It’s me; I mean its future you; I have traveled back in time to help you out. If I should fail to keep you along the correct path, the basis of your career will be endangered. Ah, but don’t worry: it’ll all make sense. I’m a professional. I’m writing you in hopes of giving some advice on how to fix this mess we are currently find ourselves in. I know we are emotional, angry, and looking for a trade. We were the third overall pick of the 2013 draft and every hockey expert had us pegged as a “can’t miss superstar”; we were ready to live out our dream and become an NHL legend. Everything was right in front of us, until suddenly these two guys (Steve Yzerman our General Manager & Jon Cooper our coach) have us riding a bus in Syracuse playing with these ‘AHL minor leaguers’. How could this happen? This is some cruel joke right? Obviously, these two guys don’t see how talented we are, and it’s their fault they aren’t getting the most out of our incredible hockey skills. If they’d just let us go to another to another team we’d show everyone just how good we are.
Sure our 40 points in 89 career games was a little underwhelming as we started our career, but we are young and learning to adjust to the speed, size, and skill of the NHL. Many great players struggled early in their careers only to become the superstars; why won’t the Lightning just let us develop? Yes, this team we are on is loaded with a ton of young scoring forwards & centers who made the Stanley Cup Finals last year, but maybe we’d have won the cup if they’d just let ‘us’ play more. We have more skills than a lot of those guys who are getting more ice time than ‘us’, sure they might have a better +/-, scoring stats, and embrace the team’s system but we are more talented so we should just get those minutes; right? How are we going to get any better sitting on the bench or riding around on a bus?
Here is a ‘secret’ we need to know; Allan Walsh is not our friend. He is our employee, he works for ‘us’; we give him 4% of our hard earned salary to specifically prevent situations like this instead of be the cause of and exacerbate them. We went from making $925,000 to $70,000; but Allan assured us this would only be temporary and to just “trust him”. He told us “the Lightning were about to trade ‘us’ and that we should just sit out the other night because we didn’t want to risk injury prior to a trade,” so we did. An than we turn on the TV and see Steve Yzerman standing at a podium saying that in fact there was no imminent trade: “We never said that, that there was a pending deal or a deal close,” Yzerman said. “We’ve never said that.” Isn’t this why we pay Allan, to know things like this? Then we come to find out we need to be on the active roster for 40 games this season to accrue another vested year so we can get to Unrestricted Free Agency (UFA) in 2021 since we are still on our entry-level contract. However, we’ve only been active in 38 games this season; if don’t get called back up this year we will have to wait until 2022 to have a shot at that big contract we think we deserve costing us untold amounts of money. How could Allan not tell us about this before we decided to make this mess even bigger? We got some bad advice, we’ve lost all our leverage because of Allan, and he needs to go. He’s not our friend.
The good news is we are still so young; young people make mistakes and do dumb things all the time, it’s the built in ‘excuse’ everyone gets in their youth. Trust me; we don’t want to be labeled an un-coachable diva at only twenty-years old this will not bode well for our future bank account. Even if we don’t play another minute for this franchise, we don’t want to spoil our future team’s and coaches view of who we are and what we can be. GM’s, Coaches, fans will understand that we just got caught up in the emotion of being so competitive which all professional athletes have inside them, wanting to show everyone what we can do, and that we just overreacted. We just need to get rid of ‘Allan’, swallow some pride, meet with Yzerman and get back to work. This can still work out for us, and five years from now no one will remember the mess we made as a young twenty year old. We need to be careful though; because what we do next might very well determine if we can become the star we know we are meant to be, or send us on a path to be remembered with draft busts like Pavel Brendl, Alexander Daigle, and Nikita Filatov. The choice is yours past ‘me’.
(5 x All-Star & Stanley Cup Champion)
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