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May 23, 2006

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the kid just finished his first year pro, after having his junior/final season at college shortened by injury. i dont really care how his icetime at 21 compares these of '03 draftees, especially given 05-06 was special case coming off the lockout and first salary cap. if he's still behind that pack in 3 years, and if he's not a top 8 forward at 26, 27, 28, 29 - then we can label it a bad pick. but if he can put it all together, he can be a 'big forward' similar to Todd Bertuzzi, or that trendy favorite in these pages lately, Jason Arnott

I am surprised it took you this long to get this post up, Dubi :)

In my view Hugh Jessiman should be given a complete free pass this entire past year for his struggles.
We have to remember that he came off a one year sabatical from a devastating ankle injury.

Lets revisit him at the end of next season and then decide if he is a bust.

Elsie, Arnott scored 33 goals for Edmonton as a 19 year old and Bertuzzi scored 18 for the Isles as a 20-21 year old rookie. You can look at guys two ways -- you can say, OK, he's our guy, he's a Ranger, let's be patient and hope for the best from him, and you can say, OK, no matter how hard we want to root for him, there were better picks available, and it's already starting to show in how late he's developing. The two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

It's a perfectly legitimate exercise to look at his draft class, see what everyone else is doing, and try to project how Hugh will fare against them. I had many heated debates of this type about Manny Malhotra -- looking at what guys drafted below him were doing, guys like Tanguay, Gagne, Gomez, and a bunch of good defensemen, and realizing he was never going to be in that class.

If you want to let Jessiman off the hook for his injury, be my guest. But it wasn't that bad of an injury, he's had plenty of time to recover. He'd already backslid in college before his injury, and I can tell you from having been there that team management was expecting to see a lot more out of him at training camp. And things didn't get better in Hartford even as the season progressed and his injury was behind him.

To have gone a whole season in the minors, in the AHL and improving in the ECHL, to then take a back seat in the AHL playoffs to guys coming in from juniors and college speaks volumes -- Dubinsky and Moore will be challenging for jobs long before Huge because they want it more.

We can continue to hope for the best from him, but objective analysis is telling us more and more to expect less and less of him.

Dubi , I am curious about your comment that Moore and Dubinsky want it more than Hugh. Are you implying that he doesn't work hard enough and that he doesn't have the desire to pay the price to succeed?

Mostly, I'm implying that Moore and Dubinsky are working harder than Jessiman because they are doing more with less while he is doing less with more -- Jess will jump all over me for saying it again, but Moore and Dubinsky are overachieving compared to the expectations set for them in their draft years, while Jessiman is clearly underachieving.

This was underscored by something Dubinsky wrote in the training camp diary he kept for us last summer -- faced with a choice of going out with Jessiman and his college buddies one night, Dubinsky decided to stay in a get to sleep early so he could be ready for the next day's activities. He didn't suggest anything about Jessiman by it, and neither am I, but it demonstrated to me that Dubinsky is willing to make more sacrifices than Jessiman.

Dubi

We really do need to come to an understanding regarding your continued use of the word "underachiever". It seems that you are the only one who has this view about Greg Moore and Brandon Dubinsky.

However let us talk about Jessiman instead of sending you to the woodshed.

Jessiman at the time of his being drafted was the hottest riser among the prospects. CSB had him at their final rankings as the 20th NA prospect but the Rangers reached big time to take him at 12. His selection was a poor choice at that slot as it appeared that his pick was more political (read that as PR related) than it was hockey smarts.

Even Tom Renney called him a project when he was picked, even back then he (Renney) was expecting Jessiman to spend all 4 seasons in school which he did not do.

Quite frankly considering where he was taken at 12 is a bust. First off he never followed up his freshman season injury riddled or not with anything that showed he was still developing. He has taken steps backwards repeatedly not forward.

I have yet to see a single sign since being drafted (even more so in under the new rules) that he has a legit NHL future befitting his status as the 12th pick in the draft.

Dubi - I agree its a legitimate exercise, thats why I wrote 'I don't care', its just MHO
Something I have always really appreciated about Pro Hockey (and Pro Baseball) is the minor league system which allows these young men to mature at their own pace, and still have an opportunity to reach the major leagues and have full careers.
Jed Ortmeyer entered Michigan turning 21 and was turning 25 when he became a Pro.
Look back at yourself at 20 vs 25....

It does seem that more athletes than ever are ready sooner for the pros.
What the guys you mention have achieved at age 21 is to be respected.
And part of that does reflect precocious focus and maturity.

But also during all the amateur draft events you hear tactics such as 'take the best athlete available' and 'you can't teach size' - obviously those ideas contributed to the Hugh pick

as I wrote once earlier, we saw huge improvement in their 2nd pro years by Helminen, Pock, Falardeau and Liffiton

yeah, sure, that he's 'our guy' makes me want to cut him some slack
but my brain is also telling me to

thanks for your hard work, and for this forum, so many of us love it

Jessiman's Dartmouth teammate who was take 153rd in the 2003 draft is already in the NHL... and people said that Stempniak's numbers in college were because of Jessiman.

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