Anybody who follows sports somewhat closely knows that there are some players who receive a lot of praise because they possess certain qualities that others do not. Some of those qualities are concrete while others are more intangible. One intangible that’s thrown around regularly is having a leadership presence and showing the ability to be a mentor for the younger players. In baseball, most teams want to have somewhat of an accomplished veteran in their pitching staff to be a mentor. It’s similar to how a lot of football teams look to sign a veteran quarterback to be a back-up and provide some guidance for their young signal-caller.
NHL teams follow a similar trend as “veteran leadership” is something that’s considered an invaluable asset that all teams need to have to succeed. Most fans will often point to past championship teams and how they may have had a few players that had “been there before” and could pass on their knowledge and leadership to some of the younger stars. Names like John Madden, Craig Adams, Mark Recchi, Bill Guerin and Kris Draper are often pointed to as guys who are important for locker room presence and can help teams go further in the playoffs. The other thing that most of these players have in common is that they were either past their prime or bottom-sixers who were relied on more for defense.
All of those players performed well in their roles but I always got the idea that these types were overrated by the media. The reason why I say this is because they all played very replaceable roles and the one thing that put them “above” the rest is their supposed leadership qualities. Fans, media pundits and even general managers are generally attracted to the so called “grit” players who “do the little things to win games” and provide a good presence in the locker room as well. There’s nothing wrong with this since having players with guidance qualities is a good thing and there have been players were able to produce at high levels well into the 30’s and early 40’s, but I, personally would not sign a player only because of his supposed leadership skills.no comments