Saturday, September 20, 2008


"I think it's easier that way. Let him show us what he's capable of doing, don't put the pressure of him doing extra just to make the team. If he's not ready to play in the NHL, we'll recognize that and send him back to junior. But if he's ready to play a role on this team, there's no reason not to keep him."
Atlanta's in love with their latest high draft pick, there's no question, but the facts tell us that Zach Bogosian, a big physical defenceman in junior hockey, turned 18 just two months ago and is going to have a hard time stepping right into the NHL.

Two years ago, he was being picked in the first round of the bantam draft by Peterborough. Two years ago, he didn't have a driver's licence.

It's very, very rare than an 18-year-old defenceman can make any sort of impact in the NHL, and to do so on what appears to be an awful team like the Thrashers would be downright impossible. It makes zero sense to rush Bogosian into the NHL when, if he plays more than nine games this season, a year of his entry level deal will be eaten up.

Let's say, in a best case scenario, he becomes a bonafide stud a few years from now, but played his rookie season in 2008-09. The result would see Bogosian finish his entry level deal at 21, due for a big contract for several years, and become an unrestricted free agent at 25.

With the Thrashers not in any position to use his services toward getting into the playoffs, how on earth can they decide burn that first year?

If Atlanta's smart, Bogosian's headed back to junior. From the look of their depth chart, where he's pencilled in at No. 6, that might not be in the cards.

UPDATE Brian Costello from The Hockey News had a good piece on this earlier this week, pointing out just how few players play in the league immediately after being drafted.

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At 8:44 a.m., September 20, 2008, Blogger Aaron Maiden said...

"If Atlanta's smart, Bogosian's headed back to junior. From the look of their depth chart, where he's pencilled in at No. 6, that might not be in the cards."

Valabik >> Klee & XLB

At 9:28 a.m., September 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry James, in a few years Waddell will trade him for a broken down Russian defenseman. Just like he did with Coburn. Waddell is the worst GM in the league right now. Good thing he's employed in a market that is irrelevant and has clueless owners in place.

At 9:57 a.m., September 20, 2008, Anonymous skinny65 said...

That was exactly my thinking with samwise gagner last year. Why trade his 18th year for his 25th year? But in the end the kid showed he belonged and it was probably much better for his long term devolopment then sending him back to junior.

At 10:39 a.m., September 20, 2008, Blogger Ben W said...

I assume you also think it would be stupid for LA to play Doughty and for St. Louis to play Pietrangelo.

At 10:59 a.m., September 20, 2008, Blogger FAUX RUMORS said...

1) "Smart" and "Atlanta" are seldomly used in the same sentence to describe Waddell's team unless the word "not" is placed between them!
2) It wouldn't surpise us to see the kid rushed to placate their dwindling fan base to illustrate that they are rebuilding with quality young players.

At 11:16 a.m., September 20, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I don't know that the Kings are a team I'd model myself after at the moment. And I doubt Pietrangelo sticks.

At 11:26 a.m., September 20, 2008, Blogger lralle said...

prior to making the boneheaded coburn deal, they also managed to play him too early on a crappy team and really screwed up his development for a few years. Thankfully for us Philly folk, he's really blossomed here. Here's hoping Eminger can work out as well.

At 1:58 p.m., September 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Waddell's standpoint having Bogosian play under his regime right now or at 25 under new GM's regime is pretty simple. DW is going to get fired anyway so why not play him now? Then he can at least tell viewers how he brought Heatley, Kovalchuk, Lehtonen and Bogosian to NHL when he'll become "new Pierre McGuire". Don't we all know how Monster Pierre built Pronger to superstardom...

At 3:42 p.m., September 20, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zach Bogosian is not your average 18 year old. Most of the time the problem with players this young is their physical maturity. They haven't filled out, yet.
In Bogosian's case nobody should even think about his physical readiness, this guy is a special breed.
But I agree that if he has problems handling NHL game early on he should go back to Junior.


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