Thought about this first when I thought it would be an epitaph for Caron's career in Boston; now it looks like Caron has about a 50/50 chance of spending another year in the NHL and - get this - if he plays all 82 this time, he'll be half way to a pension.
Caron has become, it seems deservedly, the living symbol of the current regime's draft failings, picking up the mantle from Zack Hamill on his way to the KHL. Measured against the usual expectations of a first round pick and a #1 C in the QMJHL, Caron has to be considered a failed pick. Objectively, it may be a little harsh to call a guy who has played 123NHL games a total bust.
Only 16 guys drafted after Caron have played more than 100 games (including Reilly Smith). The average career for guys drafted in 2009 is only 87 games, making Caron above average in that respect. He is below average though in what he's done with those games, both in goals and in total points - but the difference is one goal and 6 points. C- rather than C, then. Considering he has been on one of the top teams in the league during his career, rather than a bottom feeder with lots of open jobs, his games played is actually a little impressive. A very little, but still.
Two things about the life of Caron that are What If...s. He got blown up at the WJHC camp by Colten Teubert. It broke his clavicle and cost him a few games of the Q season that year. If you watch the play, Caron gets crushed racing out on the breakout. He's skating hard, gets up to speed quickly, but the pass has him looking back and Teubert steps up - he's the left defenseman and he makes the hit just to the left of the right faceoff dot. I've never seen Caron charge around the ice with the kind of quickness he shows on that play, and I wonder if it got into his head as well as his collarbone.
The second one: remember when it seemed like he might be a viable prospect with 22 points in his first 71 games? He had 5 of those points in back to back games against the Rangers and Leafs in 2012. He was bouncing between the second and third lines with Horton out. Nothing flashy, just a hard working kid who seemed to be reliable defensively with some offense in there somewhere. Then...lockout. I think PC had acknowledged that Caron's progress was good and they had him pencilled in for the Boston roster, then with the lockout, he's off to the AHL. You can almost hear the conversation. Go down and work on your game. Show us you can be dominant at that level, and when the lockout's over, we're counting on you to earn a spot. What does Caron do? Wets his pants. 11 goals in 47 games in Providence. 7 assists. Who knows why he was so ineffectual - lack of interest, arrogance, lack of talent...- the point is he was bad enough he played himself out of the Bruins' plans. Eventually he got into 17 games, but as a fill in. Any good will he'd built up in the past was barely enough to keep him in Boston.
Ditto last year. He came out playing like a real boy, but went back to wooden puppet after two or three games. Then he was scratched. And then he went most of the year scoring 0 points. 1 goal in the first week, 2 assists in the final few weeks, and nothing in between.
Like Hamill before him, there have been some flashes of a possible player, but I can't say I can think of one good pass he made all year. He takes the body, though no one will fear him. He could very well cling to a fourth line job in the NHL for a few more years, and PC could very well Bitz him - that is, send him somewhere for a Seidenberg and Bartkowski. Maybe Benning takes him? And if that happens for a couple more years, he might hit that magic 400 game mark where, when looking back at Bruin draft history in ten years time, we'll wonder how the heck that happened and wonder if we should count him as a draft success or a failure.
Are you not entertained?!?!