By JD Lagrange – Premature evaluation occurs in men (and some women) when specimen needs to evaluate leave the mind (evaluate) sooner than wanted during exciting hockey times. Premature evaluation is a common hockey complaint. As many as one out of three people say they have it at some time. Premature evaluation isn’t cause for concern if it doesn’t happen often, but can put a strain on a relationship within a fan base if it goes uncontrolled.
When fans are too precocious in trying to evaluate, you are left with this feeling of deception, disappointment, wishing that they could have lasted a bit longer before reaching that point. Okay, you get the point.
There are several examples of it throughout a hockey season. Sometimes it’s immediately after a trade, a draft, or an injury. In this case, it occurs currently, this summer with the Canadiens. Fans are predicting, extrapolating and putting a tag on the Habs and have been doing that since the NHL Draft. Here are a few examples:
- Not having learned from the Shane Wright fiasco, they are now jumping on the Connor Bedard train to be drafted by the Habs.
- Many fans are not only putting together their standings for next year, but making plans for trade deadline and next off-season.
- We can read many predicting when the Canadiens will be competitive again, not know what’s ahead.
- Fans have given up on some players, or putting unrealistic hopes on others and that, before the season even starts.
- People are penciling in first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky on the top line, or in the minors, in July or early August, without seeing him against NHL players at camp.
- Kaiden Guhle and Justin Barron are being placed on the top-4 on defense.
But why? Why are we so anxious to put a tag on things so early in the off-season? What is this need to place judgment when so much can still happen from now until training camp? Worse, it’s when people present and disguise their premature evaluation as certainties and facts…
July and August is simply too soon to jump to conclusions and try predicting the outcome of the following hockey season. Let alone the next few years! And it’s particularly true when a team like the Canadiens have gone through so many changes on and off the ice. It is even more so when they are planning on playing young players, who are more inconsistent than established veterans.
There are many reasons to claim that waiting for the dust to settle is the sound thing to do.
- Every reputable NHL Insider is saying that the Habs are trying to get their hands on Pierre-Luc Dubois. If they do, it will completely change the make-up of this team, as well as the depth chart.
- While they could possibly start the season with the current roster, the Canadiens are tight against the cap and Kent Hughes is trying to shed some salary cap. There are many ways of doing this and players traded away and/or obtained will impact the on-ice product.
- Hughes has stated publicly in numerous occasions wanting to acquire a right-handed defenseman with NHL experience. What we don’t know is the impact of that said player.
- How will the new comers fit in and what kind of season will they have? Evgenii Dadonov, Kirby Dach and Mike Matheson will all have an impact. We just don’t know how much it will affect the team.
- With so many changes, how will the chemistry be between the newcomers and the old guard?
- A wildcard in the Canadiens’ line-up is the health of Jonathan Drouin and the impact Martin St-Louis could have on him. At the very least, he will be the player he has been, a 50-points player. But St-Louis might be able to get him to break out too.
- Stéphane Waite can claim whatever he wants, but Carey Price himself doesn’t know how his knee will react when he starts serious on-ice training. We can all agree that this team will look totally different with a healthy Price in net, even if it’s for 50-55 games, with Jake Allen backing him up.
- Most training camps, there are some surprises. Slafkovsky is a huge wildcard, as is Justin Barron on defense. Guhle and Jordan Harris can cause some surprises but don’t forget Otto Leskinen who is coming back from Europe. Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, Jesse Ylönen, Joël Teasdale, Mattias Norlinder or even Joshua Roy could also cause surprises.
So by all means, fans are allowed to evaluate based on what has been done so far. The wrong thing to do is to extrapolate over next season, gauging on a race for the first overall pick and so on. Too much time remains in this off-season and too many things can still happen from now until training camp. Enjoy your summer instead, as NHL General Managers are taking some much needed time off after a couple of short off-seasons.
Remember: premature evaluation is not pleasant and there are things you can do about it.