Elias Pettersson is off to one of the best starts to a career in NHL history, becoming one of just a handful of NHL players to score ten goals in their first ten games.
What’s more impressive is he’s done it without a lot of help. His most common linemates at even-strength so far this season have been Nikolay Goldobin and Loui Eriksson, who each have just a single goal to their credit on the season. There’s a strong case to be made that they’ve deserved better individual results than they’ve amassed so far, but an equally strong case could also be made that it’s not exactly optimal to have your team’s best player on a line with two players who’ve struggled to score. Then again, Pettersson’s been so good that it hasn’t really mattered yet.
Who would you like to see Pettersson play with at even-strength?
Last week I asked: How would you handle the kids’ ice-time in Utica?
The problem is already mostly solved. Attrition has taken care of it.
The Utica roster gets reduced in two ways — first, their own injuries, and second, Canucks injuries necessitating a call up. Utica management is probably already trying to find more players to get through the season.
I read somewhere that practice is more important than playing when it comes to acquiring new skills. With that in mind, I wouldn’t send our prospects to Kalamazoo, even if the Canucks and Comets were all healthy. That would be sending them to inferior coaching and infrastructure.
If the player knew the skills and needed the ice-time to apply them and get properly evaluated, then it would make sense to demote the player. However, that’s not the case with Gadjovich, Palmu, Lind or any of the other young prospects. It’s only their first full year at Utica and the season is only 10 games old. Having them practice and get occasional ice-time still seems appropriate. I’d be a little more worried if they were sitting more experienced prospects (e.g. MacEwen, Chatfield, Brisebois).
With all the injuries sustained by the Canucks we have at least seen Gaudette slotted into the line up which is the best thing for his development, especially at the NHL level. Of course we’d all like to see Juolevi, Chatfield, Demko, Big Zack and others develop the same way. There seems to exist however a process of hierarchy, contracts and organizational politics which precludes the much younger players you’d like to see on the Big Club. But when the smoke clears and they’re ready you’ll see the continuation of youth and speed which not only applies to the VC but all NHL teams culturally speaking.
The players listed (Dahlen, Palmu, Jasek, Lind, Gadjovich) are likely to regress if sent back to Junior or to the ECHL. They are all at a stage here they need to be playing in the AHL. Sitting the odd game and getting some extra training and video coaching won’t hurt them. The rate they have been sitting is concerning but that should drop considerately with injuries.
The extra bodies provide a buffer fora trade or two for draft picks. Once/if the Comets and Canucks return to full health sending down or trading a veteran on an AHL contract would make sense assuming the kids are developing as expected.
I say let them sit and learn that they are in a business not a game.
Going back to Jrs or lower level is the equivalent of stroking their self-esteem, excel so you feel good about yourself. No, step up to the level below the NHL!