Think about the life of a prospective Top Six forward for a minute. Every year there are about 30 guys dreaming about and dieing for the top six forward job that you want. If you are a young player, every year it's another proving ground.
Even if you tore up the league you were in last year, you are at square one in Training Camp with so many guys who you think you are better than being way ahead of you because they have a contract. Then you finally get into a game... and the pressure on you to perform is so enormous it's a wonder you can get your skate laces tied...
This is the life of an aspiring young Top Six hopeful. As the title suggests, there are only six of these jobs available on every team, and most of these jobs are already taken. On top of everything else, if you are judged as not being worthy of a Top Six job and are a skilled player, well then they think you are too skilled and are not the type of player to be wasted on a bottom six role, so you can only make the team if you win the Top Six role.
So this is the stuff that Regin, Zibanejad, Da Costa, Filatov, Greening and Butler are faced with.
Knowing all of this, I did not join in on all of the reverie when we traded for Filatov and I penciled him in as our number eleven prospect behind Da Costa, Butler, Greening, Petersson and Puempel figuring he'd need to spend some time in the AHL and not knowing how he'd react to that.
It takes alot more than just good skills or good stats to make it as a Top Six guy. It takes a very solid mental outlook and a personality that can let go of mistakes and poor shifts and learn from them and move on rapidly. Most people call this good "self confidence". I think of it more interms of having a very solid set of beliefs about yourself that very few guys have. In short, you need to be unstoppable.
Add to all of that that it doesn't take long for managers and fans alike to typecast you and then unless you blow their socks off they don't change their typecasting.
All of this adds up to why there are precious few guys who become solid consistent Top Six forwards.
It'll be fascinating which guys on the Sens become consistent Top Six guys. Who would you put your money on? My money goes on Da Costa and Greening this year and Zibanejad and Silfverberg next year.