reading the play and will pinch at the wrong time, or make an ill-advised pass that is turned over. It's very much a case of overcomplicating the play, he hasn't shown the elite hockey sense to use the right plays at the right time. Kylington was genuinely playing poor and didn't get any better in his draft year, but Liljegren has been getting better since returning from his stint in the J20 league which might salvage his draft status.
  7. Vesalainen has all the tools, but no killer instinct. I liken him to Magnus Paajarvi, great skater, built like a pro, but doesn't have the same level of IQ or finishing ability to be a legitimate elite scoring talent at the NHL level. Whether or not he becomes that bona fide first line winger, 30 goals 60+ point forward (his peak) or just washes out of the NHL (his bust factor), he's definitely got the tools. It's a matter of getting some confidence and finding out whether his toolbox is big enough to utilize all his tools successfully. Both of them are in the group of 20 or so prospects that fall in the middle of the 1st. All it takes is for teams to like someone else other than them and they could slide.
  8. I actually also have him as a No Draft myself. I wonder about his defense, I wonder about his effort, and I wonder about his actual skillset. He's poor already defensively, losing focus in his own end, being a floater, and compounds it by being the type of player that waits outside of scrums for pucks. With his size, he could be a dominant player in all facets of the game, but he is soft as melted butter and loses puck battles way more than he should. At 6'6", it's honestly impressive to be considered a soft player, but he is. Those massive holes aren't covered up by his ability to create offense, because he's not an elite thinker of the game. He's opportunistic but outside of his shot, which is heavy and has an average release, and his puck control, which is very good, he doesn't have the type of game or the traits that suggest he's an elite player at anything. He excels on the powerplay where he has time and space, but at 5 on 5 he's not a factor, in the sense that he's just coasting around and not grabbing control of the play when playing tough competition. He can capitalize when there's open ice or when he faces weaker lines and D pairings, which look good on the stat line, but means nothing at the pro level. I don't normally have many names on the ND list personally, but I wouldn't want to deal with him from a development perspective; he's a massive project and I don't like his attitude on the ice, relying on his linemates to do all the dirty work while he collects easy points. He's not a gamebreaker, so I have no problem saying "Even if he turns into a 50 point player, I don't want him on my team". Of course, this all could change if he improves away from the puck a lot in Prince George. He's got a fresh new slate.
  9. I don't think he's a project in that traditional sense where he has one really good trait and a bunch of weaknesses. I look at him as this from a developmental standpoint: he's never going to be a speedster, but everything else is very good. He's still in a growth phase, which for many can make it difficult to coordinate movement, and that's only magnified for him because he's so big. When he's done growing and gets some work in, he'll be a good enough skater that it won't be the reason he can't crack an NHL lineup. Shea Weber was much the same way, where he never was much of a speedster or an overly mobile guy. He got it to a point where he wasn't going to be hindered by his footspeed, then focused on maximizing his size, snarl and shot so that he could intimidate opposing forwards and continue to play elite defence even if he didn't have the speed. Foote is excellent everywhere else, so I don't think he'll need 5-6 years. That being said, it is something to take note of. If he can't get it to an NHL quality, he might be the next Griffin Reinhart, who has hit that cap that all prospects face where he didn't get NHL reps before his entry-level deal comes up and so has missed the boat on becoming an impact NHLer of any fashion. At that point, the odds of him making the NHL would be slim for both Reinhart and Foote if he follows the same path. It's 4 years or nothing for prospects now, otherwise they'd have to hope for a change of scenery and a new situation somewhere else. That being said, at his best he'll be NHL-ready within 2 seasons, which is normal for elite players and his skillset suggests that he could be an impact player like few in this draft are. It's just about trying to find where he fits in a draft while taking into account both the best and worst case scenarios. As for Yamamoto, he can play defense at a decent junior level when he tries. I personally feel that he plays differently at even strength as opposed to shorthanded (Where he's focusing on playing said defence). That's the system Spokane generally runs, because they lack offensive talent Yamamoto plays higher as his value is going to be generating offense rather than anything he does defensively. He's a project but it's important to take note of his age, because no 18-year old will be as good as an NHL star at the details of the game; that comes with coaching and years of experience that they just wouldn't have. When you look at the whole package, he might play poorly some nights compared to others but he always generates something at the end of the day with average support, as the primary threat and the main source of transition and offense, and he looked absolutely dynamite playing with other talented players at the U18s. He's got a huge bust factor to him like any undersized offensive dynamo, but he gets to scoring areas without the puck a lot better than he did last year which was one of my complaints of him earlier (being too soft and a perimeter player). He'd do best going to a team that would allow him time to develop the rest of his game while still having need for a talented offense generator on the wing.
  10. He's better than both at the same age. DeBrincat's forte is getting into scoring areas but he's not as good at reading the play, is more reliant on his linemates due to being a shooting first player and he's not as good of a playmaker as either of the other two. Phillips could be a great pick, but he lacks the same level of dynamic skating and hockey sense that allows Yamamoto to remain a great playmaker, even on a team with no finishers last year. Yamamoto is a dynamic offensive threat who can score and pass equally effectively. He's also got the skating and hockey sense to create space in the neutral zone and take advantage of small openings with his great hands. I don't know if I'd take him on the Flames due to already having a lot of small skilled players, but on skill alone he's a top 15 pick. He doesn't play a huge game, and is pretty shifty, but also has had injury issues thanks to getting rocked a few times which might scare teams away if the size doesn't.
  11. He passes the eyetest, but is extremely snakebitten. It's not like his tools just disappeared, but he started the year making plays and not capitalizing, and now he's slowly gotten into the rut of not having the confidence to make plays like he was earlier this season and last season. I don't think you can comfortably take him at 15 as he is right now, but that's because I see a lot of guys in and around that spot in the draft who are similar in quality and talent level, while also having the confidence and production to warrant being picked ahead of Comtois. Not that he'd be a bad pick (quite frankly, everyone in this draft who falls within that 10th-25th overall area is basically the same, with differences in style and role but all equally talented and skilled, and all with at least one major flaw that could hold them back), he just wouldn't be MY pick. I think in a draft like this, where you won't see many star players, that you kind of have to go out on a limb and hope that the guy you think has the highest upside will be able to mitigate his weaknesses. I don't think Comtois has the highest upside within that group of 15-20 players in the middle of the 1st. That being said, he's got the body and the playstyle to adapt to a grinder role with some skill, so he's not altogether unworthy of being a non-playoff pick. If he turns it on in the second half, he could rise once again. Could happen. Not a strong conference. Wouldn't prefer it because the talent drops off before that pick IMO and I think making it that deep with such a weak year is a bit of a red herring as to the actual build quality of the Flames roster, which could and should really still use another quality player to round out the top 6/top 4/core group. Callan Foote's apparently even bigger than his listed height, he hit another growth spurt and is supposedly at least 6'4" now. It's actually noticeable in a bad way though; his skating has been pretty clunky, he lacks the 4 direction mobility and his speed and footwork are both average, and technically below average for an elite level prospect. I like his smarts, I think he's one of the best defensive players in the draft (among all skaters, not just a positional thing) and he shows some offensive touch. I really think the biggest reason he hasn't taken that next step this year like so many people thought he would is because his skating isn't NHL-quality. It's so average sometimes it looks like he's just coasting. but really he just labors to get around the ice. If people thought Aaron Ekblad was an average skater in his draft year, hoo boy are they gonna be disappointed by Foote right now. He falls into that 10-25ish category for me, and like I said earlier every one of those guys has a major weakness. Foote's is his skating and mobility. If he improves it enough without losing the rest of what makes him good, he looks like he could be a Weber-lite-lite, but if not he could be just another Luke Schenn bottom pairing liability. It isn't like a Logan Stanley "only picked because he's big" type deal, but it's a legitimate concern that in an era of speed Foote is going to be a slow player at the NHL level, because I don't think he'll ever be able to get his skating to above average level even with the best of luck. This draft lacks in that security factor. Either it ends up like 2014 where most of the picks are or look to be highly serviceable if unspectacular, or they could all flatout bust and we're now talking about this draft like it's 1999 all over again. There is a severe lack of safe projectable prospects in the mid-1st round, guys like Dylan Larkin or J.T. Miller or Alexander Wennberg where you just knew he'd be an NHLer even if you weren't sure whether he'd be a top 6 scorer or just a 3rd line player.
  12. Not sure ATM. There's a lot of hockey left to be played. There's a group of roughly 4 players at the top of the draft, maaaybe 5 depending on who you like, and the Flames are just outside of those players in terms of draft spot. Any of those guys dropping would be easy to pick, but otherwise there's a real chance that the Flames pick at the top of the second tier, which is unfortunate. Once things begin to clear up we'll have a more definite view of who's available and where the Flames will be picking, it's just way too early to say right now.
  13. There's two breeds of elite talents. There is the kind that just are as you described, technically flawless players. Those are the guys that have the hockey sense to make the right play all the time. They might not look dazzling and can get predictable (especially if you match two of the same up against each other, because then they both do the exact same things and the other knows it), but they don't need to, because they're machines and just effective. Guys like Sam Reinhart, Aleksander Barkov, Monahan, Patrice Bergeron all find themselves leaning towards this category to various extents. Then there's the type that are electrifying and make plays happen. The kind of player that can bring players out of their seat and create plays out of what seems to be nothing. They make the game harder sometimes and aren't as efficient, but that's offset by their ability to adapt of the fly and ability to change the flow of play almost at will. Guys like Tyler Seguin, Gaudreau, Jonathan Drouin, Patrick Kane all fit into this category in some way or another. There's no "better" or "worse". Both have their limitations. But the truly elite of the elite talents tend to be equally elite at both, because that allows them to adapt on the fly depending on the situation so that they can produce regardless of who they come up against. Gretzky/Orr/Lemieux/Crosby/Lindros/McDavid etc. have all shown at various points in their career that they can't be pigeonholed into either category, even if they might spend more time leaning one way or another. They actually do need to show some level of ridiculous off the charts skill, not because they necessarily need it in the NHL on a day to day basis but to show that if by some rare instance they might actually need a jolt of outside-the-box moves, they have it in their arsenal. If you haven't shown to possess both at the level of such talents as a junior player, the odds that you develop said imagination and creativity and puck skills at higher levels is extremely unlikely at best. Mark Scheifele is a great player, but he isn't generational. A less capable Eric Lindros is not generational. A less capable Crosby is not generational. In order to be a generational prospect or a generational player, you'd have to stand out amongst your peers not just in your draft year, but across many years. Let's say the average elite young talent has 100 points to spread between "Smarts" and "Creativity". A guy like Scheifele might have his set at 60 points in "Smarts" and 40 in "Creativity" with room for improvement. A guy like Patrick might start off at a 70-30 split, again with room for development. A Kane probably enters the NHL with 25 points in "smarts" and 75 in "creativity", not that he's dumb, but he isn't a highly efficient and accurate player, or a two-way guy (especially at the start of his career where he was a one-dimensional player, although very good at said dimension). A guy like Crosby, a legitimate "best of the best", probably enters the NHL with 150 points instead of 100. His breakdown is thus closer to a 75-75 or 80-70 split. It's not that Patrick can't be a generational player, but unlike a McDavid he doesn't have that extra stat boost. Thus, it's harder to project his peak to be that of a 100-point player and consensus "best in the world" type talent. There's just more room he NEEDS to grow in order to reach those heights, and player development rarely if ever fully materializes a player's ceiling. And the reason I think Patrick doesn't have that stat boost is because thus far in his junior career he has yet to show anything that suggests he's heads and shoulders above the rest of his peers. Internationally, in the playoffs, whatever the case may be, his production reflects an elite prospect but not a player who is truly exceptional. The eye tests show a guy who is very smart and uses his body well, but he's not a player who sees things other players don't and he doesn't demonstrate the kind of puck skills and creativity that suggest a player with franchise-level upside. So unless it's very well and deliberately hidden (and after 3 seasons you'd expect him to show it even if by accident at some point) we can't place that level of skill on him. We can only evaluate a player by what he shows. If Nolan doesn't show something to that level, then we can't assume he grows into it. I'm not really interested in fallacies and "what-ifs", only what is being shown on a consistent basis. You are entitled to your opinion and I respect that, however, so I will acknowledge that it's not entirely impossible for him to be or turn out to be as good as McDavid. I just don't think it's realistic or all that likely.
  14. Definitely agreed with there. Toews was a beast offensively all the way through minor hockey, the defense came after he hit the NCAA and needed a way to get big minutes with a very talented North Dakota squad. He went 1st overall in the WHL draft despite insisting that he was going to the NCAA throughout his bantam year. That's how good he was. He also entered the NHL as a pretty dynamic scorer (that rookie season goal where he deked out an entire line is exactly what I'm talking about). Patrick strikes me as a safe player, which isn't a bad thing, but I don't think he has the puck skills or vision to dominate the game the way the best of the best tend to do. Still have him #1 after a few months and some inactivity though (posting the list here because too lazy to make a separate thread). --- 1. [1] C Nolan Patrick, Brandon, WHL 2. [2] RD Timothy Liljegren, Rogle BK, SHL/J20 3. [5] C Nico Hischier, Halifax, QMJHL 4. [4] C/RW Gabriel Vilardi, Windsor, OHL 5. [14] C Elias Pettersson, Timra IK, AllSvenskan 6. [NR] LD Miro Heiskanen, HIFK, Liiga 7. [17] C Casey Middlestadt, Green Bay, USHL (Eden Prairie High, Minn-HS) 8. [11] C Lias Andersson, HV71, SHL 9. [6] LW Eeli Tolvanen, Sioux City, USHL 10. [8] RW Klim Kostin, Dynamo Moskva, KHL (Dynamo Balashikha, VHL) 11. [3] LW Maxime Comtois, Victoriaville, QMJHL 12. [NR] C Martin Necas, HC Kometa Brno, Czech Extraliga 13. [15] RD Cal Foote, Kelowna, WHL 14. [18] LD Nicolas Hague, Mississauga, OHL 15. [34] LD Robin Salo, Sport, Liiga 16. [12] RW Owen Tippett, Mississauga, OHL 17. [25] C Michael Rasmussen, Tri-City, WHL 18. [16] RW Kailer Yamamoto, Spokane, WHL 19. [10] LW Kristian Vesalainen, Frolunda, SHL (HPK, Liiga) 20. [NR] C Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State (NCAA) 21. [7] LD Urho Vaakanainen, JYP, Liiga 22. [22] RW Nikita Popugayev, Moose Jaw, WHL 23. [9] C Scott Reedy, USA-U18s, USNTDP 24. [32] LD Juuso Valimaki, Tri-City, WHL 25. [19] C Marcus Davidsson, Djurgardens IF, SHL 26. [29] F Shane Bowers, Waterloo, USHL 27. [48] RD Artyom Minulin, Swift Current, WHL 28. [NR] C Cody Glass, Portland, WHL 29. [38] C Nick Suzuki, Owen Sound, OHL 30. [21] LW Matthew Strome, Hamilton, OHL 1. [1] G Daniil Tarasov, Russia U18s, MHL 2. [5] G Jake Oettinger, Boston University, NCAA 3. [2] G Michael DiPietro, Windsor, OHL 4. [4] G Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, HPK U20, Finland U20 5. [NR] G Keith Petruzzelli, Muskegon, USHL
  15. That is definitely true with regards to the McDavid thread you started and my initial comments. Understanding the pressure of hype and the junior system, I do my best to stay realistic wherever possible. One is to avoid disappointment and the other is because you just never know with junior aged kids. It's a very unforgiving system where you're expected to act like a great teammate and be supportive while all the while fighting off your teammates for the lion's share of ice time and media attention. It's not healthy development and in many cases kids will not live up to lofty expectations. I'd rather be proven wrong and witness a McDavid live up to all the expectations while remaining who he is than see him crash and burn with the weight of the world on his shoulders. He has proven he deserves all the labels given and I am willing to adjust my expectations as he develops. He went from a very good player in my mind who was the clear best in his draft year to almost Crosby-level talent (almost, not quite) because he performed like it. And even then, I expected Eichel to perform better initially because his body was more built to withstand pro players, acknowledging that McDavid would likely surpass him after an adjustment period (if the adjustment period was literally a period, then I'd like to still take credit for that call ). Same with Patrick. If he proves he deserves the hype then I adjust accordingly. So far, he is worth the hype he's getting (for the most part). Is he generational? I don't think he is. McDavid was a case where the greater majority were already expecting him to be a franchise level superstar and he did end up proving it with his performance in all facets. Patrick has not blown the doors off in the same way, and it's not just low key because of the way he plays. McDavid's teams were stacked, and partly because of his play helping lift his teammates' point totals as well. Nolan Patrick's teams were also stacked up to this point, and also partly because he lifts the play of his teammates. Great players tend to do that. Yes, big players tend to develop slower, but expecting every one to turn out like Lindros or Thornton is probably not a great use of time. If Patrick does prove me wrong, I'm willing to eat my words. I don't have an ego, him doing better than expected is great for hockey and I'd love it if that were the case. I might have a GM mindset of "expect the worst" but I'm not daft. Nolan does have more goals. He's definitely more balanced offensively in terms of pass vs. finish. McDavid's bread and butter on the other hand will always be playmaking, he's never been a scorer in the sense that he has an elite shot and in fact it's still one of the weaker shots in the league. If he could finish he'd be an easy 40 goal scorer. It's accurate, and he gets to scoring areas because he's smart, it just lacks the mustard to surprise goalies. Nolan being a bigger body and more developed physically not only gives him the ability to drive around defensemen and work the boards, but also a higher base strength that gives him the ability to score. McDavid, you literally wondered whether he could bend his stick in his 1st 2 seasons in the OHL. Ovechkin has a better shot than Crosby. It doesn't necessarily make him a better player overall. Players have different strengths and the only thing I worry about is how well they understand those strengths and how capable they are of using said strengths to produce and help their team win games. Patrick understands his limits as a player in the sense he isn't trying to dangle his way through 4 defenders, and that bodes well for a quick transition to the NHL. I do think he is more limited in terms of point production compared to more dynamic players, which might cap him lower than a player like Matthews, but overall you can't go wrong with a big center.