In today’s Toronto Sun regular columnist Steve Simmons wonders what Pat Quinn sees in Nik Antropov and Alex Ponikarovsky and whether they deserve another chance with the Leafs.
You see, most of the hockey world looks at Nik Antropov and sees this large, gangly, marginally accomplished hockey player and they have to wonder what happened to that kid with all the promise.
But let’s compare Antropov to two other big, power forward type players at early stages in each of their careers.
|Player A||Player B||Nik Antropov|
Antropov has had a better start to his career than Player A and is comparable to Player B. And he did that coming from a poor development league in Khazakastan while both Player A and Player B did it coming from successful Junior carrers in the OHL.
Player A was drafted in the first round, 18th overall. Player B was drafted in the first round 23rd overall. Antropov was drafted in the first round 10th overall. Not really a big difference in draft ranking, and thus career expectations although Antropov was a surprise pick that early.
Both Player A and Player B were traded (and given up on) prior to age 23. Player A twice.
Both Player A and Player B developed into 40+ goal, 90+ point players.
Both Player A and Player B are now all-stars playing on the top line of Stanley Cup contenders.
If you haven’t figured it out yet Player A is Glen Murray and Player B is Todd Bertuzzi. Now before all of you jump all over my claiming I am just a Leaf lover and don’t know what I am talking about let me say that I don’t know if Antropov will continue to develop and become a 40 goal scorer. What I am saying is that he could and we shouldn’t give up on him yet. I believe that big power forward type players often take longer to develop and that giving up on Antropov at this point in his career might be a huge mistake. Don’t you think the Islanders wish they still had Bertuzzi? And if the worst case scenario is that he is a 15 goal, 40 point, third line center/winger making only around $1 million I say, hey, that ain’t so bad either. Please, let’s all keep things in perspective.