Thanks to Shawn Roarke of NHL.com @sroarke_nhl for challenging my initial Tweet on Christian Dvorak.
I did initially say “college numbers” in reference to Dvorak’s career, when of course he played junior. It was a case of green jersey transference. My mind saw a player winning a spring championship in a green jersey on a talent laden team and went to ND, not London, and my fact checker must have had the night off. However, when I questioned his WJC play I stand by that.
So good on Shawn for keeping the Twitterverse honest.
Watching every shift live in Helsinki was often frustrating with Dvorak, especially compared to say Nick Schmaltz. Dvorak may be trying to create, but he also threw the puck away quite a bit and did not pay attention to detail at the high level needed in a top level tournament. Dvorak and Schmaltz both had 8 points and play a skilled game, but Schmaltz was by far the better player. Back with their amateur teams, Dvorak was a key piece with London and got to run and gun. Comparing championship performances, I still saw much more nuance to Schmaltz’s game along with the high skill level. Call it judgment or hockey sense, whatever you like, but Dvorak has some bad habits that will get exposed at this young age in the NHL. I truly hope he has a good long career and Arizona gets better with the talent base they are building. At this point I would say yes to Nick Schmaltz being a successful NHLer this year and being productive and responsible. I would say give it a year or two for Dvorak. Comparing Dvorak in Arizona’s camp to Dylan Strome, my money would be on Strome to make the Coyotes and not Dvorak. I would not put a player who is so offensively focused down on the 3rd or 4th line to develop in the NHL. I think he needs AHL time on the top 2 lines before he can make a big impact in the NHL. Now Arizona is a building team and they lack offensive talent, so they may decide his reward is equal or greater to the risk. If new GM John Chayka is as into the possession stats as has been written about, then Dvorak probably does not rate as an opening night skater in the 20 man roster. Impressive as his point totals have been, watching him play even while winning Bronze Medals and Memorial Cups, I don’t see an NHLer yet.
This Christian Dvorak discussion brings up another good point.
At this point many comments on young players are splitting hairs. Most reasonable people know that projecting 18-20 year olds and pointing out deficiencies of players who have not yet begun pro careers is often nitpicking. However, these careers don’t have a retirement age of 65, so these young players need to learn a lot in a short amount of time to even make the NHL, much less be around to learn for 10, 15, or 20 years on the job.
Everyone is going to be wrong about players sometimes, from the ‘experts’ to NHL teams, and from fans like me who spend 1,000+ hours a year watching hockey at various levels to the casual fan. In this particular case, I can see Dvorak becoming an NHLer, just not this year.