The Contrarian – Picking up the Chicklets

Thomas Drance




Does size matter in fantasy hockey? 

So you clicked on the article and thought this was about to be a column regarding goons and penalty minute leaders. Instead you get one about another kind of fighter. This is about the little guys in the league who work their hearts out to make it into the NHL.


Everyone has started to hear about, five-foot-nine, Johnny Gaudreau. Even before his three assists in a pre-season match against the Winnipeg Jets on October 2nd he was on the radar map for most poolies when he scored a goal in his only game last season.


Ryan Pike of The Hockey Writers wrote, "Uncharted Territory: Flames Johnny Gaudreau Battles For NHL Spot". Similarly Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun penned, "Young guns lead Calgary Flames to win over Jets".


In the articles they espouse his talent and work ethic to make the Flames roster. Sportak has him quoted as saying "I'm trying to show management I belong and whatever I have to do to do that is what I'll try" and "Whether it's playing well defensively or creating offensive chances, I've got to make sure I'm doing my best."


Pike adds, "For his part, Gaudreau's trying his best to make the Calgary Flames roster out of training camp. He's buzzed around the net and generated a lot of scoring chances, including a picturesque goal that woke up the crowd during a sleepy 2-0 Flame pre-season win over Colorado" and "The locker room knows the kid has got the straight goods inside the opposition's blue-line."


Comparable stories are out there this pre-season about small players trying to make the big club. For instance, Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star has written a story called


"Brandon Kozun looks to make big splash with Leafs".


Like the two articles about Gaudreau, McGran details the work effort of Kozun who is five-foot-eight. "I'm a small guy. But I want to play big", said Kozun. Former coach Dave Lowry adds, "The one thing I like about him is he has a chip on his shoulder and he wants to prove everybody wrong for all the right reasons."


Current coach Randy Carlyle cautions, "I don't think you can expect him to step in here and be an offensive force. He is a speedster and he's a smart hockey player." For now it looks like his chance to make the Leafs will b