Sunday, November 16, 2008

Paukovich is Proving Me Wrong

Geoff Paukovich's stats line may not be very impressive, 4gp. 1-0-1 3sog. and 10 pim. is hardly anything to write home about, but the stats don't tell the whole story. Paukovich has been a big and menacing force while also not looking nearly as out of place offensively as he did at Denver University. The Oilers 2nd round pick at #57 in the 2004 NHL draft, Paukovich hasn't shown much for offensive talent after a respectable offensive Freshman season at DU.

The problem then was after he boarded current Falcons teammate Robbie Bina and caused Bina to miss a large amount of time with the UND Fighting Sioux, Paukovich also stopped using his body. The same 6'4" frame with an ill temperament that made him attractive to Oilers scouts.

This season, Paukovich started the physical play early including a questionable hit against the Calgary Flames in the inaugural rookie series between the Oilers, Flames, and Canucks rookies, as well as the U of A Golden Bears. Paukovich hasn't stopped dishing out the punishment since. While he has had a hard time to get into the lineup on a consistent basis, when he's been in there he's made the most of it.

He plays like JF Jacques except without as much strength and skill. However if Jacques returns to Springfield, they could form one hell of a tough line to play against. If you add a guy like Guillaume Lefebvre to that line, there will be some serious bruises on whoever lines up against that trio of hard nosed and hard hitting Falcons.

Paukovich's upside maybe small, but he seems to realize that defensive and physical hockey is what will get him to the show if he ever makes it that high. For that I have pulled him from my prospects scrap heap and I look forward to seeing more of big #20 for the Falcons in the future.

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