Saturday, September 20, 2008

Is Bogo Ready for the NHL?

Mirtle wonders whether eighteen-year-old Zacho Bogosian is old enough to "make an immediate impact" in the National Hockey League. Actually, he doesn't wonder; he's certain that "the facts tell us that Zach Bogosian, a big physical defenceman in junior hockey, turned 18 just two months ago and is going to have a hard time stepping right into the NHL."

To which I would answer: How does he know? What "facts" tell him this? PERHAPS Bogosian isn't NHL-ready, but perhaps he is. We don't know yet. That's what training camp is for.

Elsewhere in his post Mirtle says:

It's very, very rare than an 18-year-old defenceman can make any sort of impact in the NHL, and to do so on what appears to be an awful team like the Thrashers would be downright impossible. It makes zero sense to rush Bogosian into the NHL when, if he plays more than nine games this season, a year of his entry level deal will be eaten up.

Bogosian has been compared to Rob Blake and to Chris Pronger; both of them entered the league at age 18 and put up some impressive numbers.

I don't quite follow Mirtle's logic about the awfulness of the Thrashers being an even bigger impediment to Bogosian's making an impact than his age. Surely if the Thrashers are as awful as Mirtle believes, their awfulness would allow Bogosian to have an even greater impact than normal.

Mirtle also seems worried that if Anderson and co. allow Bogosian to play more than 9 games this season the Thrashers will somehow have wasted one year of his entry-level contract.

Who cares? If Bogosian is ready to play in the NHL, he'll play. If he plays he'll more than likely make an impact. What does it matter if the first year of his entry-level contract is 08-09 and not 09-10? If the kid gets results, etc. etc...

Everything Doc Mirtle says in the way of predictions should be taken with a grain of salt, of course. This is the same Mirtle who--along with most other journalists in the echo chambers of the mainstream hockey media--predicted the 07-08 Thrashers would make the playoffs, what with awesome players like Kovalchuk, Kozlov, Hossa, and Zhitnik (such impressive numbers in 06-7!).

If Bogo is NHL-ready, he'll play. A first season on the third defensive pairing should be a relatively easy way for him to begin his big league development. And if he's not ready, we have every reason to believe Anderson will give him more time in juniors.


James Mirtle said...
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James Mirtle said...

Pronger was 19 in his rookie season and really struggled in Hartford early on. Blake had a terrific first season, but had turned 21 two months into it.

Bogosian will have a very difficult time succeeding because every single 18-year-old blueliner has as a rookie. Even the best of the best are generally held out until they're older and more experienced.

I believe Rostislav Klesla was the last 18-year-old defenceman to play in his draft year, although I may have missed someone. He ended up going back to junior after eight games.