Prototypes. Each hockey fan has a picture in his or her mind of what a particular type of player can do. Centers are the quarterbacks of hockey. They control the puck and often score goals, but, more importantly, the good ones make their teammates better. In modern lingo, they “dish” the puck to goal-scoring wingers or offensive defensemen who are “joining the play.” The good wingers are essentially goal-scorers who can finish the opportunities their centers create. Some, like Alex Ovechkin, are always visible. Others, like Patrik Laine, are often invisible until they are in a position to do immediate damage. Like Ovechkin and Laine, top NHL wingers are expected to have enough size and strength to win board battles for the puck.
When the prototypes are broken, fans become confused. Good p...
About the Author
Tom Thompson spent 31 years in the NHL as a scout, Director of Scouting and Assistant General Manager. He was responsible for running 14 Entry Drafts for the Calgary Flames and Minnesota Wild and also worked for the Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers.