Is this the make-or-break season for Drew Stafford?

First of all I would just like to say hello to all the readers of this blog. I was very fortunate to have Tim take me on as a writer and I hope that you all will enjoy my posts. With that said, it’s time to get down to business.

This past season it seems as if Drew Stafford has taken a step back in developing into a solid power forward- or at least a lateral step sideways. Originally when Stafford broke onto the scene in 2006, it looked as if Stafford was the player to watch out for. At 6-foot-1 and built with a solid frame, he brought comparisons to another similar sized right winger- Brett Hull.

At first I laughed at such a comparison, but during his rookie season I was thoroughly impressed with Stafford’s skill and quickly became a fan. I obviously didn’t think Stafford was going to be the next Hull, but I did think Stafford had the potential to be a terror in the NHL.

The following two seasons after his rookie year he put up respectable numbers- in the 07-08 season he had 38 points and the 08-09 season he had 45 points, while also eclipsing the 20 goal mark. At this point I recognized the fact that Stafford was still young and still had room to progress; however, I was beginning to become skeptical.

Now after watching Stafford this past season I became increasingly frustrated with his lackluster play. It was clear that Stafford wasn’t playing with any consistency and Lindy realized this as well. Stafford would often take plays off, lazily back-check and he would shy away from any corner play; worst of all, his points production declined.

Now before I get any back-lash about Stafford, I want to say that there is no doubt in my mind that Drew Stafford has all the parts to be a good power forward in the NHL. The problem is whether or not he wants to connect those parts and make himself the complete package.  Stafford is on his last year of his contract and if his play doesn’t become more consistent, I don’t see him on the roster the following season.

At the end of October, Stafford turns 25 and that is still relatively young; however, this could be the season where Stafford decides whether or not he wants to be a premiere power forward or an under-achieving second liner.