Far and away, the biggest story of the 2006-07 postseason across the Canadian Hockey League has been the re-arrival of some forgotten names. Once touted as can't-miss stars, these players seemed to start out well, bust, and then suddenly shoot back on the scene with otherwordly play. So which of these guys should you trust to remain out of bust territory?
Devin Setoguchi (Prince George Cougars, San Jose)
No matter what Devin Setoguchi ever does, he will always be known as the guy the San Jose Sharks traded up to draft with Anze Kopitar still on the board. It didn't help that the 8th overall pick in 2005 has sucked for most of his post-draft junior career. Well, that was until he shook off homesickness and more serious physical ailments following a shocking trade from the Saskatoon Blades. A beast once finally comfortable in Prince George, the 20-year-old was a key member of the Cougars during their playoff run, scoring numerous OT game-winners enroute to a 11-10-21 line in 15 games. The major question is this: can Setoguchi, who is headed for the AHL, keep it up? Horribly inconsistent throughout his career, there have been as many glimpses of brilliance as their have been of him just not having the mindset to be a star in the pros. Sharks fans are projecting a Jonathan Cheechoo type career; that's probably not a bad bet, since to date, Cheechoo was the best in the league one year and merely very good or okay the rest.
Michal Repik (Vancouver Giants, Undrafted)
So how does a player who hasn't even been draft-eligible end up on this list? It's because a lot more was expected of a prospect who scored 52 points in 69 games as a WHL rookie. Heading into his sophmore year, Repik, a 5'11, 184 lbs left wing from the Czech Republic, looked to possibly be among the league leaders in scoring thanks to his strong supporting cast and developing skillset. Instead, the 18-year-old winger missed 13 games and failed to score any more than 55 points. Questions about durability and hockey sense dogged the winger into the playoffs, where Repik has so far silenced all critics. The first star in Vancouver's deciding game over Setoguchi's Cougars, Repik has been a star in almost every game, compiling a league-best 24 points in 19 playoff games. Initially thought of as a first round pick before sliding, Repik now jumps back into the top 20 and maybe even 15.
Kendall McArdle (Vancouver Giants, Florida)
19 goals in 63 regular season games. 10 in 20 playoff games?! Easily the most baffling turn-around, seemingly unbustable bust Kendall McArdle was a 20th overall pick doomed for failure by everyone who had ever seen him. Simply not smart or skilled enough to keep up both in the WHL and internationally, the 20 year-old winger entered the playoffs with ironically no pressure and ended up scoring a boatload of points for the Giants. The major difference? Confidence. McArdle actually looks like he knows what he's doing and what he's capable of, something he hadn't ever shown before for prolonged periods. But does this mean he's out of the woods? Nada. Confidence can help a skilled player become consistent, but it does jack for a player who just isn't good enough. McArdle, unfortunately, is not.
Sam Gagner (London Knights, Undrafted)