Pat Falloon vs Ray Whitney

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by Stephen, Jun 1, 2011.

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  1. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Both were smallish prospects who lit up the WHL in 1990-91 with the Spokane Chiefs, and both were drafted with the San Jose Sharks' first two draft picks in franchise history. Falloon was obviously the higher rated prospect by a long shot, being a 2nd overall pick sandwiched between one Eric Lindros and one Scott Niedermayer, and obviously, Ray Whitney is the one who had the better career, as he is the one with over 1000 games played and almost 1000 points.

    My question is basically twofold. First, what went wrong with Pat Falloon? He seemed to put up some decent production in his rookie year with almost 60 points, which was good even in an offensively inflated league, and followed it up with a couple more respectable seasons. Even then, he was bounced around the league like a pinball, being traded for Alexandre Daigle in a three way, and was quickly out of the league. Meanwhile, Ray Whitney's path to the NHL was a bit slower, he too, bounced around the NHL for a while, having been given up on by San Jose, but he somehow stuck with it and made a career for himself. What made Whitney a success, and what made Falloon quit hockey so quickly?

    Secondly, Ray Whitney was a prolific scorer in the WHL, with 67 goals and 185 points in 72 games, in his draft year. Meanwhile, Pat Falloon 'only' had 64 goals and 138 points in 61 games, projecting to 160 points over a 72 game schedule. So even then, Whitney looked like the more prolific teammate. What made Falloon such a valuable commodity on draft day and what held Whitney back at the time?
     
  2. Canadiens1958

    Canadiens1958 Registered User

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    The Differences

    Draft. Fallon had WJC experience while Whitney did not so there was a track record of how Falloon could perform against the incoming European players.Plus he was solid during the WJC/ Factor in that there is a tendency to pick WJC players from the Canadian team

    NHL career. Falloon was basically a smallish non-physical RHS,playing one position - RW, Dime a dozen type player. Whitney was also smallish, not physical although slightly more so than Falloon but Whitney was an ideal niche player because he was a RHS who played LW - very few RHS play left wing and he could play center, RHS centers hang around well beyond their best before date - Glen Metropolit being a prime example.

    So Whitney lasted because he could perform at a level that was satisfactory while filling a niche and contributing at two positions.
     
  3. MS

    MS 1%er

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    Biggest difference was that Whitney had the drive and competitiveness to make the most of his talent, while Falloon did not. Whitney was also probably a more talented player to begin with.

    As for why Falloon was drafted higher - he was bigger (only an inch taller but probably 25-30 pounds heavier at the time as Whitney was scrawny as hell) and he was a first-time eligible player whereas Whitney had the blemish of being a guy passed over the previous year.

    Scouts also mis-judged who the alpha guy was in their scoring relationship, as has happened on other occasions (Hugh Jessiman vs. Lee Stempniak being one that springs to mind).

    Falloon probably could have carved out a decent career as a Michael Ryder-ish 25-30 goal winger but had zero drive and by his 3rd or 4th year was horribly out of shape. When you're fat, slow, and don't try and play defense, you end up out of the league in a hurry.
     
  4. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    i think what we have here is different degrees of smallish. in 1991, 5'11 was pretty average and you imagine that if a guy fills out, he could be successful in that frame. whitney is listed as 5'10 but is probably what, 5'8? 5'10 is always the most suspicious height to see, because most guys under that height are usually listed as 5'10, which is considered the minimum "passable" height for an NHLer.

    hard to say how high whitney would have been drafted if he'd been 5'11. but he was actually taken pretty high for a smaller guy-- in a 30 team league, he's a first round pick. other smaller guys who tore up the WHL, whether it was mark recchi or brian sakic or marty murray, were taken 4th round or later.

    also, in juniors whitney scored all those points by creating room for himself with his speed and shiftiness. there were questions whether a guy of that size would ever get that kind of room in the NHL. he was good, but was he pat lafontaine good? on the other hand, falloon scored goals the way brett hull did-- and of course this was the year hull scored 86 goals. he found holes on the ice and was opportunistic, and was considered to have a more translatable game to the NHL.

    a personal anecdote: in the summer of 1992 i attended a hockey camp that former san jose tough guy craig coxe taught at. i asked him about falloon and whitney, who was better? would we see whitney in the NHL next year? falloon had finished his rookie season with the sharks and he'd seen whitney at training camp. he didn't think whitney was going to make it to the bigs.
     
  5. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    another pair of junior linemates, one a very high pick the other less high, where the less high guy turned out to be better: jason bonsignore and ethan moreau. i remember watching that draft, the analysts (including bobby mac) were saying that edmonton should have taken moreau to play with bonsignore. of course the oilers ended up taking ryan smyth, who turned out to be pretty good.
     
  6. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Whitney's draft year (1991) was his second year of eligibility, though. He was 18 when he put up 185 points. In his age-17 season, he scored 113 in 71 games. Fallon had 138 in 61 games, though he was an early birthday; but he scored 124 in 71 games the season before anyway (which was the year before he was first eligible to be drafted).

    Falloon was the more prolific scorer in junior.
     
  7. Bexlyspeed

    Bexlyspeed Registered User

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    Pat Faloon turned into a Fat Balloon:naughty:
     
  8. jumptheshark

    jumptheshark Rebooting myself Sponsor

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    whitney has more heart then patty the fatty
     
  9. seventieslord

    seventieslord Student Of The Game

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    If my name was Pat Falloon, there is no way in hell I would ever let myself gain any weight, because it should be common sense that this nickname would soon follow. Poor foresight on his part.
     
  10. Stephen

    Stephen Registered User

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    Pat Falloon's a pretty interesting case. Pretty spectacular bust but he was so mediocre people don't even bother remembering him. I guess Alexandre Daigle was right, nobody remember (the bust) 2nd pick...
     
  11. MS

    MS 1%er

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    They were only born 4 months apart - although Whitney was eligible for the 1990 draft they were the same 'hockey age'.

    Whitney outscored Falloon by a fair bit in 1990-91 and in hindsight it's probably fair to say he was towing Falloon's production upward.
     
  12. Iain Fyffe

    Iain Fyffe Hockey fact-checker

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    Really? Falloon outscored Whitney in 1988/89 (78 to 50) and 1989/90 (124 to 113) in nearly identical games played, despite being 4 months younger. There's no reason to think that Falloon's 1990/91 numbers were very reliant on Whitney's production. On a per-game basis, Whitney was only 13% ahead of Falloon in 1990/91.

    Don't get me wrong, I love Whitney and think the was horribly underrated in the draft. But by the numbers, in junior Falloon seemed to be a heck of a prospect.
     
  13. Grinder89

    Grinder89 Registered User

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    ah Pat Falloon. Pretty much drive and weight problems led to his demise. For a time his cards were hot at my school, everyone wanted his 91-92 Pro Set draft card and 92-93 fleer ultra.

    It's a shame his career did not amount to much, post NHL life he lit up the senior leagues but I don't think he's playing anymore. I a really good article was posted on the net about his life after the NHL but it's not up anymore. Last I heard he was working on his parents farm out in Foxwarren, Manitoba.
     

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