Happy 2021 everyone! 2020 was like a never-ending stinky fart smell that will not disappear no matter what we tried. At the same time, it’s humorous to see people pretend like living in “the upside-down” is just over now that we have reached a new calendar year. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that is not happening. Anyway, people do not decide to read the “Pod Street Prospects Journal” for my dumb rants about transitioning to a new year. They choose to read it for my dumb rants about Flyers prospects.
I have been thinking a lot about prospect coverage. Sometimes I worry that we turn into hockey media’s new hipsters (move over analytics junkies). We know everything about every young player, and our evaluation methods are superior to anything else out there. Simultaneously, it is all the same. Everything you see is positive and focuses on an individual. We highlight an isolated move and fill your timelines with “he’s great.” Although I’m all for highlighting a prospect’s strengths, they mean nothing without addressing his weakness as well. Furthermore, we do not focus enough on the big picture. How does a team utilize a player? What does a coach trust him with, and where is he sheltered? You can learn a lot from what a prospect contributes to his team situationally—just some general food for thought before diving into some specifics.
Pod Street Prospects Journal: Entry Two
Regarding the World Juniors
This year’s rendition of the World Juniors has provided a fair share of blowouts thus far. Some of these scores bring me back to my days as a middle school softball coach. What these lopsided scores demonstrate is a true gap between countries in terms of overall skill level. Yes, Austria possesses Marco Rossi, but the team as a whole gets torched every contest. Teams like Austria and Switzerland are light years behind programs such as Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the United States.
Some cry for their removal from this tournament to strengthen the level of competition in each game. To those people, I say, “you are completely wrong.” It is all about building the game at a global level. Every country needs to start somewhere. Look at the United States and Finland. Neither country used to be viewed as a hockey powerhouse. Now, look at the level of talent it produces each year. To turn away the Austrias of the world blocks growth of the game we love. That, my friends, is a bad thing.
Regarding David Kase
No Flyers prospect benefits more from being loaned overseas than David Kase. His performance in the Czech league is nothing short of outstanding and can only serve as a confidence boost when he returns to North America. The major question with him is when should he return to North America. My answer is simple; next season. With all of the uncertainty surrounding the AHL, yes, I know there is a tentative start date; why not allow him to continue to build off his success with HC Energie Karlovy Vary (that’s a mouthful)? Working at a point per game pace, I’d rather see what those numbers look like at the season’s completion than disrupt things by bringing him to Lehigh Valley.
If I’m the Flyers, the only reason I’m bringing him back this season is if I feel there is a place for him on the NHL roster. Although I’m impressed with his current performance, I don’t think we are quite there yet.
Regarding Ronnie Attard
With most of my work, I pride myself on presenting objective material. However, the “Pod Street Prospects Journal” is the one place I allow myself to break from that mold. Like all of us, I have opinions. When it comes to Ronnie Attard, I hold some pretty strong ones.
The more I watch him play at Western Michigan, the more I feel like Philadelphia messed up taking him 72nd-overall in 2019. Offensively, he is the definition of a one-trick pony. To produce an inkling of positivity, he needs to be set up in space awaiting a pass to produce a one-timer. If the opposing team forces him to bring the puck deeper into the offensive zone on his own stick, he fails. There are little-to-no positives when the opposition plays him closely and applies pressure. For that reason, he is a player than can easily be neutralized at the professional ranks.
Defensively, Attard is a complete mess. He is continuously out of position in his own zone and is slow to react to almost everything. The opposing player almost always beats him in open space, resulting in a few costly breakaway opportunities.
Even with his outstanding final year in the USHL, concerns existed regarding Attard’s ability to extend that success to higher competition levels. It was clear that he still needed tons of work in many different areas of the game. He still does.
Once again, I’d like to extend a Happy New Year to you from all of us at Pod Street Bullies. December 2020 provided a nice trial run for us as we now look to really get things going. Speaking for every member of the PSB family, I cannot promise that you will always agree with what we have to say. If you did, we would not being doing our jobs. What I can promise is that you will walk away from every article feeling a bit more informed. Maybe you will even start to see things a little differently. Regardless, I look forward to the journey ahead. Cheers!