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Corey Elkins had great year overseas. Can that translate to success in the NHL?
Name: Corey Elkins
Hometown: West Bloomfield, Michigan
Draft Story: Elkins was an undrafted free agent signed by the Kings in 2009 after playing 4 years of hockey at Ohio State (of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association).
Where did the Ducks send him for the lockout? Elkins was assigned to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.
2011-2012 League and Team: HC Pardubice of the Czech Extraliga.
Other Hockey Ventures: Corey won the Extraliga championship with HC Pardubice last season, and got his first taste of international competition as a member of Team USA at the 2012 World Championships.
Key Stats Last Season: Elkins appears to have been a big part of Pardubice's postseason success: he scored 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) in 5 playoff games. He also scored 5 points (2 goals and 3 assists) for the AHL's Manchester Monarchs in 7 playoff games during the 2010-11 postseason. If Elkins can summon some Danny Briere-esque postseason magic for the Ducks, he could be a very valuable asset to this team.
From Elite Hockey Prospects (a great site with tons of interesting stats):
A two-way center, Elkins plays the game with a lot of energy and intensity. He has good size and is pretty well-rounded in his game. Useful on the powerplay as he will pay the price to score goals, and on the penalty kill, where his defensive smarts come in very handy.
From Hockey's Future:
High energy forward that can contribute from a third line. Not offensively talented enough to be productive as a top six forward, but solid enough on both sides of the ice to be trusted on special teams ... a high energy forechecker can find his way into [Honda Center] for a brief moment in the spotlight.
Is he a work-in-progress, future trade bait, or a keeper? Work-in-progress. At 27, Elkins has ostensibly crossed the threshold from NHL prospect to career AHLer, but it's important to remember that his professional career is less than five years old. Corey has the potential to sneak into the Ducks' bottom six as an "energy" guy, but I am nervous that he might be a Jason Blake clone (aka an "energy" guy who becomes a liability on the ice).
Should we be excited? Yes. While we will probably only see Elkins in a call-up capacity, he will be useful on special teams, and actually seems responsible enough not to become Blake 2.0. I expect that he will assume a leadership role in Norfolk, and serve as mentor to players like Nick Bonino, Brandon McMillan, and Chris Wagner.