The new hope has begun. The arrival of Jason Zucker into the Minnesota Wild fold is something fans have been twitching about for two years. They knew his development could be as long as four years in college, time in the AHL, and finally some adapting time in the NHL. Still, the experts hyped him up, and reports out of Denver were always glowing.
Did anyone think he is the one and only answer? We sure hope not, but he is certainly a big part of that answer, and one that fans are very excited to see unfold. What does the future hold? Who knows, but for now, the pure relief Zucker brought to the table with his hands and speed were something that made a destroyed season worth watching again.
It's tough to ask more from a hockey player.
#16 / Left Wing / Minnesota Wild
Jan 16, 1992
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Nathan- I'm not even going to bother. 6 games and he had flashes of excitement. He's still likely going to spend 2/3 of next season in Houston.
Bryan- Adjusting for the fact that the kid has just six games of NHL experience, and taking into account that small sample size is something fancy stats folks like to throw around, Zucker was superb. The speed he brought to the game is something the Wild have not had in years. Sure, he has a ton to learn, has to adjust to the NHL game, and will likely start in Houston next season. Still, to make the jump from NCAA hockey to the NHL and not look out of place? That's something you have to give credit for. Watching him turn into a full time NHLer is going to be fun.
Jesse- 6 games is a very small sample size to work with when issuing a season-long grade. I wasn't necessarily thrilled that Zucker plateaued at college. You would think a kid who becomes a sophomore should have shown some growth from his freshman year, but that didn't happen. It was still an impressive season, but I think people would have liked to see him take another step forwards.
However, the kid has speed to burn. He will get a good look to make the opening day roster for the 2012-2013 season, because you just can't teach speed. A full offseason with the squad plus a training camp with the squad should help Zucker figure out Yeo's system. I won't issue a grade this year, but the eyes will definitely be on the Zook for next year.
JS- I don't feel it's fair for me to give a grade, since I only caught his debut, but from what I gathered by reading the game threads, he looked like he belonged, but may need work defensively. He's also quite the dynamo. Infatiguable, speedy, offensive touch. I like what I read.