Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Breaking Down the 07-08 Wolverines: Kevin Quick

I really need to pick up the pace--or move more quickly (see what I did there?)--if I'm going to finish all these before the first game. Next up is #27, freshman defenseman Kevin Quick.

Last Season: Finding anything out about some of these prep school players beyond their stats is a bit tedious, but Quick had a goal and ten assists and was +26 in 25 games for Salisbury Prep. That was a major dip from the year before when he posted a 3-20--23 line in 28 games, with a +45 rating, but in his Checking In interview, Quick attributed the dropoff in points to his team being less defensively sound, so he had to reign it in on the offensive side a little bit.

Expectations: As a 2006 third-round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning, perhaps my expectations from the outset were a little bit higher than they should be. In past interviews, Red Berenson has pointed out that Quick might have a bigger adjustment period due to the fact that he's coming from prep hockey rather than the USHL.

The Lightning wanted him to play in the USHL, but Quick had made a commitment to Salisbury that he didn't want to break. He did, however, take their advice that he should probably find some tougher competition than the ECAC would allow.

That said, I fully expect him to play, and to be a good defensemen for us eventually. Everything I've read throughout his recruitment points to him as a solid two-way defenseman. He's able to jump up into the play, but he's also responsible in his own end. And apparently his skating ability will lead to many oh-so-clever puns with his last name.

In Bob Miller's observations from the Western Ontario game, he wrote the following about Quick:

Quick - After a nearly invisible first period, Quick showed some of the skating and offensive ability he was reputed to bring to the team. Still will need a lot of work in the d-zone, but his quick (sorry, couldn't come up with a more fitting description) jump to offense produced a couple of scoring chances. He really needs experience at the higher level he'll be subjected to this year. Expect some growing pains with potentially big benefit/production at some point, although likely not this season.

I guess the good news is that his speed will allow him to cover for at least some of the inevitable freshman mistakes that he'll make. From the sounds of it, he's a prime candidate for the "most improved" award from his freshman to sophomore seasons. A year in the USHL could have probably helped him, but now he'll have to learn on the job.

I wouldn't expect a big year out of him in terms of points. How well he does--and how much ice time he gets--will almost entirely depend on how quickly he's able to adjust to the college game.
He clearly has the tools to be a very good player.

Level of Necessity: 6 out of 10

I suppose I'm lucky that his number is 27 and not 2, because this rating would have likely been higher had I written this preview before the hockey coverage around the net kicked into full gear. It was hard to not get excited based on what I gathered in doing my Looking Ahead preview. All the draftniks loved him, apparently Tampa management is very high on him, and he's been compared to guys like Brian Campbell and Jack Johnson. It sounds like his talent level is off the chart, and once he gets some experience playing at the college level, he's going to be a very good player. But it seems at this point, I'd be wise to temper my expectations somewhat for this first year.

He'll still play, but at this point I have him pegged more as a third-pairing guy who doesn't see all that much time on the special teams (early reports have Kevin Porter on the point for one of the power play units). It wouldn't shock me if he eventually saw time on the power play, because it sounds as if the big adjustment for him is going to come in our end of the ice.

Other Stuff: After updating the Hockey Hotboard last week, The Wolverine continued their new "Recruiting Wednesdays" feature, with an article about Derek Lee, uber-recruit from the BCHL. He sounds like a really great kid--he apologized repeatedly for taking awhile to respond to the interview request because he was out of town, and he stated a desire to commit quickly so that the other schools won't be hung out to dry.

He seems to have a good relationship with ex-teammate and current Wolverine Ben Winnett. He didn't cite a leader, but based on what I've read elsewhere, it sounds as if Wisconsin is the team to beat. He hasn't visited Michigan yet, so we'll get our chance to make an impression. I've lived in both cities. I really do like Madison, but it's not Ann Arbor. Hopefully Lee will end up agreeing.

Red gives his first impressions of the team to The Wolverine ($ link). One thing that came out in that interview is that Chad Kolarik has earned an "A". It's nice to see that. We only had two players wearing letters, and as one of only two seniors, it seems right for him to have one. Sometimes cementing a player into a leadership role and giving him more responsibility can aid his own play. I like the move.

Mike Spath and Bob Miller will also be updating the Hockey Hot Board today or tomorrow, and we'll apparently get to find out the name of a new goalie target. Please let it be a good one.

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