Could Jordan Staal be Similar to Chris Gratton?

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by timlap, Apr 13, 2006.

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  1. timlap

    timlap Registered User

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    I ask because I don't know. I don't get to see Staal play (unless he gets to the Memorial Cup) and I am still looking to understand (from those who do get to see him) why he is as highly regrded as he is.

    Now, I know that people hope the offensive upside for Staal would be higher than what Gratton has done (just as they hoped the same for Gratton). But I'm wondering if he most likely to end up a Gratton type player. And if so, is he worth the top 4 pick?

    Consider that they are of a similar size and play (so I understand) a good defensive game.

    And consider their regular season stats from their draft seasons. Both had yet to show big-time offence.
    Gratton (Kingston): 62 games 27-39-66 (actually the correct stats are 58 55-54-109, as pointed out by others below)
    Staal (Peterborough): 68 games 28-40-68

    I understand that Jordan does not have a strong shot. I'm not sure about Gratton.

    Comments?
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  2. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    Could be. :dunno: But the whole thing with Staal's ranking is that people are projecting how much better he is going to get down the road, estimating a more exponential growth relative to the standard linear growth that most players like Gratton experience. If he just stays on the same path he's on now, I think Gratton is a fair comparison. Most people aren't expecting just that linear progression, though.

    (Although FYI I do believe Gratton was drafted the next year after the one you listed, as he was a pretty dominant player on my hometown Frontenacs with my all-time hero-team with Corpse, Rivet, Lamothe, and Ling. So the comparison at draft time doesn't really work, and Gratton moved straight to the NHL, which I'm pretty sure isn't in the cards for Staal. But in terms of style-down-the-road, it's good enough. Gratton was more aggressive early in his career).
     
  3. Doomsday Device

    Doomsday Device Registered User

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    Those are Gratton's rookie numbers.

    These are his draft year stats.
    58 gm 55-54-109 This was good for 13th in the OHL in points, 6th in goals.
     
  4. Seph

    Seph Registered User

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    It's possible. It's also possible the Kessel's the next Daigle, Erik Johnson the next Phillips, etc...

    The difference between these guys and the guys I mention is that the book isn't written on them yet. Only time and development will tell the answer for sure.
     
  5. timlap

    timlap Registered User

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    Oops, put the wrong stats in for Gratton. You and Doomsday are correct.

    Yes, I can see that people are expecting exponential growth for Staal. My question is, why? What do they see in Staal that makes them think that? As far as you remember, was Gratton a strong two-way player even at the time he was drafted?
     
  6. timlap

    timlap Registered User

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    I understand your point. Any prospect can be compared to a similar player who didn't work out so well in the past.

    But what I'm saying is that I can't really see why Staal is projected to be better than Gratton (who is a solid NHLer after all). This is not surprising since I don't get to see him play. So I'm looking for explanations/theories as to why Staal is rated so highly, as most people admit that the offence isn't there, at least yet.

    The best I've been able to learn so far is this:
    - he's a good defensive player (is this accurate?)
    - he's big
    - there's a hope that his offence will come. (but does he display a lot of good offensive sense- that's what's not clear to me).

    Anyway, all your posts are appreciated. I'm sure someone will get it through my thick skull eventually.

    And I really can't see why some rate him higher than Toews, who seems to have the offence in addition to the other qualities.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  7. Seph

    Seph Registered User

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    The coaches voted him the best defensive forward in the OHL Eastern Conference as a 17year old, so yes, I would assume it's accurate to say he's good defensively. (see here: http://hockeysfuture.com/article.php?sid=8447)

    The thing that makes him a great pick, though he is very raw offensively, is that he is very safe. If he doesn't put together the offensive side of the game, with his size, skating and defensive ability, he will be a very good checking center, possibly an elite checking center. If he does put together the offense, he could be one of the most complete players in the game. I've heard comparisons to Joe Thornton in his style. I doubt that's his upside, but it gives you an idea what people think of his raw talent. Whether he'll put that together though, remains to be seen.
     
  8. J17 Vs Proclamation

    J17 Vs Proclamation Registered User

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    Well considering people think me might be better than Eric, and i think Eric will be better than Thornton down the line, its reasonable to think that Jordan does have upsides of Thornton. Whether he reaches them is another matter completely.
    I think its quite rare for a guy his size to be a "safe pick". Most big players who are raw are generally high risk. The highest boom rate is for guys with huge frames.
     
  9. Seph

    Seph Registered User

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    I don't think most people really think Jordan will be better than Eric. As I understand it, when that was first said, was a few years ago, and many expected his offense to blossom like Eric's did, while housed in a bigger body. His offense has not blossomed like Eric's so far. It may, of course.

    Usually the guys with big frames that are risky, are either lazy, slow or poor defensively, and more often than not, some combination of those traits. Staal has those areas pretty well covered. He could bust in the way that Stefan busted (not really a bust, just never lived up to expectations), but still be a useful player. It is of course possible that he busts entirely, but something highly unexpected happens, I'd be pretty surprised if he didn't make the NHL in some capacity.
     
  10. #66

    #66 Registered User

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    IMO Staal has alot more sense than Gratton and better hands. Gratton's problem is that he sort of has tunnel vision for a center but needs to play there because his stops and starts are to poor to play wing. I really like Staal alot and I think that he could be a little bit better than Jeff Carter but not as elite as Malkin.
     
  11. J17 Vs Proclamation

    J17 Vs Proclamation Registered User

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    Well Eric is 4 years older ;). Remember Eric was nearly a full year older in his draft year. He also had a smaller frame. I didn't expect Eric to explode like he has, i thought he would top a PPG.
    So next year in the OHL for Jordan (he wont make the leap) is the year we should be comparing Eric's draft year too.

    I didn't follow or know about hockey when Stefan was drafted, but was he ever predicted to have much upsides at all?
     
  12. Brock

    Brock Registered User

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    It all relates back to bloodlines. Both Eric and Marc have seen this exponential growth, so people (and rightfully so) believe that Jordon will follow the same suit. Jordan is a big kid, and he's not fully grown into his body yet, much the same way his brothers weren't when they were drafted. The learning curves for the two prior Staal brothers has been outstanding, so as of right now there really isn't much you can do but expect Jordan will follow in the same path. And as many have mentioned, he's already got all the fundamentals to the game down, it's just a matter of growing confident and comfortable.

    Probably the same reason that the youngest brother Jared will go relatively high in the upcoming OHL draft. I've heard he's nothing more then an average Midget prospect, but with the whole growth curve these brothers have shown, a team is going to be willing to take a chance on him.
     
  13. Seph

    Seph Registered User

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    In Stefan's draft year, he was already a ppg in a men's professional league (the new defunct IHL). He was projected to be a big body that could shutdown other team's top lines, while scoring around a point per game. He was picked ahead of Daniel Sedin, who had just put up 42 pts in 50 games in the SEL (for comparison, Backstrom put up 26 points in 46 games this year). Yes, he was thought to have very nice upside. 1999 was also a pretty poor draft, but still, he was the 1st overall pick.

    But fair point on age, and maybe it's unfair to compare the brothers just yet. And even then, Jordan might not really put together his offense for several years. You just never know, and different players follow different progress routes.
     
  14. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    Gratton was more of a wannabe true powerforward of that era's prototype... a guy who wanted to be big and mean and score a lot, like the Nolans and Shanahans, etc, but who was maybe not naturally mean and just starting to try to learn it at the time. For that style, his two-way play wasn't supposed to matter. I don't think of him as having had any particular two-way presence... it wasn't really necessary. He was okay. If he took some draws, he more often ended up essentially playing LW while Corpse had more of the role of the centerman. Generally speaking, I don't feel like Gratton was particularly similar to Staal as a junior. But he has settled into a role something more similar as a pro. :dunno: Chad Kilger was the one we talked about in a previous thread who actually maybe had more of a Staal-like feel to his game, IMO.

    But as to "why"... again, there's a lengthy thread on that from a few weeks back, but it basically comes down to this: he skates well, he seems to have all the tools, but he's playing on a really deep team and is usually not expected to have the offensive responsibility for his team. In some ways, I feel like he "backs off" a bit, or defers to all the other talented players on the Petes. He looks like he could readily do more. But it's not his turn yet to carry the load. And I think once some of those players are gone next year, he will have a huge opportunity to take control and really score more. Once he gets the knack and the confidence starts kicking in, he'll be able to push for 100 pts next year.

    That's the biggest part. And then the small addendum to it is: look at what Eric is doing, and look how Marc made exactly the same jump over the past 2 years from a tool-laden "good" player in his draft year, to fulfilling the projections as a star one year later. Everything looks pretty much the same for Jordan.

    Doesn't mean those expectations or projections for exponential growth will be right, but it does seem to be the consensus "feeling" that most observers have. Plus the completeness of his current game is a big plus. Any "safety factor" a prospect can display at a young age can mean lot. It really is attractive to think that you can be pretty sure to get a solid player with your high draft pick, even if he doesn't become a superstar, with almost no chance to be a total bust. Staal also seems to give a lot of that kind of reassurance as a prospect, even if he doesn't follow the steep curve that some are projecting.
     
  15. Am I the only one that thinks Gratton is overrated?

    I hope for Jordan Staal's sake he becomes a better player than that. I can't stand Gratton.
     
  16. timlap

    timlap Registered User

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    Thanks Gardien, Brock and others. Okay so I have beefed up my profile of Staal a bit now.

    - Good defensive player
    - Strong skater
    - Size
    (You guys are right that those 3 qualities alone should make him attractive)
    - Bloodlines, the history of his two brothers taking big steps after their drafts (of course I've been aware of this, just not sure how much weight to give it. It worked for the Sutters, I think).


    Some people have said he has "all the tools, but others have said he lacks a good shot. Could you guys comment on that?

    And (sorry if someone already addressed this) is he a very effective physical player?
     
  17. Seph

    Seph Registered User

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    Read an interview with him recently where he said one of his biggest faults that he needed to work on was that when he shoots, he doesn't really look for holes on the goalie, he just gets it and let's it go. I'm guessing that may be a factor in, and fortunately that's defeinitely something that can be worked on and improved.
     
  18. Blind Gardien

    Blind Gardien nexus of the crisis

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    I don't think I recall seeing him use the shot a lot. Hard to say. Most goals I've seen, it's him following the puck into traffic. That kind of gets back to my feeling that he kind of defers to his high-profile teammates sometimes. Instead of winding up and wiring shots of his own, he'll pass it off, and instead clean up on their plays. Just my impression, though.
    I think he's "effective", but not by any means "intimidating". He has the size to be the latter, but either not the mean streak or not the confidence yet to realize how much better he could be by using his size to greater advantage. He definitely plays well in traffic and doesn't shy away from anything, though.
     
  19. Powdered Toast Man

    Powdered Toast Man Is he a ham?

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    Hey, don't bad mouth Phillips. He turned out fine.
     
  20. Seph

    Seph Registered User

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    Wasn't meaning to bad mouth him, he's still a good and useful player, and I'd gladly take him on my team.

    He's just never lived up to the projections he had at his draft. It's not like Gratton's that bad of a player either, and Staal isn't nearly as hyped as Johnson. I was just listing guys that didn't quite reach what people hoped of them. They're still good players (well, Daigle occasionally is), just not what the teams drafting them hoped they'd be. Then again, it was a pretty bad draft year, so maybe he shouldn't considered a disappointment. But basically, Erik Johnson is projected to be a much better player than Phillips, so it'd be somewhat disappointing, though not horrible, if all he became was a Phillips.

    Would you prefer that I said "and Erik Johnson could be the next Aki Berg?" It's not quite as good of a comparison, as Berg wasn't drafted quite as high and as I recall wasn't thought to have the same offensive upside, but it suffices.
     
  21. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    He turned out fine as a player and anyone would want him, but when you're holding a number 1, 2 or 3 pick and you're picking an 18 year old, I think you generally want more...
     

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