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S14- VHL 160 (®)

2020-01-12

Part 2, let’s take a look at the younger wingers of the league.

10. Damian Surma – Buffalo Sabres

Who the heck is Damian Surma. I assume most were like me and didn’t know the heck he was. I believe that the he had one goal in one game in the NHL. Hence the high ratings. Anyways, he’s here and he is good. He is almost pure offense with little regard for checking or playing defence. He is not terrible in those categories, but not his primary concern. He has spent extensive time in the AHL honing his skills with over a point a game average. So far his pro numbers haven’t backed up his stats; well until the start of this early season. He defiantly has the potential to be a top line player for a long time. He has honestly fallen down list due to very low, which unfortunately factor into the list.

9. Radim Vrbata – Calgary Flames

Vrbata in Calgary survived the purge of prospects to make a team that can compete now. Very justifiably so. The guy has talent, not elite level talent anywhere outside of skating ability. He is still growing offensively, and does have a real good knack for putting the puck in the net. After starting his career with 44 and 49 point seasons he is looking at building on those numbers. He should do that this season and in years to come as the older members of the team retire and spots on the top two lines open up. There is talent that is coming up behind him and could be left to play 3rd line for a career if not lucky.

8. Maxim Afinogenov – Philadelphia Flyers

The RW is built very similar to the two others already listed. Mostly offensive skill, skates well, doesn’t take penalties and isn’t overly physical. He is slightly more physical than the others so far, and thus slightly higher. I will say what he does defiantly have, amazing linemates. He is currently skating with the two of the better players in the league, Sergei Federov and Jaromir Jagr. As of right now he only has 4 points on the season. That number should skyrocket when they develop chemistry. He has been productive so far in his career with 52 point season being his best so far. In his only junior season he has an amazing 46 goals and 47 assists in 77 games. The production should be there, it is just a question of when he takes his next step.

7. Mike Cammalleri – Calgary Flames

Mike is the first of a couple rookies that will be on the list today. The draft three seasons ago was full of forward talent, and it shows. Cammalleri is a smaller forward but plays with offensive skill, with real good puck handling and scoring touch. He will play decently well in his own end and could even log PK minutes. He has the making of a top line wing one day and be the one that aid the development of others. The fact that he can play every forward position is a major plus, albeit he should stay away from the faceoff circle if possible.

6. Patrick Sharp – Los Angeles Kings

While not as offensively talented as Cammelleri or Surma; Sharp is much more than just as offensive winger. He is defiantly a complete player that will do anything that you ask of him. He goes out and checks and will play good defence. You could also play him on the PK and he would not be out of place. He will be playing top minutes sooner or later. His 10 points so far this season is a good start to season and those numbers should stay consistent or getting better playing with the like of Gomez and Corson.

5. Martin Havlet – Pittsburgh Penguins

Havlet is another versatile winger that has no problem playing either wing. He has a lot of skill on a team that has a lot of skill. He should be stepping into a bigger role in the next couple seasons. He had a pretty good season, 48 points, in his first pro season. Him like several others on the list are punching a bit higher than their weight class by playing on the top line. The goal is to continue the player’s development by playing with the best. Havlet has who could be the best player to every suit them up in the VHL feeding him the puck. Havlet is a great all around player that should continue to put up big numbers in the league.

4. Simon Gagne – Boston Bruins

He is a little more offensively talented, and a little less defensively talented than Havlet. Mid 80’s in all his offensive categories and is responsiblel on the ice. He skates really good, but it seems that so many of these young guys skate so well. He will be getting a ton of important minutes with the retirement of a couple talented Bruins forwards. After a standout season in the AHL, Simon came up to the big leagues and put together a couple 50 point seasons. In the early parts of this year it does look like Gagne could top the 60 point mark and continue to emerge as a soon-to-be elite forward in the league.

3. Alex Tanguay – Ottawa Senators

Alex Tanguay is a real good young player(Duh, he’s on the list). What he has that most other young players is the physical endurance to log more minutes. Most young players don’t have EN ratings over 80 and Tanguay is one of them. He does have offensive skill, but not great compared to others that have come before, or those after for that matter. He hasn’t been overly productive in the VHL from a stats point of view. He has hovered around the half point a game mark in his two and a bit seasons. Ottawa does not have the offensive talent as the other teams so far on the list and thus Tanguay isn’t getting the same opportunities. Once elite talent arrives in Ottawa, these young guys will flourish.

2. Ilya Kovalchuk – Tampa Bay Lightning

Patience, patience and luck. That was the rebuild philosophy in Tampa. Ilya ended up going 1st overall and Tampa had the pick when they won the draft lottery from the 5th spot(I believe). There was good players left at 5, but nothing like Ilya. I could honestly just say 99 SC, mic drop it and start the next guy. But I won’t. On top of the scoring, and offensive skill, he has no issue laying out big hits and is very sturdy on his feet. His PO is a little lower than others drafted high because of his real-life departure to Russia, still doesn’t matter. I would say that he is looking very good so far and would be shocked if he did not take home some hardware this offseason. Posting over a point a game so far and is on pace for over 40 goals. I don’t what to discredit the rating system that I have, but I would probably want Kovy on my team over who is coming next.

1. Daniel Sedin – Chicago Blackhawks

I would also very much like Daniel on my team, or his brother. Daniel edges to the top due to high EX and LD ratings. It was also very close between him and Kovalchuk. Sedin is very talented and has also had a great amount of actual success so far in the league. Really good offensive numbers mixed with his skating skill, and disciplined play make him on the cusp of being elite. Not a real physical player but your not going to see him on a checking line…ever. He is a part of a youth movement in Chicago that is doing it right. A good mixture of young and old. Sedin has leaned on the vets and has tallied a 57 and 68 point season. He should be back in the around 70 point mark again this season. I will say that I am extremely interested in what is going to happen in the Sedin’s contract situations. It would kinda seem weird if they ever didn’t play together.

Honourable Mentions

Brendan Morrow – San Jose Sharks

Defiantly more of a gritty experience type of guy than offensive threat. Does have a good scoring touch despite that and could flourish with a playmaking centreman.

Ladislav Nagy – Toronto Maple Leafs

Nagy is a cheap mans Vrbata or Gagne. He has good offensive skill, not elite. Is part of a young Leafs team that has a ton of young talent and could use a vet or two to guide their progress.

  Brad Boyes – Vancouver Canucks

After having a great season in the AHL last season he has gotten the call to the big club. He has great offensive skills for a 2nd year guy and should see his ratings climb while playing with the likes of Prospal and Turgeon.

Peace out folks. Stay tuned for the young defenders.

WC 1511