Kyle Beach's final WHL season came to an end this week as his Spokane Chiefs fell to the Portland Winter Hawks in game seven of their first round matchup in the WHL playoffs.
Beach had an impressive playoff showing scoring seven goals, two assists, and 19 penalty minutes in the seven games that he appeared in.
Aside from Beach's impressive playoff showing, Beach also had a very strong regular season reaching career highs in goals (52), assists (34), and points (86).
Now many, including fellow featured columnist Tab Bamford , have all but given Beach a roster spot next season and even believe that he could be ready for action this season.
I will agree that Beach has NHL talent and could be ready to make the jump to the NHL next season and be a productive member of the Blackhawks, however I think Beach still has much to prove in the professional ranks before he reaches the NHL.
Yes, Beach had an incredible final season of junior but let us not forget that Beach should dominate at that level, being 20 years old and playing against teenagers, not adults.
Now we must see if Beach can translate his offensive ability from the junior level to the professional level as the talent level increases and the players that he will be playing against will be just as big and strong as he is.
One facet of Beach's game that he must tweak as he continues his pursuit of his NHL dream is his knack for taking stupid penalties and his over-willingness.
You do like to see that Beach is willing to stick up for his teammates but you don't want to see him get to the NHL and turn into Ben Eager on the ice, taking dumb penalties and always looking for a fight.
Rather, you want Beach to go out there play tough in the corners, go hard to the net, and just play a physical brand of hockey that does not necessarily require fighting.
This stint with the Ice Hogs should allow us to see more of Beach as he should get a longer look at the AHL level (Beach only has seen two career games in the AHL).
Beach will also likely get a chance to see some playoff hockey in the AHL as the Ice Hogs have already qualified for the playoffs.
Yes, Beach has the talent to play at the NHL level, but in my mind he needs to prove that his scoring prowess can translate to the professional game and that he has the mental fortitude to play professional hockey.
Now we play the waiting game as we will get the chance to watch Kyle Beach far more closely in Rockford and draw our own conclusions as to if he is truly ready to make that NHL jump next season, if not sooner.