Rookie Report: Joffery Lupul

By Stephen J. Holodinsky

Rookie Report: Joffery Lupul


Call it rookie jitters, call
it being the victim of playing on a team that survives on the trap, whatever
the reason, Joffery Lupul for the most part, is having a hard time in his
freshman year in the National Hockey League. Although he has come on in the
last three games, it’s mainly been a season of trial and error for the
20-year-old. This is naturally a far cry from his days playing for the Medicine
Hat Tigers in the WHL.


Coming out of Saskatchewan
in the AMHL, he broke into the WHL as a 17-year-old with a campaign of 30 goals
and 56 points in 69 games in 2000-2001. That, however, wouldn’t prepare the WHL
for the onslaught he unleashed in his draft year though when he 56 goals and
106 points in 72 games. Picked seventh overall by the Ducks he followed that up
with 41 goals and 78 points in 50 games during the 2002-2003 season as a
19-year-old proving he wasn’t a one year wonder. His extra year of junior
proved valuable in narrowly winning a spot on the big club over 2003 first
rounder Ryan Getzlaf.


The rookie, while able to
line up at all three forward positions, has mainly been seeing time at right
wing for the big club this year. When the season broke Lupul was placed on a
line with Stanislav Chistov. However as the latter began having difficulties it
was soon dismantled and he found himself with Steve Rucchin and Rob
Niedermeyer. Since he was recalled from a week-long stay in the minors on
January 9th, he has seen time with Sergei Fedorov, Andy MacDonald and Petr


That said, the bulk of his time
lately has been spent flanking Rucchin with Vaclav Prospal on the left side.
There is little doubt that the Mighty Ducks would like to see him develop into
the pure sniper he was in junior. Though it is true that Lupul, Hockey’s Future
writer Kevin Forbes says “doesn’t look out of place (with the Ducks),” he does
remain a work in progress. He has the tools to get the job done from a great
shot to the skating ability that Forbes says “makes him elusive. He has the
ability to go into a scrum, fish the puck out and fire a laser in the corner.”
However Forbes also points out that “sometimes he looks lazy out there and not
involved in the play as he could be.” The writer goes on to state that “he’s
not the best in the defensive zone (and) sometimes plays a soft game.”


To that end though, he has
been scratched three times and sent down to the AHL club Cincinnati for a week
as way of motivation. Since being recalled he has tallied 1 goal and 5 assists
in 9 games while registering a +5 on the plus/minus scale. Be that as it may,
his play without the puck has not improved to the point that Coach Babcock
trusts him on the penalty kill although he has been seeing time on the second
power play unit.


Though many compare Lupul to
Islanders great Mike Bossy, Forbes maintains that “he needs a lot more work
before he starts to look like anyone.” While that is true, a comparison to
Donald Audette, at least with what Lupul has shown to date, would not be out of
line. In any case, the Anaheim rookie has a lot of work ahead of him.