Bump inspired by a post today. Who has been better in their careers through 21. Who will be better moving forward.
Something tells me it was my post in the Henrique thread?
Anyway, I stand by saying that I believe Henrique -- when all is said and done -- will go down as a better player than Parise. It's very early in his career and anything can happen, but what we've seen so far is encouraging.
Parise has never been one to get by on raw skill. That's a description more fit for someone like Kovalchuk. Zach's never been the fastest skater, the hardest or most accurate shooter, the most creative stickhandler, or a particularly visionary passing playmaker. He's good-to-very-good in those departments, but not elite. He is
elite when it comes to deflecting shots. Other than that, he's just a ridiculously hard worker, and that's made him elite when it comes to picking up "garbage goals". That work ethic cancels out the higher skill level of some opponents and fools some fans into thinking he's a more skilled player than he is.
Henrique has a damn solid work ethic as well. Just like Parise, he's relentless on the boards, excellent defensively, and has that quality where the puck always seems to find him. He isn't anywhere near the shot deflector Zach is, and isn't quite as adept to picking up those "garbage goals" (though the clincher vs. the Rags shows he's certainly capable). Where he really shows an edge over Zach is with his shot and stickhandling. Henrique seems to be better at getting the puck around defenders, particularly in desperate situations or tight quarters. At times, his creativity with the puck looks to be only a step or two behind Elias. His shot is leaps and bounds better than Zach's. Considering how many hours Parise has logged with the "Shot Club" before/after practices (I forget which), it makes me wonder if Zach will ever really improve in that department and so he can start scoring from more than 10 feet out.
Henrique might also be a tad bit faster, but that can be tough to gauge and could also be due to being younger. He also seems to stay on his feet a little better, but that also is a bit circumstantial and tough to really judge.
Overall, he looked a lot more like a veteran this season than Zach did as a rookie, and Henrique's postseason has been about as clutch as it gets. In almost 40 fewer postseason games, Henrique has already matched Zach's career total for game-winning goals.
It's extremely early in his career, but remember that feeling we all got in the first couple seasons with Zach that he was this team's future captain? I'm already getting that feeling with Henrique.