|Thomas Hickey: This Season's P.K. Subban!|
Best-case scenario: Drewiske finds his game pre-last season's injury, Harrold plays like Mike Weaver, and Muzzin plays like Randy Jones?
Worst-case scenario: Drewiske doesn't find his game, Harrold plays like Harrold, and Muzzin plays like an over-aged junior player with 14 games of AHL experience making the jump to the NHL.
I'm thinking it falls somewhere in-between.
There's a bit of irony in the Kings decision to give Muzzin an opportunity of Hickey. Both players were selected in the 2007 NHL Draft. Hickey was selected 4th overall by the Kings while Muzzin was selected 141st overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins. I'm sure some Kings fans are ready to call Hickey a flop because of his demotion (Probably the same fans that are still bitter about the Kings decision to move down and draft Colten Teubert over Tyler Myers...but that's an argument for a different day). I wasn't all that impressed with Muzzin when he was paired with Johan Fransson against Phoenix in the first home exhibition game of the season but at 6'3 you have to like Muzzin's size if nothing else.
|Jake Muzzin Has The Golden Ticket|
MUZZIN OVER HICKEY?
Talk about a whirlwind calendar year for Muzzin. Not retained by the Penguins, signed to the Kings after a breakout overage-junior season, voted the OHL's Top Defenseman, and then arrives to Kings Training Camp with a spot on the NHL roster. You have to feel for Viatcheslav Voynov and even for Colten Teubert. Both players are nursing injuries and were unable to even compete for a spot on the blueline.
2007 NHL DRAFT REWIND?
I remember being at Hollywood & Highland for the Kings Draft Party when they selected Hickey 4th overall. Most Kings fans there thought that Lombardi would take Karl Alzner because he was the most 'NHL-ready' defenseman available. I personally wanted Sam Gagner, Jakub Voracek, or Alexei Cherepanov because I'm a sucker for high-ceiling offensive talents (Ah..Vitali Yachmenev & Pavel Rosa where are you...). When it was announced that the Kings selected Hickey, everyone was frantically flipping through the pages of their THN Draft Previews that were handed out at the door trying to find his profile. And about 20 pages later; we found him.
Taking a look at the 2007 NHL Draft Class there haven't been many players that have emerged yet. Patrick Kane has turned into a superstar. James Van Riemsdyk and Kyle Turris have yet to make their mark in the NHL. Dean Lombardi made it clear he was looking to bolster his blueline. Of the 11 blueliners drafted in the first round; only Karl Alzner (51 games), Keaton Ellerby (22), and Alex Plante (4) have appeared in an NHL game. And if it makes you feel any better; only 5 players have recorded more than 50 NHL points from the '07 Draft Class: Kane, Gagner, Voracek, David Perron, and Wayne Simmonds. Simmer was taken 61st overall with the last pick of the second round.
So let's just give Hickey some time to develop in the same way the Kings handled Bernier and allowed him to dominate the AHL for a full season. Will Hickey be the next Scott Niedermayer? Highly unlikely. But he's only 21 years old and has plenty of time to develop into the top-four defenseman he was projected to be. I'm going out on a limb here but I'm predicting that Hickey is this year's P.K. Subban. A full year in the AHL will do wonders for his game and he'll be up with the Kings just in time to be an impact player down the stretch and into the postseason. BOOM!