Adding “D” to Depth: Sabres Add Kevin Porter

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Welcome to “Hockey Heaven,” Kevin Porter.

Or perhaps more fittingly, welcome to the Sabres’ self-proclaimed “Hockey University” of Rochester. Indeed, Porter has struggled mightily to find success at the NHL level. Here’s a blow-by-blow account of how Adrian Dater of the Denver Post summed up his 2011-12 performance:

 It’s not the fun part of my job, ripping on a guy. Kevin Porter was/is a nice guy.

Ouch. That was his lede for this analysis. Moving on:

But he was a D player for the Avs this year. (BSN Note: some of you haven’t gotten it. The “D” in the title up there comes into play now. It’s never funny when I have to explain it. Got it? OK, resume reading.) His stats: 35 games played, three goals, four assists, -2.

The Avs have to stop believing that players like Porter are going to do anything for them. He’s the kind of player who scores goals in meaningless games, and can fool you. In a game that counts in the NHL, if he’s a regular player for you, you’re going to lose.

Ouch.

He scored 14 goals for the Avs in 2010-11, but it was somewhat of a mirage. A really bad team with a guy who scored 14 goals – that and $3.50 will get you a grande non-fat latte at Starbucks.

TKO.

GM Greg Sherman can’t keep making mistakes like this. He signed Porter to a new deal, when everyone who saw him play knew he wasn’t a guy you’re going to win with at the NHL level. He was a good college player (a Hobey Baker winner in fact), but that didn’t translate to the NHL in his case. And everybody who knows the game knew that last year.

It’s just a fact of life: sometimes you’re just not good enough for the next level. It’s not an indictment of Porter’s character that he’s one of those guys. It’s just a fact.

EVERYONE BACK OFF AND GIVE THE KID SOME ROOM TO BREATHE. Dang, Dater, you really brutalized this poor guy. Honestly, it’s pretty surprising that this is what has become of a prospect who once carried a very impressive resume on Wiki:

In his 2004–05 freshman season with the Wolverines, Porter scored 11 goals in 39 games to finish with 24 points, second among Wolverine rookies to fellow USNTDP product and Coyotes draft pick, Chad Kolarik. Establishing his scoring touch as a sophomore with 38 points in 39 games, Kevin returned as a junior to lead the Wolverines with 24 goals and place second among points with 58 to earn player of the Month award (November) and nomination to the CCHA Second All-Star Team.[2]

With the departure of prolific Michigan scorer T.J. Hensick, Porter returned to captain the Wolverines for his senior year in 2007–08.[3] For the fourth consecutive season Porter improved his season totals posting 33 goals and 63 points in 43 games to lead the U of M and place second only to Nathan Gerbe in the NCAA. He set a NCAA Tournament record with four goals in the East Regional Semi-Final against Niagara, as he captained the Wolverines to the Frozen four for the first time since 2003.[4] Named as the University of Michigan Male sports person of the Year, Porter’s standout season was also awarded with selection to the CCHA First All-Star Team, CCHA Player of the Year and the NCAA West First All-American Team to culminate in winning the Hobey Baker Award as the top collegiate player in the NCAA.[5][6]

It’s not for me to say what happened to Porter since he beat out the Sabres’ own Nathan Gerbe and Ryan Jones (who now skates with the Edmonton Oilers) to win the Hobey Baker. There’s gotta’ be some good hockey left in this now 26-year old. It will likely be under the tutelage of Rochester Americans Coach Ron Rolston to figure that all out.

If he earned himself a D, I suppose “Hockey University” is the best place for him. In the end, who knows, maybe he’ll be able to bring his A game to the NHL level.

Kevin Porter Sabres 300x217 Adding D to Depth: Sabres Add Kevin Porter

This is your 2nd chance, Kevin. Study hard. We’re all rooting for you.

And nuts to you, Adrian Dater. You don’t have Kevin Porter to kick around anymore.

Go Sabres.

And go Porter.

UPDATE: Let’s return to one of Dater’s “insights” for a moment.

He’s the kind of player who scores goals in meaningless games, and can fool you. …He scored 14 goals for the Avs in 2010-11, but it was somewhat of a mirage. A really bad team with a guy who scored 14 goals – that and $3.50 will get you a grande non-fat latte at Starbucks.

Interesting. I wonder which regular season games Dater designates as “meaningless.” Most hockey minds would be quick to rebuke anyone who would claim that any of those 82 regular season games are meaningless. And about that whole “mirage” thing – did his 14 goals merit any value at all?

Well, it turns out that of those 14 goals that he netted in the 2010-11 season, 3 of them were game winners, and one of those was in overtime. 21% of his goals – game winners.

Meaningless? I’d like to hear Drater’s definition of that word. Last I checked, that definition doesn’t include the word “clutch.”

Again: nuts to you, Dater.

 

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