Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Here comes Kopitar

From an entry on this blog on July 31, 2005 (the day after the NHL entry draft):
Los Angeles. Anze Kopitar's stock prior to the draft was through the roof, which makes it all the more puzzling that the big Slovene fell this far before being snapped up at 11th. Another easy choice for a GM, as Dave Taylor made no mistake in taking the right guy. Imagine the potential horror for Canucks fans (Vancouver picked 10th) should Kopitar live up to his enormous billing.
Let's just say it's not difficult to envision a scenario where Vancouver fans are cursing Luc Bourdon's name for the next 15 years or so.

As for Kopitar, Pierre LeBrun of the Canadian Press had a nice story today about the young Slovene that's well worth a read.

10 Comments:

At 6:38 PM, November 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure it's not difficult to envision, but it's still not all that likely. Bourdon is still considered one of the top defensive prospects in all of hockey, and its generally accepted that it takes defenceman longer to adjust to the professional game then forwards.

 
At 9:38 PM, November 29, 2006, Blogger Joe Pelletier said...

As a Canucks fan, the player I wanted the Canucks to snap up with that draft pick was Marc Staal, who also fell later in that draft than expected.

I think he remains a better prospect at this stage. Though his top end potential may not be as high as Bourdon or especially Kopitar, he is the kind of player you win championships with.

Joe Pelletier
------------------
http://www.1972summitseries.com
http://www.legendsofhockey.blogspot.com

 
At 9:56 PM, November 29, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

"Sure it's not difficult to envision, but it's still not all that likely. Bourdon is still considered one of the top defensive prospects in all of hockey, and its generally accepted that it takes defenceman longer to adjust to the professional game then forwards."

I think the chances of Bourdon developing into a better NHL player than Kopitar, at this point, are non-existent.

 
At 10:40 PM, November 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think the chances of Bourdon developing into a better NHL player than Kopitar, at this point, are non-existent."

I have no idea how you make this comment. Bourdon is 19 years old. Kopitar has played 25 games. Yes he looks good in those 25 games, but to say that the chance of Bourdon developing into a better player then Kopitar is non-existant might be the most ridiculous comment I've heard in awhile.

This reminds me of all the Prior versus Mauer talk in baseball this year.

 
At 2:29 AM, November 30, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It's not even that Kopitar is playing more than 20 minutes per game and producing almost a point a game on an awful team — what really makes me say 'I think' that's the case is Bourdon's brutal showing in key opportunities. He was average at the WJC, and terrible at any level higher than that.

I honestly don't think he has the hockey sense to be more than a 3rd or 4th defenceman. Kopitar's skills, on the other hand, are amazing, and he's proving those who said he should be a top 3-4 pick in that draft (i.e. those who actually saw him play in Europe) were absolutely correct.

 
At 9:12 AM, November 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bourdon is still considered one of the top defensive prospects in all of hockey"

Maybe in Vancouver but I haven't actually heard anyone refer to Bourdon other than to suggest he should go back to his junior team.

 
At 12:16 PM, November 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the only source of info on prospects league-wide I know, Hockeysfuture.com:

"One of the most apparent facts of his debut NHL stint is that Bourdon is clearly not 100 percent recovered from his ankle surgery the previous season. His backwards skating was simply not as strong in his nine games as it was in his draft year and before the injury. With a number of pins still in his leg, there is little denying that the injury is going to set him back in the short-term.....Bourdon remains one of the top defensive prospects in the entire league with top pairing potential thanks to his skating, puck-handling abilities and physicality."

"He was average at the WJC, and terrible at any level higher than that."

I'm not sure which WJC you were watching, but as I recall Bourdon was named to the WJC All-Star team, consisting of the top 3 forwards, 2 D, and goalie in the tournament as chosen by the coaches and media. Further, to say he was terrible at any level higher then that is plain old wrong. He performed incredibly at the Canucks camp as an 18-year old and, as Nonis and Tambellini have admitted, would've made the team if not for his age.

Again, I am not saying Kopitar is brutal, I am just saying it is impossible to definitively say that there is no way Bourdon will ever be as good as Kopitar. Kopitar was given the chance to play 20 minutes per game because LA is so bad, and I admit the guy has run with his opportunity. But there is definitely a correlation with his high point total and his high TOI, especially high PPTOI.

Bourdon was everyone's cup-of-tea when he almost made the Canucks as an 18-year old. He has a serious, but not career threatening injury, which limits his ability the next time around now all of a sudden the guy is a bust. I'm not buying it.

 
At 12:19 PM, November 30, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I am not saying Kopitar is brutal"

Let me clarify that. I realize Kopitar is very very good - a top-end talent. I'm just saying that you cannot say that he is always going to be better then Bourdon, in fact, I think it is quite unlikely.

 
At 12:29 PM, November 30, 2006, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree.

Now, I'm 98% certain you're a Vancouver fan who's heard everything being said about Bourdon coming out of the city, but I simply don't believe it. Junior scouting was one of the things I did prior to going into the media, and I'd like to think I can project, at least a little bit, how well prospects are going to turn out.

Bourdon was everyone's cup-of-tea when he almost made the Canucks as an 18-year old.

Not true. I said the moment he was picked that I didn't like the selection, that Kopitar was a better pick, and I'm simply sticking by that position. Bourdon had the worst plus minus in all of Canadian junior hockey when he was drafted, and there's reasons for that.

Again, I'd like to see the Canucks do well — and draft well — as much as anyone, but I don't think that's the case here.

 
At 8:30 PM, January 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kopitar is proving it was a mistake for the Canucks to take Bourdon. I'm a Canucks fan and I am very disappointed Kopitar is not helping them with their goal scoring problems.

With Luongo playing as great as he has, Kopitar could have helped this team offensively to run away with the tight Northwest Division. Now, his talent is being wasted on a horrible Kings team stupid enough to hire Crawford and give crappy Cloutier a contract extension before he even played a game for them.

 

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