Friday, July 11, 2008

Catching up with Angelo

Fewer prospects have been as intriguing or experienced such a roller coaster ride as Angelo Esposito. Esposito, now just 19 years old, has been on the radar of hockey people and fans for years. At one point, before the 2007 draft he was mentioned as the presumptive #1 pick and drew favorable comparisons to another skilled center phenom, Sidney Crosby. Esposito lived up to all of this during the 2005-06 season, his first in major junior competition where he scored 98 points (39 goals and 59 assists) in 57 games.

But that success wasn't to be. Esposito's breakout season was aided by playing with current NHL star Alex Radulov, and when Radulov left Espo's production went down the wayside. In the past two seasons in the "Q" Esposito's scored 79 and then 69 points.

His NHL draft stock, as we all know, took a Brady Quinn, and the Penguins selected him 20th overall and then traded him to Atlanta as part of the Marian Hossa package.

The Atlanta-Journal Constitution has a nice article about Esposito, currently in Atlanta for their summer prospect development camp, and the hopes that they have for him.

Esposito will play another year of junior hockey, Waddell said, for the new Junior de Montreal team in Esposito's hometown. The Thrashers need to sign him by June 1, 2009. "From there," Waddell said, "his play will dictate where he goes."

Note that what's expected to be one of the worst teams in the league next year doesn't even expect to have Esposito make a push for the NHL roster. Of course, this has something to do with the measured development that the Thrashers are charting for Angelo, which probably will benefit him and perhaps the team in the long-run. But if he was polished enough mentally and physically to be a contributor at the NHL level, surely he wouldn't be looking at having tea with Miss McGill already...

We're thinking the Penguins may have bought Esposito's stock at it's low point and still were able to sell while it had significant value.


JP said...

Two things. First, beauty Youngblood reference. Second, the phrase "current NHL star Alex Radulov" may be past its expiration date.

Hooks Orpik said...

Point taken on Radulov....So much for the NHL and the KHL living up to their agreement to honor each other's player contracts.