There is a saying when it comes to rebuild. It’s a one word saying, and it’s just “patience.” Patience leads to good things. Patience with the prospects is perhaps the second most critical aspect of a rebuild to scouting/drafting. But patience is an interesting phrase, and not all patience is created equal in a rebuild.
Let me pose a question.
Who is it more important to be patient with?
- The 26 year old former first round pick on his third team that has one good season?
- The 20 year old top-ten round pick playing in his first full NHL season?
The answer is pretty clear. The 26 year old likely is what he is at this point, meanwhile the 20 year old is a blank slate and an unknown. Patience with the former in a role that does not fit him may stunt the development and growth of the latter.
Now none of this necessarily matters after two games, especially with a week off in between. But it is clear I’m talking about Ryan Strome, who has been bad since camp opened, and Lias Andersson, who has been quite good. The leash on Strome as the 2C should be significantly shorter than Andersson if/when Andersson is given a shot in that role.
Let me pose the same question, but with two different players:
- The 25 year old with a big contract
- The 21 year old rookie
The answer here is again the same. The 21 year old rookie should have the longer leash. Even if the 25 year old is Brady Skjei. Skjei hasn’t had the benefit of playing with anyone good for basically his entire career, so there is some room for improvement, but he’s developed some bad snow angel habits that need to be broken. Meanwhile Libor Hajek is a blank slate and, quite honestly, an unknown quantity.
These are two examples that impact the Rangers right now. However there are other scenarios in which scaled patience will play a role. Andersson (or Strome, depending on how that first patience exercise goes) vs. Filip Chytil as the 2C is the next big debate. Assuming Andersson eventually gets a shot, he’s not as skilled as Chytil. Thus the leash for Andersson should be shorter than it is for Chytil.
This is an exercise in grey areas and understanding context. In the social media era, we are prone to black-and-white arguments, but that is not the case here or in real life. The development track for the prospects tagged as the future is the most important part of this rebuild, and that requires flexibility and adjustments. It also requires a certain amount of patience for the right players. Not all patience is created equal in a rebuild.