Let's see a show of hands, Flyers fans.
Put your hand in the air if you had heard of Jason Akeson prior to 2:54 p.m. EST on Mar. 2, in this 2011th year of our Lord.
To the gentleman raising his hand, I commend you for both your enviable wealth of hockey knowledge, as well as your considerable time management skills. I never would have thought it possible to follow the NHL and the OHL with such an intense World of Warcraft gaming schedule. But you have pulled it off, my friend. Bravo.
For the rest of you staring back blankly at me, I'll just assume you have all been living under a rock (or went out for a sandwich and accidentally left your phone at home), missing yesterday's news that Philadelphia has signed Jason Akeson and Tyler Brown of the Ontario Hockey League to entry level contracts.
Both players will be assigned to the Adirondack Phantoms for the 2011-12 AHL season.
Akeson is the more intriguing player of the two, as he currently leads the OHL in scoring with 103 points in 59 games.
Adding to the intrigue, among the OHL leading scorers Akeson is currently in front of are players already designated as the property of NHL teams such as Tyler Toffoli (2010 second-round selection, No. 47 overall, Los Angeles Kings) and Ryan Ellis (2009 first-round selection, No. 11 overall, Nashville Predators).
Given the Flyers lack of draft picks in upcoming drafts, do you view the acquisitions of players like Akeson as:
So, by signing Jason Akeson as an undrafted free agent, the Flyers have landed themselves a blue-chip prospect without tapping a single asset in the form of a draft pick, or trade of a prospect or roster player. Indeed a shrewd move by Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. Right?
Of course, it may be a few years before Akeson's acquisition comes into focus as a good move or not, but in the meantime, we can start the conversation by asking ourselves a couple of questions.
Is Jason Akeson the next Corey Locke? Or is he the next Corey Perry?
He may end up being neither, but he certainly cannot be both.
In 2003-04, Corey Locke led all scorers in the OHL with 118 points (51 goals, 67 assists) playing with the Ottawa 67's.
This sounds great until you realize he has played in just nine NHL games, spending most of his career toiling in the AHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Houston Aeros, Hartford Wolf Pack and Binghamton Senators.
And then there's Corey Perry, who led all scorers in the OHL with 130 points (47 goals, 83 assists) with the London Knights in 2004-05, has played 432 NHL games and wears his Stanley Cup ring when he's on first dates with strippers and super models.
Two OHL scoring leaders.
Two different careers, to say the least.
Looking back at OHL scoring leaders over the last 10 years, there are similar comparisons.
For every player that has led the OHL in scoring like Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, Tyler Senguin and John Tavares, there are also players like Rob Schremp, Justin Azevedo, Nathan Robinson and Corey Locke.
Now, you may be asking yourself a couple of questions at this very moment:
Isn't Rob Schremp on his third NHL team already?
And who the hell are Justin Azevedo, Nathan Robinson and Corey Locke anyway?
My answer to both questions would be: Exactly!
So let me preach patience to you, Flyers fans.
Let's see how the latest addition to the family at Broad & Pattison works out before we all run out and buy our Jason Akeson Flyers jersey in road orange.
We may know sooner. We may know later.
Don't believe me? Ask Corey.
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