Re: Wheeler and arbitration
posted at 7/24/2010 4:59 PM EDT
In Response to Re: Wheeler and arbitration
I think everyone had high hopes for Wheeler (and I dont just mean everyone here, I mean everyone in the hockey world). I remember how much media coverage he got when the Coyotes picked him up, how he was going to possibly be this "force" because of his size and skill, etc. I think Wheeler will always be what he is: A Phil Kessel of sorts who has a ton of talent (PLUS size) but lacks the intestinal fortitude to elevate his game and the players around him. I cant figure out if its conditioning, the fact that he is still a kid who hasnt adjusted from the college game or what, but I think at this point right now youre seeing the REAL Blake Wheeler. He is a ghost in general, who at times can looking AMAZING, but only scores 15-20 goals. IF, and its a big if, its the adjustmen period and he DOES come around, he could be an Iginla type player. Im 60/40 with him being what he is. If arbitration awards him anything over 2 mil, Im not sure the Bruins should hold onto him. I think they could trade him easily, but his 20 goals will be missed (although Horton and Seguin should pick up the slack). I think arbitration is a joke. I was looking at some arbiration awards the other day, and there were guys getting like 3 mil I had never heard of who had AHL type stats. I think the league is going overboard with arbitrators and Im not sure how they figure it out, but Ive got a bad feeling Wheeler is going to be awarded like 3+ mil.
Posted by bigvig
It's not conditioning. the guy's in good shape. It's not intestinal fortitude either. I've seen him go into the corners, in front of the net, and throw himself in front of shots on the PK plenty of times. That takes guts.
As Bogie6 pointed out, it's often a more difficult transition from college hockey to the NHL than from Juniors to the NHL because of the style of play. One thing I think a lot of people tend to forget is that Wheeler spent zero
time in the AHL, which helps guys adapt to the pros.
I recall a video this past season - either on the Bruins site or NESN's - in which Mark Recchi talked about working with Blake and teaching him how to position himself for rebounds and tip-ins (and if you think it's easy or instinctive, it's not). Consequently, watching Wheeler on the ice, I could see him trying to follow Recchi's instructions, but the problem was - it wasn't yet instinctive. He had to think about it. And when you start thinking too much out there, suddenly you're a beat behind everyone else. And that makes you look hesitant and tentative.
It takes time, and unfortunately, a lot of fans have no patience at all. They expect every kid who comes into the league to make an instant impact
. I mentioned this on the Bobby Ryan thread - there were plenty of fans and media who labeled the kid a "bust" because he was drafted right behind Sidney Crosby and wasn't an instant superstar. And by time, I don't mean a month or a year. Sometimes it's going to take a couple of years, especially for a big kid like Wheeler. The same thing will probably happen to Joe Colborne, and we'll be hearing what a "bust" he is as well if he's not lighting it up by the time he's 22 years old.