Grading the Rookies: Syracuse Crunch
A look at how the young guns are doing after three games.
The Syracuse had four rookies among their top six scorers last season. Chances are they won’t have that type of representation at the top of the stats sheet, but with six rookies currently on the roster they will still have an impact. Granted, grading rookies after three games isn’t exactly fair, but it at least sets a baseline for the rest of the season.
Ross Colton (3 games, 0 goals, 1 assist) - B
At 22-years-old, Colton is the oldest player on this list. Due to that, it seems that Coach Groulx has given him a bit more of a leash than some of the other rookies. He’s seen time on the penalty kill and power play. He’s shown to be a tough forechecker and a pretty good shut down forward. Chances are he’s going to stick with the squad even when some of the injured players start to return, even with all of the movement over the past 48 hours.
Alex Barre-Boulet (3 games, 2 goals, 1 assist) - B+
He’s been as advertised. A small, shifty forward who is slicker than a cell phone without a case. He’s been exceptional on the power play. Thanks to his his puckhandling ability and passing ability, other teams have played off of him, trying to limit his options. He’s been more than happy to take that space and fire it on net with a sneaky, good wrist shot. He still needs to improve his defense a little bit, and - like most gifted playmakers - needs to cut down on his turnovers.
Oleg Sosunov - (3 games, 1 goal, 0 assist) - B
In the minutes he’s been called upon he’s been just fine. While his footwork still needs a lot of work, he’s used his tremendous reach to bail himself out of a couple of awkward situations. He seems to have pretty good instincts and doesn’t get caught out of position too often.
Taylor Raddysh - (3 games, 1 goal, 0 assist) - C
Yes he has a goal, which ties him for second on the team, but other than that he hasn’t really been noticeable on the ice. It’s way too early to be concerned. Raddysh has a history of producing points at the junior level and has the size to not be pushed around. He could follow a similar path that Mathieu Joseph did last season - some early season struggles until he adapts to the speed of the AHL and his talent takes over.
Boris Katchouk - (3 games, 0 goal, 1 assist) - C+
See above. Same thing, basically. He did have a slightly stronger game on Saturday, therefore he gets a slightly better grade than Raddysh.
Cal Foote - (3 games, 0 goal, 1 assist) - B
Yes, Cal Foote is still a rookie. Despite the fact that he was playing what seemed like 20 minutes a game in the playoffs (we’ll never know for sure thanks to a lack of decent stats at the AHL level), this is still his first full season as a professional. That hasn’t stopped Coach Groulx from rolling him out there at every occasion this season. He’s cemented on the second pairing with Dominik Masin, kills penalties and sees some time on the power play.
Much like last season, it seems like he’s been focusing more on not making mistakes then pushing for more offense. It still feels like he’s holding something back. As the season progresses hopefully he emerges a bit more offensively.
Otto Somppi - (0 games) - Incomplete
Somppi, who was with the team at the end of last year, was a healthy scratch for the season opener and then suffered a hand injury during practice that will knock him out of the lineup for two to three weeks. It’s a shame, because he could have been in the mix to get some playing time due to the wealth of veterans that are currently out due to injury. Minutes are going to be hard to come by for forwards once Kevin Lynch, Michael Bournival, Olivier Archambault are healthy.