15 Young NHLers Who Aren’t Quite Ready For Prime Time

THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The news that Anthony Duclair was sent down the AHL Thursday was both surprising, and not so surprising.

Surprising in that he was coming off a fantastic rookie season and was lauded as one of the young guns who would form the core of a team studded with older forwards like Shane Doan, Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata. All of them could be gone by the trade deadline as the team re-tools.

It was not so surprising, if you look at how the Coyotes are under-performing, Duclair included among a group of struggling young and old players.

Perhaps a little seasoning with the Tucson Roadrunners will be the tonic to recover the promising young forward’s game. Perhaps not, we’ll see.

With the NHL youth movement in full swing and many first and second year players making headlines this season, especially in Toronto, there are just as many who have found the going too tough to handle at the big league level.

Here are 15 notable young players (mostly rookies) who aren’t quite ready for the bright lights of NHL rinks.

15. Marek Hrivik, F – New York Rangers

By rookie standards, Slovakian Marek Hrivik is an “old” guy at 25. When the New York Rangers suffered key injuries earlier this season, the call went down to the Hartford Wolf Pack for some help. Hrivik, who had eight goals and nine assists in 20 games and who had put in some really good work with the Wolf Pack the three previous seasons, seemed ready to go. The undrafted left winger started off well enough in a third-fourth line role, but saw his ice time cut significantly five games in (to a low of 5:51 against New Jersey on Dec. 18). He recorded his first point against Pittsburgh, an assist, on Dec. 20, but his minutes kept fluctuating, depending on the game. After a minus-2 performance in a win over Columbus on Jan. 7, the Rangers, who were getting the wounded back from the IR, waived Hrivik, who cleared and is back with the Wolf Pack. He had two assists and was -3 in 16 games.

(AP Photo/Fred Vuich)

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