Monday, August 4, 2008

Is Janne NHL Ready?

So the big discussion that surrounds the entrance to the NHL for Janne is about if he is ready to play NHL hockey... The big issues that surround him are...
  1. How will he respond to the smaller rink?
  2. How will he respond to the increased physical play?
  3. How will he respond to a longer season?

For the smaller rink, hockey skills are hockey skills, whether the rink is giant or small. I think this will take some getting used to, but after some practices and pre-season games he should be able to completely adjust his game.

As per the physical play... As you can see by watching him, Janne is an incredibly fast player, not saying that the physicality is going to be a complete non-issue, but every player adapts to the physicality when they come into the NHL (you can' t tell me the Canadian junior leagues are as physical as the NHL), I don't see why Janne can't adapt like everybody else. Obviously if he becomes a threat, players will try and increase the physicality to make him a non-factor (a-la malkin), but he does have the speed to work around these things. This could be a big issue, but we really cannot judge this considering we have no basis to judge his answer to physical play. This is a wait and see thing.

As for the longer season, this is where we will see the biggest problem. Going from a 56 game season to an 82 game season (not including playoffs) will be a huge step up. He is obviously in shape, but when it comes to the human body it's hard to tell who can take more wear and tear than others.

The other big question is if Janne is ready to jump into the NHL right from SM-Liiga (Finish Elite League). Everywhere i have been reading SM-Liiga is considered a notch below the AHL. Basically the overall sentiment is that the top players in the AHL and SM-Liiga are interchangeable in talent, but the AHL has significantly more depth, so i honestly do believe that Janne will be able to be a top talent in the AHL if he starts out there.

I think Janne has all the necessary tools to be a top 6 winger in the NHL, but I do think that unless he shows us some excellent adaptation and skills during the preseason, it may be a good idea to send him to the AHL and let him adjust to the NHL way of things, then hopefully he can come up to the NHL and woo us all...

This is all assuming Janne continues this charade of not being the greatest hockey player ever born...

1 comment:

André said...

The SM-Liiga rinks are about as small as the NHL ones. Point 1 there shouldn't be a problem.

Go Pens!