I read many comments about Nichu.
As a Stars fan I am hoping, dreaming, begging that he is the next one (tongue firmly in cheek).
As an old hockey player, coach and fan I see lots of articles and speculation from Stars fans about potential and few solid facts to support the new coronation.
So let's resolve to separating facts and hope:
1. Nichu is 19. Very young to succeed. Look at the last 3 drafts for top ten picks.
|Draft Team||Player||Draft Year||First Full Year||2013 Team||Yrs to NHL|
|NYI||Nino Niederreiter||2010||2011-2012||Bridgeport - AHL||1|
|NYR||Dylan McIlrath||2010||Yet to Play in NHL||Connecticut - AHL||?|
|NYI||Ryan Strome||2011||Yet to Play in NHL||Birdgeport - AHL||?|
|CBJ||Ryan Murray||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||Everett - WHL||?||Injured|
|NYI||Griffin Reinhart||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||Edmonton - WHL||?|
|TOR||Morgan Rielly||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||Toronto - AHL||?|
|ANA||Hampus Lindholm||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||Rögle BK||?|
|MIN||Mathew Dumba||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||Red Deer - WHL||?|
|PIT||Derrick Pouliot||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||Wilkes-Barre - AHL||?|
|WPG||Jacob Trouba||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||University of Michigan||?|
|TBL||Slater Koekkoek||2012||Yet to Play in NHL||PETERBOROUGH PETES-OHL||
So, in the past 3 drafts (not including 2013), a maximum of 4 out of 10 players drafted in the top 10 made their NHL team in their first year.
Why do we think Valeri is destined to beat these historic norms?
2. Where did he play last year? The KHL. This is a league that has 2-3 ex NHL'ers on the roster of about 50% of the KHL teams. The remaining KHL rosters are filled with young players - most who will never play in the NHL EVER. In that league he started out very slow and did better as the year went on. Why are we convinced that he will do so much better out of the chute in the NHL, which is filled with hundreds of mature and accomplished players?
3. His performance at the prospects camp. Yes, lots of stories about equipment and skate issues. Yet the bottom line is that he was average. He didn't make any impact statement. Is this the basis on which we promote him in August to a top 6 position? If he had been head and shoulders above the rest, then I'd be bullish. Instead he was very average in a peer group that may have 6 true future NHL players out of 30 on the ice.
So, here we are. An intriguing player that may be the next one. Or he may be a flash in the pan - remember, he only impressed in one half season in the KHL - that is his resume folks.
Like I said at the outset, I hope I'm dead wrong. Hard data points me to a more cautious place.
Top 6 in October? Nope.
Ruff and company will work him in very slowly and cautiously - especially in light of his hand shake agreement with his former team in the KHL.