Troy McClure wrote:The "thing" is these "prospects" just aren't that special. We're talking about guys who've never really put up impressive numbers at any level, who need multiple seasons in the AHL to figure out the AHL, and who come up here and do nothing. Really good scoring forwards don't need multiple years in the AHL. They often skip the AHL entirely or only spend about half a season there.
If you want to talk about the vets they are better than, what vets are you talking about? I don't see any vets getting in their way. If anything, I see a roster with several spots open for these kids to take by playing well.
The risk you mention is worth it for guys who play well enough to show they want their jobs. For all the hand wringing over these lesser prospects, it overlooks how Nill has worked in young players on a regular basis. Klingberg, Janmark, Lindell, Heiskanen, Faksa, Shore, and Dickinson are all young guys who have become every game players. Vets didn't get in their way because they all stepped up their games. They didn't have to be gifted ice time.
Vets like Comeau, Hanzal, Gonchar, etc. Remember Aaron Rome? Jiri Hudler? Travis Moen? Kris Russell?
Every season we load up on sub-mediocre vets, who are demonstrably not better than the young guys who could fill in those spots at a fraction of the price. And every year other than one (Val on the top line!), we're a bubble team or worse. Nemeth or Oleksiak may not be on Erik Karlsson's level, but I can guarantee you that they're better than Kris Russell.
Same with Honka. There is no world in which playing Roman "Oops, Another Forward Just Blew Right By Me" Polak is better for the franchise than playing Honka. Yes, Honka makes mistakes that end up in net. Usually because he's trying things that Polak or Fedun or Bayreuther is *utterly incapable of doing*. They're just not able to skate or pass like Honka, so they dump it in from center ice. Safe and boring. Still a turnover, but an acceptable one. Honka, meanwhile, stickhandles through three guys, loses the puck in his skates, and there's a turnover that coaches HATE. He should've just rimmed it along the boards, like the coaches' favorites! Welp, he's on the bench now for five games... he must SUCK.
Now, there might be other, non-hockey reasons for benching Honka. Like if he stays out on the ice long past when the coaches call him in, and THEN he makes a turnover. I have a guy on my soccer team that does that every *fargin'* game, and I HATE it (but he pays his dues on time and scores a goal a game, so...). Or maybe Monty/Hitch has a sit-down meeting about some facet or another, and Honka ignores him, or talks back, or something like that. That, I would say, is a pretty good reason to bench somebody repeatedly. But we don't know any of that stuff. All I see are the games, where Honka is clearly our fourth-best d-man, trying (and usually succeeding) at plays that will never be in Fedun's repertoire.
I'm 99% sure that at this point it doesn't matter, he's out of here for a conditional fourth rounder at the deadline. Some team like Pittsburgh or Buffalo, who are in desperate need of a speedy, puck-moving d-man, are going to snatch him for peanuts and reap the benefits, just like the Avs did with Nemeth or the Kings did with Campbell. All because we continue to hire coaches who are too chickenshit to take a risk on talented young guys.