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  • I've been having some thoughts on what I talked about last year with the two types of hockey sense - vernunft and verstehen. And I'm starting to wonder now if the two are maybe not so separate as I was thinking at the time. The idea was that there's verstehen, which is just understanding the game - reading plays, anticipating, reacting instinctively, understanding positioning, and then there's vernunft - which is about being sensible, managing risk, being aware of situation and location. I was pretty lenient with guys like Holtz and Stranges in particular making a lot of mistakes (Perfetti too, but he had some other issues as well) because I figured they were so able to be so individually dominant at lower levels that they never had to learn to keep things simple and play within a team system, and I figured over time with good coaching, that would be fixable. But I've been thinking about something lately, since I quit smoking weed. I've tried a couple times before, and the initial quitting part is easy, the difficulty is after a month or two of having a ton of energy and motivation, it wears off and I wasn't really sure what to do with my time or how to relate to myself, and that's when I would fall back to old habits. I'm now at 19 weeks, and have had to make a lot of broader, deeper changes in my life.

    So that, along with Holtz' struggles late this season, have got me thinking. I still think that over time with good coaching, these issues are fixable, but I'm now thinking it may be a more complex, systematic problem than I did before. I mean, sure, a player can easily stop making stupid mistakes, but then what? Instead of making the stupid play, they're just going to stand still like I dropped my controller playing chel? They still have to make a play, they need to replace the bad habits with better habits, or else a coach can scream at them all they want for making stupid plays, but if they don't understand what they need to do instead, they're just going to keep making the same mistakes or fall back into old habits.

    The upcoming players at the top of that list are Kent Johnson and Gleb Trikozov. I feel like the issues with Johnson aren't quite as pronounced as with the three players I mentioned from last year's draft. Trikozov is a bit different, I believe his upside is the highest of any of the players I mentioned (except maybe Stranges) - the pure talent level may o may not be quite as high, but with the power element and defensive presence he brings, this could be a franchise-altering player - but the issues also seem to be more serious than the other players I mentioned (again, except for Stranges). I'll be keenly interested to see how these players progress going forward. We've seen plenty of players like these before, from Ho-Sang to Milano, and I'm not gonna rack my brain trying to think of them, but this is the first time I've been so familiar with these players from a young age and able to closely follow their progression, and I'm excited to see where I went wrong and what I have to learn.
    Last edited by matchesmalone; 03-12-2021, 09:06 PM.


    • Not calling this my final list, but if the draft really is going in July, I think it's getting close to solidified, at least towards the top. The big thing I'm looking for is players with a combination of safe "floors" as well as high "ceilings". Clarke is the one player in this draft that seems to fill both criteria very well. Slight but realistic chance he's Drew Doughty territory, but really good bet he's Josh Morrissey plus . Beniers is practically a lock to be a solid second line center, and there's an outside chance he's in Bergeron/Toews stratosphere, but Ryan Kesler would be a better bet. Luke Hughes is a pretty safe bet to be at least an effective puck-moving defenseman, and I think there's enough upside on the defensive end to potentially put him into Norris conversations one day. Power is more of a balance - floor isn't as high as Beniers or Clarke, ceiling isn't as high as Hughes, but both are pretty high. Sillinger is difficult to define. For an upside, I get major Joe Pavelski vibes. Very safe bet to at least be a top nine forward, fairly safe to be a top six, but I also don't think it's such a longshot that he reaches his ceiling.

      1. Brandt Clarke
      2. Matthew Beniers
      3. Luke Hughes
      4. Owen Power
      5. Cole Sillinger
      6. Carson Lambos
      7. William Eklund
      8. Kent Johnson
      9. Dylan Guenther
      10. Chaz Lucius
      11. Simon Edvinsson
      12. Fabian Lysell
      13. Fyodor Svechkov
      14. Nikita Chibrikov
      15. Aatu Raty
      16. Zach Bolduc
      17. Jesper Wallstedt
      18. Oskar Olausson
      19. Corson Ceuleman
      20. Simon Robertsson
      21. Sasha Pastujov
      22. Mason McTavish
      23. Stanislav Svozil
      24. Xavier Bourgault
      25. Anton Olsson
      26. Matt Coronato
      27. Artyom Grushnikov
      28. Francesco Pinelli
      29. Daniil Chayka
      30. Aiden Hreschuk
      31. Matvei Petrov
      32. Brennan Othmann
      Last edited by matchesmalone; 03-13-2021, 02:52 PM.


      • Well, I just checked out the shift-by-shift of Bedard's first WHL game. Unreal. 8 points in 4 games as an exceptional player. This kid is generational.


        • Man, I am falling in love with Yurov's game. I've been a big fan for a while, and have been saying he's an incredibly pro-style player. Forget about 50-50 battles, give him a 40-60 battle and he's gonna win almost every one at this level; even when it looks like there's very little chance of him coming away with the puck, he so often finds a way. So many factors come into play there - obviously strength, which is impressive considering he's barely 17 in a 19 year old's league, but also quickness, work-ethic/tenacity/stick-to-it-iveness, and also hockey IQ, which are all extremely high end. I've also been saying for a while that I thought he's probably the best 2003 Russian forward, and that's being confirmed as he's playing 23 minutes a night at the MHL level. But now late in the season his confidence at this level is soaring. I've expressed question marks about his upper end upside, and I'm still not sure he's an offensive superstar in the NHL, but I'm starting to see some real high end puck skills. I've always known he's had really good hands in tight, but I'm starting to see him make some successful one on one moves, and more willingness to use his hands in tight to challenge multiple defenders around the net. I can't wait to see Salomonsson play, but for now Yurov is my number five for 2022, after the big four.