Back to School

Bolt Prospects has learned defenseman Kevin Quick, who made such a strong impression on Lightning management at last month's prospect camp, appears to be going back to Salisbury Prep School in Connecticut rather than join a junior team in the USHL. Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said that Quick, a 2006 Fourth Round pick, also has an eye toward attending an Ivy League school in 2007, where he will play hockey. Rumors from around the internet had suggested Quick was/is being recruited by powerhouses such as North Dakota and Minnesota of the WCHA to name a few. Feaster indicated the family's decision is not final at this point, but returning to school is the likely choice. He said the organization will continue to be "persistent, but patient" with Quick as he begins his young career. The club is excited about about Quick's ultimate future, and is taking a "good things come to those who wait" attitude toward the present situation.

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Opinion

My first thought when learning this was of disappointment as, like many here, I thought his development could best be served in the USHL. The hockey fan in me also looks at Kevin potentially going to an Ivy League hockey school over a (again, potentially) WCHA school and thinks the best option may not have been taken here. However, as a father of two, when I take a step back and look at this situation, Kevin is going to be able to get an Ivy League education for free AND likely play in the NHL until he's 35-40. Perhaps this is just "noble spin," but that seems like a very smart decision when looking at it from the family's point of view. We saw this a few years ago with Arthur Femenella, and while his hockey career seems to have fizzled out, he got the education he was desperately looking for coming out of the USHL. (Granted, the upsides of Arthur and Kevin are completely different... and you can still maintain eligibility in the USHL) So, if I want what's best for the club, I'm disappointed Kevin's fast-track to the NHL is going to slow down a little. But, I can see the family's logic and I can't argue against it.

Agreed.

I was disappointed at first, too, after hearing this, but reading your comment makes more sense than being disappointed. Sometimes we all forget that these players are real people like us, except with exceptional athletic skills, and not just commodities for our favorite team to pick up and put into the machine to do well.

Now lets hope he chooses

Now lets hope he chooses one of the couple of ECACHL schools that are actually worth a darn. If he goes to Yale, I have issues. Hopefully he goes to Harvard or, better, Cornell. I was ready to rank him pretty highly in our prelim ratings in the Fall. I have to admit, I'm less inclined to do so after this decision.

Don't lament

Having watched him be the youngest guy on the ice in 4 matches, I'm not extremely concerned about this route for this kid. The USHL/WCHA routes will get him their a bit faster, but I don't think all that much. I brlieve I projected 4 - 4 1/2 years before he's an NHL regular and it is nearly entirely all based on physical stature. If he had Hamrlik's eighteen year old physique, he could play this year and be better than Roman was his rookie year. This kid is smart, hockey smart. He has hockey skills enough to compete in all areas. He's willing to take the body and has excellent technique. The bottom line is, for all his skill and technique, Ovechkin is gonna play through him and squish him like a bug. For all the pluses he gets for playing at the higher level, he may get nearly as many playing at lower levels. He won't get to adjust to the "speed" of the game, but I don't think it'll be a long period of adjustment in his case. He may become better at threading passes to guys who are too slow to put daylight between them and their opponent. He will always QB the power play and get many more opportunities to work on his shot which may be a relative weakness at this point. As one of the best players on the ice for his squad, he'll likely be encouraged to pinch in on the play which is a plus ability in Tort's system. He'll likrly play the 1st unit on the PK. In other words, he'll get all the opportunities that 30 minute-a-night defenseman get. Barring major injury, this kid has too much to fall much on the depth chart.

Less Than 30 Games

That's what I'm most concerned about. He's going to play less than 30 games this year, and that's a ridiculously low amount, especially when you consider a good number of those are going to be the typical 9-1 prep school blowout garbage games. I can't stress enough how important it is that players in that 18-21 range get as many games under their belt as they can to keep their development moving forward. Alex Polushin is the perfect example of what happens when a player doesn't. When he suffered that knee injury a dozen games into his first Superleague season, he was considered by pretty much everyone in the free world to be a sure fire NHL second line player at the minimum. But when you don't play or you play at an inferior level, bad habits can set in and areas of a young player's game that need work don't get filled in and as a result never get filled in. I understand and respect Kevin and his parents decision, and the Lightning organization knew this was a potential outcome when they drafted him (it might very well be a reason why a guy with this much potential lasted until the third round). But I have a hard time considering this next season of his development anything more than wasted time and time he'll never get back. Is he a strong enough prospect to overcome it? Possibly. We won't know for quite some time IMO. And I don't like Helenius only getting 15 games this year behind Rask either, for that matter.

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