Early this season it appeared as though Alex Guptill would thrive while Devin Shore struggled to become an impact player without his more experienced linemates. It's been exactly the opposite.
Guptill's Wolverines continued to struggle this last week, and the young forward continued to do the same. In the first game against Wisconsin, on the 10th, Guptill recorded one assist and three shots. He finished minus-1 on the night. In their second game and second straight loss to the Badgers, he didn't record a point and ended up a minus-2 with two penalty minutes to go with that.
He's not playing terribly, but he's now a veteran in the Michigan lineup and he's expected to be an impact player every game. While he's still putting up an okay amount of points, he's not driving play forward and taking over stretches of games when his team really needs him like he should be at this point.
This is starting to become a bit of a problem for Guptill. He's had problems with his focus and readiness in the past, so one wonders if this is a new manifestation of that or if the plays just aren't going his way. A player of his skill can work his way out of funks though, and there's still plenty of time for him to do that. All is far from lost for Alex Guptill, but he has to start showing the Stars that they need to keep him around, and sooner would be much better than later.
Young Devin Shore is in the complete opposite situation right now. After showing some signs of being under a bit too much pressure early in the season, he's become a huge player for the Maine Black Bears and is starting to look like one of the most dominant forwards in Hockey East and perhaps even the whole NCAA.
Against Boston University, at the awesome venue of Frozen Fenway, Shore dominated the Terriers en route to helping his team secure a 7-3 walloping of my poor, poor puppies. He opened his scoring for the night by assisting on a power play goal, Maine's second in the first period. He followed up with a power play goal of his own a few minutes later and then sealed the game with a shorthanded empty-net goal at the very end. He also finished with four shots on net but only won 15 of 29 faceoffs.
Devin Shore is becoming a revelation and is looking he might be the Stars' next Alex Chiasson - a strong playmaking power forward coming out of the NCAA. He's becoming an absolutely fantastic player, and his greatness on the power play could really help the Stars a few years down the road. It's a really exciting time to be a Stars fan with a guy like Devin Shore in the pipeline. He brings everything you want to the ice - leadership, grit, finesse, scoring touch, vision, and consistency.