Scientists looking for life outside of our solar system focus on what is known as the "Goldilocks Zone." It is small band surrounding a sun similar to ours where the conditions are just right for earth-like planets to exist. There also seems to be a similar zone for NHL defenseman – especially those who were drafted well beyond the first round. Paul Postma is entering "the zone."
One only need look at two of Postma’s teammates on the Jets defense for evidence of the zone. Both Tobias Enstrom (Atlanta) and Dustin Byfuglien (Chicago) were drafted in the 8th round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft (#239 and #245 respectively). Byfuglien didn’t play his first NHL game until 2005 and it took Enstrom until 2007 to skate in his first big-league contest. Actually, it could be argued that the 8th round of the 2003 draft was almost as good as the first round for defenceman (Suter and Phaneuf being the notable first rounders).
Here are some examples from other organizations for this pattern:
- Timmonen RD 10, #250, 1993 NHL Draft. Played his first game in 1998
- Seidenberg, RD 6, #172, 2001 NHL Draft. Played his first game in 2002
- Bieksa, RD 5, #151, 2001 NHL Draft. Played his first game in 2005
The zone is what defenseman drafted late either need or are given extra time to develop. This could be due to the lack of pressure of rushing a late round pick to the NHL roster or a case where the organization is aware of the potential but has chosen to mould and develop the player over time (it is probably the former).
Paul Postma appears to be entering the zone. Drafted in 7th round (#205) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft by Atlanta, the defenseman did not skate in his first NHL game until 2010, but has yet to play a full season. After putting up good numbers in St. John’s prior to the end of the lockout and last season, it appears that after 8 NHL games this year (and 5 points) Postma is starting to establish himself as a bonafide NHL player.
In the Jets last game versus Tampa, Postma logged 21:35 of ice-time. Despite the lopsided score, the young blueliner finished the game EV for plus minus. According to Leftwinglock.com, Postma was primarily paired with Enstrom, but he took some shifts with Grant Clitsome. With a goal and four assists in 8 games so far, his offensive numbers are nice. Looking at his zone starts for the season at Behindthenet.ca shows that coach Claude Noel is starting Postma almost 60% of the time in the offensive zone which is fairly soft, but not out of step with other rookies or offensively capable defenders.
Could Postma evolve into a Seidenberg type player for the Jets? Only time will tell. Atlanta may not have done much right before the Jets moved north, but if Postma continues on his current development path they will have at least been proficient in drafting defenseman late in the draft.
– Started watching the new TSN series ’24CH’ which is a behind the scenes look at Montreal this season. I’m a junkie for these sorts of shows. The ‘Oil Change’ one following Edmonton (available through their website) is pretty good too.