It took some time, and a lot of second guessing, but fans can finally be at ease when they hear the word “callup”. Dave Nonis came, he saw, and he stocked; the farm team and overall organizational depth is witnessing a resurgence the likes of which haven’t been seen in the northwest in years. Lee Goren is gone, Tyler Bouck is gone, Yannick Tremlay is gone, and Chris Levesque . . . well I’m sure he graduated UBC with a great story.
The collective cringing done by fans at even the slightest inclination of a injury has vanished, they no longer fear hearing Brandon Reid’s name again and the radio station’s are no longer clogged with some fans heralding him as the next Martin St. Louis, and some fans comparing him to Charlie Conway.
This year’s edition of the Manitoba Moose is arguably the best they’ve ever had and their start to the season is one of the best in team history, due to the wealth of young talent, the team gets better every day and only has one direction to go. And it is this young talent that is getting a chance to prove their worth now that the aforementioned former Moose have moved on. Alexander Edler
’s success has already been well-documented and could garner some Calder buzz if he continues his exceptional play, and his difference-making tendencies lead to a small revelation: perhaps the largest difference between years past and present is that a callup is no longer seen as simply a lineup plug. This new generation of prospects has the ability to be difference makers, as seen by the play of Mike Brown and Luc Bourdon during their stints.
And about time, the organization’s farm team is plagued by the names of Fedorov, Smith, and Koltsov, players who had so much promise and haven’t or didn’t deliver. When we look at the Moose scoring charts, we almost have to do a double-take; our young prospects are 4th and 5th in team scoring? Among the league leaders in rookie scoring? Are you kidding me? No we aren’t, it’s such an unfamiliar site that fans almost don’t know how to react, well we should be elated, ecstatic even that we have this upwelling of talent.
So why is it all important? Well, before the new CBA a team *cough**Rangers**cough* could go out and simply buy a playoff viable squad (didn’t work for the Rangers, did for the Wings) but thanks to a lengthy negotiation, we have a salary cap. Young prospects that eat up less than a million dollars are as valuable as anything for playoff teams, these kids take pressure off the vets, can provide a boost of energy, save a team the money to get better UFA’s or extend RFA’s, lessen the impact of injuries and they also just get better as the year goes on.
The undeniable fact is that if a team wishes to go deep into a playoff run and eventually have their name etched on the Stanley Cup, they have to rely on top prospects, such as Edler and Bourdon and in the future Raymond and Grabner, and not aging plugs. Vancouver fans should be undeniably excited for this youth infusion, if the team can be doing this well without alot of young impact guys imagine how well they might do in the coming years when more get added to the roster.
Drafting is an art, and analyzing prospects is really all about seeing into the future, in the current state of the NHL a team cannot simply deal with today, they must realize that tomorrow is equally important. Some teams realized this and took advantage, some teams such as Vancouver are just now reaping the benefits of organizational depth, and just like the public pool, the depth only gets deeper as you go.