As the Pre-season winds down and we prep for another incredible NHL season, I'm hearing teams, paid-pundits, blogs, and boards chat up some young players... about how they're ready for the NHL now!
I'm thinking, unless your name is Gretzky, Lemieux, Lindros, Kovalchuk, Crosby, Ovechkin, you should go get some seasoning in the AHL or back in junior.
Luke Schenn of the Maple Leafs and Max Pacioretty of the Canadiens are 2 players that are at their 1st camp and generating rave reviews.
Both are under 20yo and although may be ready now for the NHL skillwise, should be given a chance to mature mentally in a lower level. Afterall, look at the trail of damaged NHL careers because players were rushed to the NHL too quickly, especially as 18yo's. The Posterboy for that list would have to be Alexandre Daigle. How about guys like Chris Gratton, Jeff Friesen, Jocelyn Thibault, Radek Bonk, Pat Falloon, etc.
Parting shot: One of the side benefits of the 2004-05 lockout was the opportunity for some promising can't miss prospects to get some experience without the brutal pressure of the NHL big business machine hoovering over them and allow them to work on developing their skills. Prime examples, Eric Staal, Jason Spezza... both turned in career years in 2005-06 when the NHL resumed play.