In his WHL debut on Wednesday night, Adam Tambellini tallied four points — the same total he had in three months at UND.
This is the reason he left UND. He wanted to play in a league where scoring is much easier because he’s not playing against older, more physical and mature players.
As Dave Hakstol said in his weekly press conference, this isn’t an easy place to play. College hockey is a tough league. And offense doesn’t often come easy for young players, especially ones that have filling out to do.
That doesn’t mean it’s a poor place to develop, though.
It’s interesting that the player we’ve compared Tambellini to all along is Brock Nelson, isn’t it?
Both were tall and scrawny upon their arrival and needed to fill out. Both have a knack for being great goal-scorers. Both have big frames and can use that as an advantage in a number of areas. Both have great skillsets.
Strangely enough, both players also had the same number of goals at Christmas of their freshman year. Tambellini 2, Nelson 2.
Nelson ended up sticking with it. He had a nice second half to the year, blew up his sophomore year and now, in what would have been his senior year, he’s a regular on a scoring line for the New York Islanders.
I think if Tambellini would have stayed, he would have become a great college player much in the way that Nelson did. He was just starting to figure it out. But now we’ll never know.
There are plenty of questions that will probably never be answered. The first one: How long has Tambellini been checked out?
Tambellini was not property of the Calgary Hitmen. Tambellini told the Hitmen site that, “I singled out Calgary as the one place I wanted to come to.” So, he had to force a trade behind the scenes. How long has that been in the works?
The other thing you’re going to hear from the north is how Calgary is a better place to develop and reach the NHL. The numbers don’t necessarily reflect that.
Players who have come through UND/Calgary in last 10 years
NHL games: UND 3,893 — Calgary 2,774
NHL goals: UND 798 — Calgary 416
NHL assists: UND 1,174 — Calgary 822
NHL points: UND 1,972 — Calgary 1,238
Players with 100+ NHL games: UND 12 — Calgary 8
In the past six years, a total of 16 players have left NCAA hockey midseason for the CHL. Only one of them has played in the NHL (Charlie Coyle). That’s not to say that Tambellini won’t eventually reach the NHL. He certainly has a high ceiling and a lot of potential. But it’s not an easy road.