David Goyette is certainly on a hot streak. I tuned in to the nationally televised match on Friday night versus the highly-touted Shane Wright, and in what was a head-to-head battle most of the night, Goyette scored four goals and stole the show from the presumptive 2022 first overall NHL pick, who finished the game pointless and -3 on the scoresheet.
Goyette demonstrated all of the promise scouts were looking for early in the season when he was failing to live up to the expectations placed on him.
It took several locked, unmanned doors, frantic calls to two NHL scouts for help and eventual success in getting onto TD Place arena Saturday afternoon but I did finally get to see Goyette live again for the first time since last fall, and he has certainly improved as a player during that time.
Goyette set up a goal on his first shift of the game and then sniped one himself early in the second period for five goals and an assist in an 83-minute span.
That’s where the positives ended. The rest of the Ottawa game, apart from one glorious scoring chance that was thwarted by a stellar pad save, Goyette showed more negative tits than positive ones.
There is some pond hockey mentality in his game. He skates up ice with a lot more jump than he skates back. He’ll be crawling back to his own blueline, the puck will come to him, and suddenly he has lots of juice left.
He also makes far too many risky passes…especially back to his defenceman without looking that get intercepted and turned back the other way for good scoring opportunities.
Away from the puck, Goyette needs work. He will definitely need more strength and plenty more stamina before he’s ready for NHL competition.
Add to that his propensity to stay out longer than he should when he has an opportunity to get off and you can see that he’s going to need some hard love before he’s worthy of an NHL look
So there are warts…coachable and teachable warts. He needs to build his strength and endurance, he needs to learn that preventing a goal is just as important as scoring one, he needs to come off the ice a minute into a shift when he is close to his bench and his team has possession.
The bottom line is that if everything goes well in his development, he has middle-line NHL potential. Players with that upside usually get selected in the second round. If he continues to produce the rest of the way and outplays the likes of Wright in head-to-head battles, he will continue to climb in the rankings, perhaps even into the top 40.
If he finishes the season under a point-per-game and he doesn’t improve his habits away from the puck, he’ll be more likely to go in the third round or later. It’s up to him.