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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday night WHL roundup: Sluggish starts for Jacobs, Scarlett will drop them in rankings

Every year, there are players who come into their draft-eligible seasons with high expectations and for whatever reason, aren't able to live up to them.

Now, I know its early, but for all the accolades that players like Ryan Murphy, Gabriel Landeskog and Sean Couturier are drawing for their on-the-level production and play, two WHLers are off to tough starts and are going to need to kick it into gear or else see their preseason draft rankings take a hit.

Swift Current offensive defenseman Reece Scarlett has no points in four games. Now, in fairness to Scarlett, he posted just one goal and 10 points in 65 games last season for the Broncos, so it isn't like he was a slam-dunk to be a major point producer this year. But, he was seen as having a legitimate potential to be a two-way force on the blue line in some circles, and if his mediocre showing in Slovakia was one red flag, then his inability to be much of a threat offensively in the early going is another. This is a classic multi-tools player with the size, skating and puck skills to be more than he's shown thus far, so if he can't start getting some points, you'll see him start to take a fall down the rankings. Red Line Report already dropped him from 15th in August to 24th in September. Ny guess is that he'll be out of the first round in October or close to it at the rate he's going.

Now, the good news is, that a player like Scarlett could become a pretty good value pick in June, so keep an eye on him. He isn't a stiff by any means, but sometimes guys get too much credit for what they show at age 16-17, and the idea is that they'll take that next step at 17-18. When it doesn't happen, the fall can be precipitous, but it doesn't mean the end of the line.

Seattle Thunderbirds center Colin Jacobs, a native of Texas, has just one goal in four games. So much more was expected of him thus far, and so the lack of production is a bit troubling. Again, you don't want to hit the panic button so early in the season, but as is the case with Scarlett, scouts are simply expecting to see more offense from a player of Jacobs' size and talents.

The point of this post is not to be an alarmist, or to try and kick players when they are down. Obviously, these two are going to have their ups and downs over the course of the long season. But, this blog becomes lame city if all it does is post about the good and positive accomplishments of draft eligibles. Based on what I saw and read about Scarlett and Jacobs, I expected more. And, I bet if you talked to them, they'd say the same thing.

It will be interesting to see how they progress in 2010-11, and where they end up on draft day.

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