Up to this point, each article in our Top 25 has talked about players that we all agree have some rather large deficiencies. We've mostly had people saying things like, "Yeah, I ranked this guy the highest, but look at the other options! They've got even bigger problems!" In my view, Tobias Rieder doesn't really belong in that group. This is a player with real potential.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Drafted||Year||Alan ||Ben ||Bruce ||DB ||Derek ||Jon||Michael||Ryan||Scott|
Of course, my view isn't exactly the consensus. Here's what Derek had to say:
There were 9 players better than Colten Teubert, but essentially equal in my eyes, that formed a gob of players who are interchangeable. I put them together on a list and asked which one I would want if I were drafting from that list of 9 and Tobias kept falling down the list.
So what makes Derek apprehensive? Well, Tobias Rieder had an amazing season in 2011-12 (1.46 points per game and 0.72 goals per game), but people needed to see more in order to believe this guy was turning into an offensive juggernaut. His previous season wasn't nearly as impressive, and when I looked for comparables using his draft and draft +1 seasons, they weren't easy to find, which meant that it was particularly difficult to project what kind of player Rieder might be.
The wait and see approach is proving wise, but regression isn't exactly what Oiler fans were hoping for. With 24 goals and 44 points in 43 games (1.02 PPG and 0.56 GPG) so far this season, Rieder has taken a clear step back offensively. On the other hand, Rieder is once again leading his team in scoring (unless you include Josh Leivo, but he spent most of the season in Sudbury), ahead of first round picks Matt Puempel and Radek Faksa, and has produced much more offense since returning from the World Juniors in January.
Prior to his departure, Rieder scored 23 points in 28 games; since his return, Rieder has potted 21 in 15. Tobias Rieder has missed Kitchener's last few games because of some minor injuries sustained in a recent car accident, but will return to the lineup this evening. There's not much chance of Rieder matching his totals from last season, but he should push them closer. And when you add respectable offense to a player with a reputation for solid two-way play and experience of the PK, I think you've got a player with a decent chance of finding his way to the NHL. Then again, I would've said the same thing about Curtis Hamilton just two short years ago. Let's hope that Rieder's transition to pro hockey is a bit smoother.