This NHL offseason has been full of an unusual amount of cynicism, thanks to the ongoing CBA negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA. Every discussion about what might happen next season has to immediately be tempered with “if there is a next season,” which is an immediate buzz kill. The offseason is meant to be a time of optimism, when fans of even the worst team in the league can look forward to the upcoming season with hope and expectation. Anything can happen, after all.
Fortunately, there’s still one area where hockey fans seem to have eternal optimism: prospects. Almost every hockey fan holds out hope that one of their favourite team’s prospects is going to turn into an all-star – centring the top-line, manning the point on the first-unit powerplay, or backstopping the team to victory. While you do get the occasional Debbie Downer who despairs that their GM will find even a fourth-line winger through the draft, most fans emphasize the positive when looking at their team’s prospect pool and downplay the negative.
This emphasis usually takes the form of stating what can’t be taught.