Often we look at a player who excels at junior hockey and we begin to speculate whether he will make it at the next level.
One of the things one looks for is that player's ability to adjust his game so that he gives himself the best chance at succeeding at the next level.
We look at prolific numbers in junior and assume that is what he has to carry with him to the next level.
It is never that simple.
We have all heard of such players. Big numbers in junior. Yet he's transformed into a good 3rd or 4th line NHL player.
And we see guys who lit it up in junior both major and tier 2 but fall by the wayside after that, never to be heard of at the next levels of hockey.
Simply because they either did not
or could not
adapt their games to be successful at the next level. We see those who try to continue to do what mafe them successful at the junior level. And we see them not capable of making the changes required to stick at the next level.
We often see guys with big numbers at the tier two level but don't have the same success at the major junior level.The OJHL is full of them.
I remember a fellow by the name of Scott Fleming a few years ago who had a wonderful career with the tier two Wellington Dukes. He increased his offensive numbers each year he played there. Then when he went to the ECAC with Dartmouth, he did it again.
As much as I loved this guy's play, I could not ever say whether he had what it takes for the next level. But it turns out he did. But whether that is the end of the road for him is hard to say.
Born Jan 6 1988 -- Plainfield, ONT
Height 5.11 -- Weight 170 -- Shoots L
Regular Season Playoffs
Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2004-05 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 44 3 10 13 8
2005-06 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 49 15 31 46 24
2006-07 Wellington Dukes OPJHL 48 28 40 68 26
2007-08 Dartmouth College ECAC 32 6 5 11 6
2008-09 Dartmouth College ECAC 31 13 12 25 14
2009-10 Dartmouth College ECAC 32 22 17 39 39
2010-11 Dartmouth College ECAC 17 8 12 20 2
the kind of thing that is looked for when considering a player's promotion to another level of hockey.
And whether Fleming can increase his numbers this year as he's done every year he played at both levels, remains to be seen.
I guess what I am trying to say that whether a player can play at the next level of hockey has as much to do with his the ability of his skillset, health, adaptibility and willingness to accept a different role and last of all, some luck.
And whether Zach Hyman or anybody else has it for the next step, is premature, at this point, to say whether he has or hasn't.
One thing for sure. Most of us wish him well in his hockey future. And we will be the first to applaud him should he go on to stardom at the next levels of hockey. Afterall, we are all OJHL fans and can say we saw him play.
Remember how dynamic Andrew Cogliano was with St. Michael's? He is playing in the NHL now. Good for him.
However, he isn't the same dynamic player he was at tier two level but he got there by knowing he had likely to adapt his game if he wanted to stick around. He found out pretty quickly, that his future was not likely to be another Mario or Gretz.
Now Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle or John Tavares are some of those prolific major junior players? Will they evolve
in order to stick around at the NHL level?
Most will agree they'll be around at the highest level for some time. But what they leave as their legacies is yet to be determined.