Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Looking at the NHL's teenage players

It seems that there are more teenage NHL players than ever this year.  Many of them are transitioning from juniors, college or European leagues to the NHL quite smoothly.  This week, I'm taking a look at some of the youngest and most talented players in the NHL today.

Jonathon Blum - Nashville Predators
  • He's by far the best NHL player from Long Beach, California.
  • His last name is a bit difficult to pronounce, so Don Cherry is convinced that he's actually a fruit.  Also, he's American, so Don Cherry hates him anyway.
  • According to a source that shall not be mentioned (*Eklund*), Blum's presence means that the Preds have no use for Shea Weber and will trade him in March.

Brett Connolly - Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Brian Burke tried to secretly steal him by putting Tim Connolly on the Lightning roster.
  • Guy Boucher thought he and Martin St. Louis might have chemistry together, but that was immediately scrapped when Connolly kept missing St. Louis with passes because he couldn't find St. Louis.
  • Victor Hedman calls him "the kid."  Ironic.

Sean Couturier - Philadelphia Flyers
  • He hasn't figured out Paul Holmgren's sarcasm yet, as Holmgren promised not to trade him immediately after he signed his entry-level contract.
  • He's tried some different positions out in practice, and if the whole Bryzgalov thing doesn't work out, he may try goaltending too.
  • He plays a calm and confident game, which means Chris Pronger hasn't pulled him aside yet.

Tim Erixon - New York Rangers
  • He refused to sign with the Calgary Flames because he didn't want to be the only player on the team not invited to the Flames' AARP Christmas Party in December.
  • He also refused to sign with the Flames when Darryl Sutter promised him a no-trade clause.
  • He looks up to Wade Redden, but only when it comes to cashing in.

Jake Gardiner - Toronto Maple Leafs
  • He's so young that he's never heard of Wendel Clark.
  • He has turned Francois Beauchemin into a Toronto hero.
  • He's trying to learn the words to "O Canada," but nobody else on the Leafs is able to help him.

Erik Gudbranson - Florida Panthers
  • He's often compared to Dion Phaneuf, yet anyone who makes that comparison is then knocked Phaneuf.
  • To become acclimated with the fans, he set up a public signing.  He met approximately no fans.
  • He was in elementary school the time last time the Panthers were in the playoffs.

Cody Hodgson - Vancouver Canucks
  • He has never been mistaken as Daniel or Henrik Sedin.
  • After not playing much in the NHL last year, fans asked him why he didn't start riots when he didn't play.
  • Rumor has it he couldn't make the Canucks team last season because he couldn't perfect his diving skills.

Gabriel Landeskog - Colorado Avalanche
  • He still claims he's Swedish, but his Swedish accent is terrible.
  • He's decided to be a clutch goal-scorer early in his career.  If this continues into the playoffs, he will certainly never play in Washington D.C. or San Jose.
  • He's taken advice from Peter Forsberg, but every time he does, he feels a bit achy.

Adam Larsson - New Jersey Devils
  • He's drawn comparisons to Nicklas Lidstrom.  This guarantees that Larsson will never retire.
  • He likes to join the rush and make offensive plays, which is one of the reasons that Jacques Lemaire is scared of him.
  • He's never heard of John MacLean, and because of that, he has a chance to be a good player.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Edmonton Oilers
  • He might not even be the best first overall pick on his own team.
  • He likes to win, despite playing for the Oilers.
  • He and Taylor Hall plan to boycott Steve Tambellini's annual 1st Overall Pick party next June.

Mike Zibanejad - Ottawa Senators
  • He has a name formed from random Scrabble tiles.
  • He found scoring at the NHL level surprisingly easy, but then realized it was harder once he left Sens' practice.
  • Every time he talks about winning the Stanley Cup, his teammates become confused.