The Future for Ottawa commences Wednesday night as Tier I teams begin the true hockey season starting with the one-year-rebuilt Ottawa Senators visiting the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Tier II teams, including those that would be relegated to the minors if this were a serious league like those of European football, will be licking their wounds, making excuses, and denying realities. The Future for those teams (or their fans) is somewhere far away. But, despite evidence to the contrary, these Tier II teams are judged has having brighter days ahead than those of teams who are set to compete for what matters. So, let's look at a small piece of the alleged Silver Future of one of said Tier II teams in detail and see if the prognostications are realistic or if there is something, some direct compatible, perhaps, which might give better insight into the best-case realities one might expect.
Let's start with Kadri. Through a campaign of mis-education, mis-interpretation and - possibly - a severe case of delusional alcoholic rantings (we're concerned about Muppet here at BoO), Leaf Nation has been led to believe that his 'outstanding' OHL numbers translate into the best player slated to start in the NHL next year at centre or any other position.
Here are his OHL numbers from the last two years:
YR GP G A P PPG
08/09 56 25 53 78 1.39
09/10 56 35 58 93 1.66
The numbers, were they NHL numbers (and not OHL gift points) would be impressive. As they are, nothing we haven't seen many times before by far more complete players.
Now here is a quote from a reporter who follows Kadri's play throughout the year: "there are still many holes in [Kadri's] game. In order to play in the NHL, the kid has to stop turning the puck over in bad places."
Ah, HA! This sounds decidedly familiar to an oft-repeated (by Leaf fans) knock on one 1st line centre of the Ottawa Senators.
Dear friends, what we now have is the basis for a fair in-house comparison of two BoO players at the same position and a reasonable projection of NHL performance.
Nazem Kadri v. Jason Spezza.
I've presented Kadri's final two OHL season totals. I now give you Jason Spezza's totals for his final two OHL seasons and invite you to observe the comparables in light of Kadri's numbers above:
YR GP G A P PPG
00/01 56 43 73 116 2.07
01/02 53 42 63 105 1.98
In each case, Jason Spezza outperformed Nazem Kadri at the OHL level substantively and without the aid of someone as talented as single season OHL record setter in goals and points: John Tavares. Steve Ott and Brian McGratten were as good as it got.
Gentlemen and Leaf fans, it appears entirely conclusive that the Toronto Maple Leafs have drafted, at 7th position in the 2009 Entry Draft:
one class-B Jason Spezza.
Congrats leafers! It seems my opinion of the little throat slasher has risen ever so slightly. I suspect the comparison will not be met with as much favour in Leaf hamlet for fear of acknowledging the supreme skills of our big, reliable centre.
At least I know why Muppet won't back up his misspoken statement that Kadri will be rookie of the year next year