Tom DiPerna, Denver, Colo.
As an avid fan of THN’s Future Watch, one of the most disappointing things I see every year is the highlighted under-21 players under each team’s grade.
How many times has a can’t-miss prospect like Gilbert Brule, Peter Mueller, Sam Gagner or Steve Mason collapsed under the pressure of playing in the NHL after being fast tracked in their first pro season?
Plugging a hole in a roster with a teenager is a quick-fix that often backfires. Development is a long process; in recent years we have seen players like Tobias Enstrom, Jimmy Howard and Bobby Ryan come up at a later age after some seasoning in the minors.
Of course there are some more elite players who can defy this, but I’d hate to see any more young men have their careers permanently altered by being fast tracked to the NHL.