With the 17th overall pick in the 2010 entry draft, Colorado selected Joey Hishon. This was an off-the-board pick, and received quite the reaction in our draft thread. Dario started it off with a very un-Dario-esque comment:
After that, comments included:
The Avalanche select WHO? - Americanario
WHO THE FUCK.. - horbayj
What the fuck just happened. - SlamDunkTheFunk
I’m totally stunned…dumbfounded…take your pick. - Jori
You are feeling angry because we just wasted out 1st round pick. Circa the early 2000 drafts when we thought we were smarter than everyone. - McGeorge
A travesty. A sham. A mockery. A travashamockery. - Mike @ MHH
Although Hishon was, at one point, a highly ranked prospect, injuries limited him to 36 games in the 09-10 season (where he got 16 goals and 24 assists), and his stock dropped to the point where many had thought he would be available in the second round.
For the record, I was excited when Colorado selected Joey Hishon. I'd like to say that it was because I knew we had gotten a great player, but in my case, it was blatant homerism. Hishon did not play in any of the Attack games I attended in the 2009-2010 season, so I had no real first-hand knowledge of Hishon at the time.
Fortunately, I was able to see Hishon play for the Attack many times throughout last season, and, while I am by no means an expert, it gave me the opporunity to form my own opinions on Colorado's 'travashamockery'.
Hishon's stats for the 2010-2011 season are:
The Attack finished 1st in the Western Conference with 97 points, and went on to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup as OHL champions. Hishon finished the regular season 14th in points, and tied teammate Robby Mignardi for first in playoff point production. Joey spent a lot of time on both the Attacks penalty kill (81.3% regular seasn, 76.8% playoffs), and powerplay (23.9% regular season, 23.3% playoffs), and was second in the OHL with 5 short handed goals. He also finished with 14 powerplay goals.
During the Memorial Cup, Brayden McNabb attempted to phase his elbow through the head of Joey Hishon. Hishon would leave the game and miss the rest of the Memorial cup. I haven't heard too much in the way of updates on Joey's health, and, sadly, don't expect to until he shows up for training camp in the fall. Attack coach Mark Reeds had said that if the Attack had made it to the final game of the Memorial Cup, both Hishon and Wilson would have been able to play, but Reeds is also the one who first said Hishon had been spending most of his time in the hotel room with the lights out. Fortunately, Hishon passed the baseline concussion tests, and I really hope he suffered no permanent injury from the hit.
Ok, this post is getting somewhat lengthy, and I haven't gotten to my thoughts on Hishon's play yet. So here, in no particular order, are my thoughts on Hishon's strengths and weaknesses.
In the Memorial Cup thread Shotgunstohalosx commented
The bad penalties aren't too common for him, I like the roughing penalties. I mean it takes him out, but he's standing up for his team mates, someone's gotta do it.
As much as I agree with the second part, I have to disagree with the first. During the playoffs Owen Sound twice (in games I attended) was given a too many men penalty because Joey was slow getting off the ice. There were also a few occasions (during both the regular season and playoffs) where I felt Hishon took unneccessary penalties. Not so much the type of penalty as the timing. Joey plays a very physical game, especially given his size, but I would like to see him work on his discipline next season. Of course this could be similar to when Stewie injured his hand in the fight. It was frustrating having him out with a broken hand, but if he had backed out of the fight in the first place, he never would have been CGDS. Joey plays with an edge, and it is an important part of his game.
There was concern when Hishon was drafted that we had picked up another injury prone player, but, although Hishon has suffered a few major injuries for a young player, I don't think any of the injuries are of the type that you could fit under the heading 'injury prone'.
During the memorial cup, the announcers commented "Hishon with those magic hands". You don't really have to search hard to find reference of "Hishon magic". Joey has great vision, and "magic hands", and I am excited to see how these skills transfer to the NHL. He often made great tape-to-tape passes, and made several highlight reel goals. The only concern I have is that I have seen him overplay the puck, leading to turnovers. Its not at the point where I'm concerned he'd be a turnover machine though.
Really, there's not a lot of negative stuff that can be said about Hishon. Although everyone was shocked when Colorado took him at 17th, he showed this season that the Avalanche made the right move. Despite being small for NHL standards, he doesn't let himself get pushed around. He has a high compete level, and when the game is on the line, he wants the puck on his stick. He puts his stick in the passing lanes, he has speed, he has vision, he's smart with the puck, I just can't say enough about the guy.
As to whether or not Hishon makes the team out of training camp this year, I think the biggest factor that will affect that is the status of Mueller and Fleischmann come the fall. If they are both healthy and playing for the Avalanche, I expect Hishon will be given at least one more year of development, otherwise, I think Hishon could have little trouble making the teams starting roster. Who Colorado drafts next weekend with the number 2 pick could also impact his chances, but the only draft pick I could see making a difference is Landeskog. RNH has at least another year of development, I expect Hishon would be ahead of Couturier or Huberdeau, and Larsson plays defense. As Landy fits a different role from Hishon, and is considered by many to be ready to play in the NHL next year, if Colorado picks him, it could affect Hishon's chances in the fall.
With our depth in C, the next question is, what position does Hishon play? Hishon is naturally a center, and played the position with the Attack, so it is possible he will displace either Stastny or Duchene when he makes the club, but he also spends time on the wings, and will go into the boards to fight for the puck, so I wouldn't be surprised if he gets moved to one of the wings. Really, your guess is as good as mine on this.
Regardless of when he starts with the Avalanche, and what position he plays, I really look forward to seeing Hishon in the burgandy and blue.