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Blacker has all the keys to being a successful top-4 blue-liner, but expect him to play a couple seasons in the AHL before seeing his first ice time in the big leagues. The newly turned nineteen year old must also add 20-25lbs to fill out his somewhat lanky frame in order to compete regularly against the leagues best. Though the Leafs depth at defensive has Blacker currently in the bottom third, as long as the Maple Leafs have Burke as general manager, Jesse will be in the system. Truculence and testosterone tops this youngster's resume, with a side of pugnacity and a light sprinkling of belligerence. I would compare the future of Blacker to that of Mike Van Ryn, just without the injuries (hopefully).
With the imposition of the salary cap taking some clout away from the financial Super Powers (or so they say), the "new" NHL focuses upon the importance of successful drafting and a constant flow of young players on cheap, entry-level contracts. With scouts now being dispatched to all corners of the globe, it's getting to be quite a small world. The boundaries of the Hockey Community are ever-growing, and we're starting to find ourselves with a neat little global village forming in the NHL. Aside from the G8 (Canada, United States, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Czech Republic and Slovakia) which comprise nearly 90% of all players' nationalities, we are also privileged to enjoy the best of what...