“You can’t forget about Scherbak. We have to understand that he’s a ‘late birthday’, he only played one more season of Junior after being drafted, and then two seasons of AHL. The AHL isn’t really a minor league, it’s a big league. It takes time, you have to be patient. Scherbak, from year to year, he gets better and better. The skill he has, it’s NHL-level skills. But it’s about maturity, he has to mature a little more. He’s the one who’s going to decide when he’s going to make the jump.”
It’s hard to make it out, but someone follows up with a question about why Nikita has to attend another development camp, with two pro seasons under his belt:
“I think he’s matured a lot since we drafted him. He still has a way to go, like every other young player. For me, Nikita is an important player for the organization, and in Laval this year, if he doesn’t make the Canadiens, he has to prove he wants to play for the Canadiens.
“We invited Nikita because he’s a guy who still needs structure (guidance), and we want to develop him. Nikita will stay in Montréal all summer, will train with the big boys. We’re giving him the resources he needs. We want him playing in Montréal as soon as possible. That’s the reasoning.”
There's no need for a red alert on Nikita Scherbak, although we wish he was further along in his development, that he wasn't being singled out for not being in good enough shape before training camps. But the kid is still young, he'll be 21 to start the season, and still has a full season of waiver exemption, so he can marinate further in the AHL this season, and let his work and study habits catch up to his skills.
Let's hope that another summer of the Pierre Allard régime does him some good, and that this season he take another couple of steps forward, that he leads the Laval Rocket as a veteran-ish player, and is consistently one of their best players every game.
We need that kid's skillset on our Top 9, and next season, it's make or break for him I would think, once he needs to start going through waivers. At that point, we may face a decision like we did with Sven Andrighetto and Jarred Tinordi.