17 November 2009
Darroll Powe's route to the NHL as definitely been on the road less traveled. The Saskatchewan native was an after thought in the 2001 Ontario Hockey League Draft, chosen at 194th overall by the Ottawa 67's. So at the age of 16 he left his hometown of Saskatoon and went to Ontario, but not to join the 67's, to play what could be considered D-3 hockey in Canada. There's a league, or an association of many leagues, below the Major Junior level called the Canadian Junior Hockey League that has always been a big feeder for American college hockey programs (they don't pay their players which keeps the kids eligible for U.S. colleges as amateurs). In that season with the Katana Stallions Powe notched 41 points in 46 games on a team that went 18-28-9-4. The most prolific scoring season of his career combined with decent grades at Earl of March Secondary School were enough to get him a full ride to Princeton. Well, actually Ivy's don't give athletic scholarships, but they do give athletic scholarships not so secretly disguised as financial aid - either way Powe was headed to dirty Jerz - a place Candian kids only know about as a result of the recent release of Enter the 36 Chambers.
At Princeton, while following in the footsteps of his father the financial planner by majoring in Economics, Powe didn't set the score sheet on fire. In 4 years he had only 57 points in 120 games. Not the mold of a college player that usually makes it to the pro ranks. In fact, even during his most productive season he didn't lead the team in scoring. Instead he finished behind a kind from Edmonton who went on to play 10 games in the Central Hockey League and then dropped off the radar.
Immediately following the conclusion of the Tigers 2006-07 season, however, the Phantoms signed Powe to an Amateur Tryout Contract. He joined the club for their remaining 11 games and notched 4 points. He even had his salt tested in one of his first AHL Games, and then a rematch 2 days later.
Look at the two college kids go at it!
In an article around that time Princeton's coach referred to Powe as one of "college hockey's most powerful and fastest skaters." Speed will always get a player noticed. GM's firmly believe that other skills can be learned and developed - speed and size cannot. That's why you see a lot of big kids drafted in the later rounds of the NHL Entry Draft, and also why if you have a natural skater he's going to get noticed. And Powe certainly flys around out there.
I wonder if Paul Holmgren would have been following Powe as closely if he had not been in our back yard at Princeton. I wonder if Homer would have been able to sign him to an ATC if half the Phantoms hadn't been playing for the Flyers during the horrible 2006-07 season. Either way, Powe put up 23 points in 76 games and was +5 in his only full season in the AHL. And then opportunity came knocking in the form of a Danny Briere muslce tear last December. When Briere was put on the shelf for a month Powe was called up to replace him and never looked back. He had 5 goals and 6 assists in 60 games last year and he's already surpassed that career high in goals with last night's tally in the opening period.
Right now Powe is on pace to score 30 goals. I think we can safely say that's not going to happen. But could you imagine if he got 20? What an accomplishment that would be for a kid who shunned the OHL for Princeton of all places. Who seems to have just been getting better his whole life. Come to think of it, maybe 30's down the road.
|< Prev||Next >|