After lighting it up in the OHA in 97-98, expectations were high for David Inman who was born in New York City but was raised in Toronto. He was supposed to be one of the top college freshmen. He was supposed to be a first round draft pick. He was supposed to be a star for Notre Dame. Instead Inman finished with 20 points in 38 games along with tons of scouts scratching their heads. Undaunted, Inman was still a fairly high draft pick (59th overall) of the New York Rangers. The scouts like most experts, figured Inman would rebound and show the same talent that made him a top prospect a year earlier. What they saw during Inman’s sophomore season was a player who had all the tools needed to be a star, minus all hockey sense imaginable.
During the 99-00 season, Inman’s game was marked by both highs and lows. There were stretches when it appeared things were finally starting to click. These streaks however were short lived as Inman would inevitably fall back into a slide and look perpetually lost on the ice. He didn’t have the vision to make smart plays, and his shots often couldn’t find the net or simply didn’t even leave his stick at all. To make matters worse, Inman found himself being knocked around the ice due to his smallish frame of 180 pounds.
As his junior year neared, Inman added 25 pounds to his frame and hopes were high that at the age of 20 that he could finally begin to develop as planned. While Inman would play five more games than the previous season, he would actually have two fewer goals and one less assist than his sophomore campaign. The whisper became louder until finally it become an annoying scream in Inman’s ears. “great tools, zero sense” scouts began to exclaim. In a matter of three years, Inman had gone from a budding star to a player whose hockey career was likely over after his college eligibility. Having fallen so far down the Rangers depth chart that he’d have to drill up for oil, Inman seemed like a bust through and through.
Finally in his senior year something happened. Finally, something began to click. Inman, long written of by Rangers scouts as a flop, started putting up points. They started coming slowly and then instead of stopping they just kept flowing. Now 16 games into his senior season, Inman fights not only for the chance at a pro contract but also to salvage a career that once seemed destined for better things. With 18 points in 16 games, Inman certainly is on the right track. Now he must prove to his detractors, the Rangers and more importantly himself that he can keep it up. With half a season still to go, Inman might be able to extend his hockey life beyond its current existence.