Stars Thursday Observatory: Looking at Lian Bichsel's game from Traverse City
The Swiss defender was good and changed some impressions.
(Editor’s Note: Still trying to finalize the name of this weekly feature. I think this is better than Orbit…. but I’m also still open to ideas from readers.)
Hockey is too random. The game is chaotic, the puck bounces in funny ways, and when it comes to assessing players we need a proper sample size.
I’ve long been a believer that to get a proper read on a player, you need to watch them play at least a handful of times. That’s how you establish proper sample size and that’s how you separate the highs from the lows.
That’s one of the reasons it’s frustrating that Lian Bichsel only played one game in the Traverse City prospects tournament. While it was the right decision to be cautious with a knee knock and focus on getting him ready for NHL training camp, it limits our already limited footage of him on North American ice thus far.
Because that game, last Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings prospects, altered my opinion of where Bichsel is at this point in his career. I was more cautious about Bichsel, between the transition from Europe to North America and the broken ankle in the spring, I expected him to hit a steep learning curve this season.
But watching him live in Traverse City, again for only one game, I started to wonder if we could potentially see a similar Thomas Harley-type season playing out, where Bichsel spends most of the season in the AHL, but come crunch time is already one of Dallas’ top-six defenders.
It’s not too far of a stretch. Speaking with members of the Stars brass, the feeling I get is that the Swiss defender has gone from being in the “Europe or North America?” conversation, to “maybe he’ll be an NHL option this season.”
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