Maybe we’re wrong about Alain Vigneault
Maybe we’re wrong about Alain Vigneault and his development of young players. Stay with me here, but let’s judge this based on track record alone. For years, the Rangers were notorious for blowing it with young players. Was it talent or was it development? Michael Del Zotto failed to develop into the player he could’ve been under John Tortorella and is now showing he is a solid player, and Dylan McIlrath was the mystery that could never be cracked.
AV’s Track Record
Chris Kreider started off AV’s first season with New York in Hartford. Alain Vigneault had this to say at the time: “as much as I believe that he’s real close and probably could play at our level right now, he needs to play big minutes and good minutes. I felt with our group right now, I wasn’t going to be able to give him those minutes.”
This is following a season in which Kreider struggled mightily under Torts.
The Result: Kreider was called up after 20 games and went on to score 17 goals that season.
J.T. Miller had the makings of a bust for quite a while. He was sent down to Hartford multiple times, and the last time he was sent down, AV questioned his focus and maturity.
The Result: Miller was called up after 30 games and finally broke out, scoring 10 goals and 23 assists in the team’s final 58 games.
Brady Skjei was brought up at seemingly exactly the right time, not too early where he ever looked overmatched or lost on the ice.
Kevin Hayes also had his run-ins with AV, watching some games from the press box and credits that for his turn-around after his rookie season.
What we’re witnessing now with Pavel Buchnevich is very much the same. We’ve seen him shuttled between New York and Hartford and often times have been frustrated with his lack of playing time. But anyone that honestly tells me that Buchnevich looked up to the task in last year’s playoffs against Montreal is lying.
Maybe we’ve been looking at it the wrong way. Maybe AV knows what he’s doing with developing young players. The track record tells us this; under his watch, there hasn’t been a bust and hopefully, it stays that way. Along the way, AV has given fans a lot of frustration when it comes to youth, but one thing that he hasn’t given us is a dud.