Connor and the others

Published January 1, 2022 at 9:41

In the National Hockey League, there are different levels of talent, and even among the elite, there are levels! This is very fascinating from the point of view of a fan like me who likes statistics but also likes to go beyond numbers. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent on «hockey data base» to read and reread leaderboards, player sheets, this as a mantra!

I have this thought because of Shane Wright, Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov and Owen Power among others who participated in the brief World Junior Championship! Nothing more fascinating for the hockey fan that I am than watching players in full evolution!

Too often, the general public is not aware of the level of talent it takes to perform in the big show! I will give you a concrete example of a player like the Mathieu Perreault centre. A player identified as a support player with a limited role. Too strong for the American Hockey League and just enough to play on a fourth line in the National Hockey League. To show you the level of the NHL and its depth, Mathieu has already scored 119 points in a QMJHL season and yet, in the show, he is rather an energy player. Those who manage to stand out in the Bettman circuit are the stars of the stars and among the best, there are higher levels too.

We often talk about a generational player! But what does a player do to deserve this title?

A player of this type will necessarily become the best of his draft. He will also belong to the Hall of Fame. His level of play is considered genius. Too often, this word is used to identify players, but few will succeed in the feat. The generation player is as regular as a metronome. So I look at last year's draft, this year's draft and 2023 draft to make my point.

The first choice of 2020 in a rather special and ordinary year at the young wolf level was the giant format defender Owen Power! Who that year had been selected by Buffalo. He dominated the Junior Championship this year as a 19-year-old player with his 6-foot-6 and 210-pound frame. A moving giant. He's already ready to play in the NHL tomorrow morning. He has the «potential» to play in this league for 15 years and dominated his sport, but he is not a player with generational potential. This tells you the level a player must reach, and this from a very young age.

Shane Wright has dominated outrageously since the Timbits in the Toronto area. He has always been the best of the best wherever he has gone, but he has not dominated the (in short) World Junior Championship at 17 years old, in his defense. This tournament has always been a tournament for 19-year-olds, with a few exceptions. But already, I can say that he is not in the race to be a generation player.

For 17-year-old Matvei Michkov, who will also be drafted in 2023, he scored goals at the WJC. The bets remain open for Michkov. He has all the tools to get there and remains to see what he will do with them.

Finally, 16-year-old Connor Bedard scored 4 goals against Austria! Never before seen for a player his age. Even the great Gretzky did not succeed in this feat.

The generational player, we have been talking about for a long time like Bedard and when he comes to the foot of the National League, it is quite obvious that he is this type of player, because he does things at a ridiculous age. He's just a prodigy. Meanwhile, Shane Wright played as a 17-year-old player at this World Junior Championship, like all those who went into the NHL before him, but who were not generations players.
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