Friday, February 22, 2008

An AHL Superstar

Many fans do not notice the good hockey played in the AHL. There is a talented mix of NHL prospects and journeymen playing at a high level. Occasionally, a player comes along who is dominant at the AHL level but for whatever reason unable to make the leap to the NHL. These players become superstars in the AHL. The best example of that right now is Jason Krog of the Chicago Wolves.

Jason Krog currently leads the AHL in scoring with 74 points (in second are Martin St Pierre and Cal O'Reilly who are well back with 62 points). Krog has a large lead in the AHL scoring race.

Krog is currently property of the Atlanta Thrashers in the NHL. That is why he plays for their AHL affiliate in Chicago. He has had a well travelled hockey career. He won the Hobey Baker Trophy as the top player in the NCAA while playing with the University of New Hampshire. He was signed by the New York Islanders and had a few shots at the NHL but spent most of his time playing in the AHL. After three years as Islander property, he left as a free agent to Anaheim. In Anaheim he spent most of his time in the NHL, but never scored well enough to get top minutes and didn't provide the defence to be a regular on the checking lines. During the lockout season, he was a star in Austria. He stayed in Europe the next year splitting time in the Swiss and Swedish leagues. Atlanta brought him back to the NHL last year on a two year contract, but he spent most of last season in the AHL. He was lost on waivers to the New York Rangers, but after a little over a month in New York, the Thrashers claimed him back. Krog has always been a good scorer outside the NHL, but in his NHL career of 198 games, he has scored 58 points. In the AHL he is a superstar.

At age 32, Krog likely does not fit in the Atlanta Thrashers longterm plans. They are a team that should be rebuilding and he is too old to be an effective part of that. Likely, when his contract ends this summer, he will have to travel to a new team. There may be an NHL club willing to take another chance on him. He definitely is good enough to be a star for an AHL club or a European team. There are opportunities out there for Jason Krog, but he must travel the globe to find them. His life has been spent in five countries. He has often moved more than once in the same season to continue his career. It has been a tough life. That said, Krog is one of the top few hundred hockey players on earth. He is a borderline NHL talent who is having a super season in the AHL. His reward for that is that he will likely have to move again this summer and continue moving frequently to continue his career.

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