So my wife, my little son and I attended the scrimmage on Wednesday. Of course, you have to be somewhat guarded to make any conclusions based on "practice" (we talkin' 'bout practice). For instance, Cogliano looks great in a half contact scrimmage. Regardless, I came away from the event very satisfied with the team, the prospects of the future team (if we just don't discuss Getzlaf and Perry contract situations!) and about life (I mean I was able to go watch hockey instead of be at work, it was awesome!).
However, I come on to the site last night and what do I find...
"Maroon doesn't even try!"
"I've never liked DSP, he's a 3rd liner!"
"Trade Palmieri, Etem's better!"
"Etem isn't NHL ready!"
"Blah Blah Blah!!!"
Well, I just wanted to get everyone back in the right frame of mind. As JuMowbray has reported, the Ducks feature a remarkably talented pool of prospects. Everyone here has a favorite whether they have proof to back it (my personal favorite is Etem, Long Beach is my second home!), and it shows in these discussions, however, I'm looking at players like Maroon and Holland and thinking that if the time comes, these guys might be NHLers before we know it, and productive ones at that.
I mean everyone has some room for growth and improvement and our prospect are definitely grouped into that everyone. Palmieri still seems to need to improve his play without the puck, Etem needs to work on being more effective in the scoring areas (body), Devo needs to use his physicality more effectively, Holland needs to improve his two-way play, and on- and on and on.... But this is what these type of discussions are leaving out:
Players like Devo, Holland, Palmieri, Etem, Rakell are all young, and all relatively unexperienced at this level. The only way to see if they sink or swim is to throw them in the water. If the scrimmage and what I saw from these players is any indications of what we have in store when some of these guys get up here, it will sure be fun to watch these guys play on our Ducks. I mean honestly, these guys have a projected path to success, which makes it easier since they don't have to reinvent the wheel, they just need to develop their strengths.
For example, Devo is like a more-skilled, rawer version of Holmstrom. If he develops his game in some of those ways (get better around the net and on the boards), then he'll most likely have success.
And Palmieri, is kinda like a Mark Recchi type. Stout, speed and a nice shot. If he can continue to work on these then he'll be effective on a top line with playmakers.
Etem has shown me the compete level that rivals the Jeremy Roenick's of the league. He was going down to a knee infront of Sheldon Souray slappers yesterday! This is a practice remember folks. Dude stands to be at the very least a dope, skilled two-way forward who can easily be featured on the PK at the NHL level. If he goes beyond that, he'll be something unique, no doubt.
Holland's big frame is not something you can teach. He's poised and doesn't shy away from contact in the corners, though he could improve on his play there. He is a very smooth skater and though he has been tagged as a shoot first pivot, he really plays a well-rounded offensive game from what I've seen. He is very good with the puck and moves well into space without it. His blonde locks and style remind me a lot of Mats Sundin, and that's a good thing. If he centers our 4th line, I think we should be giddy rather than worried about his development.
Rakell is just a dope stickhandler among many other great attributes. He has the hands and patience of the top class players in the league. He is a bit on the slight size still, but he looks more like a man this year then he did last year. I believe he will continue to slowly add weight, which is a bonus. I doubt that he plays lower than the 2nd line next year, he's that good, however, he's smart enough that he could play down and still be very effective.
Maroon is big, physical and actually shows nice hands for his size. Though I would love to see more of the player from Norfolk that leads the team in Penalty minutes, I think he most likely will be best suited in a 4th line role at this level. However, I don't think that's a bad thing since he has the size, skill and heart (in games at least) to be a productive depth forward.
Sami Vatanen is probably about 5'10" cuz he didn't look a ton smaller than the 6'3" Hampus. But boy, either he wears the largest shoulder pads/pants/shin guards I'd every seen or he is just that "thick." The dude seemed stouter than Beauchemin and we all know he is basically dwarf-esque ala Lord of the Rings. Its a bit of a guess, but I don't think his size will be an issue at this level. It would really boil down to if he can play D at this level which is notably more physical then the Finnish Elite or AHL.
Hampus looks a lot like Lidstrom! Sorry Hammy, It's the truth! His stride is smooth and he skates pretty upright.
OH AND SCOTTY can still shoot lasers with his wrist shot!
Ok, Just a reminder people, the Ducks are stacked!