Far and away the most improbable prospect to get the call from Columbus this season, center Geoff Platt has gone from an undrafted free agent to a regular shift on the wing with NHL vets Sergei Fedorov and David Vyborny in the span of a handful of months. Now back with Syracuse after an extended 15-game look in Columbus, Platt is a bonus in the Blue Jacket organization, and seems destined for another shot at the big club.
Following an up and down OHL career that saw him bounce between three clubs while still managing to post an impressive 45 goals for Erie last season, Platt was passed over by every NHL team in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. While he displayed a deft scoring touch throughout his amateur career, Platt’s lack of size was enough to scare away all 30 NHL teams. Opting for a contract with Atlantic City of the ECHL, Platt quickly raised eyebrows in Columbus after he was extended a courtesy nod for the Blue Jackets at a rookie tournament in Traverse City, Michigan. Coming completely out of nowhere, Platt led the tournament with seven goals in four games, again displaying the offensive upside originally showcased in Erie.
His meteoric rise continued after the Jackets assigned him to Syracuse, where he found the back of the net 14 times in his first 19 games in the AHL. Thanks to that effort, he received the call to join Columbus in December, where he received a wealth of positive experience in his short 15-game stint with the Jackets, which saw him tally five assists but fail to post a goal on 29 shots.
For many players, a demotion back to the AHL after an extended taste of the big show can be demoralizing. In Platt’s case, however, the fact that he has even been given a real shot at an AHL job, let alone an NHL shift, would have come as a miracle just five months ago.
In 38 games with the Crunch this season, he has tallied 18 goals and 19 assists, putting him among the rookie leaders on the season.
Short in stature but definitely not in effort, Platt’s story is one of determination and dedication to the game. A strong-skating skilled forward, who uses his diminutive size to his advantage, protecting the puck and darting in and out of traffic, leaving frustrated defenders in his wake. Though he plays the game with tenacity, his size is still a determinant as is his play away from the puck. Despite his scoring prowess in the AHL, he has been unable to put up consistent numbers at the NHL level.
After three seasons of pro hockey, which has seen him appear in 46 NHL games, Platt has chosen to give Europe a try, signing a deal with Ilves Tampere in SM-Liiga. Unable to translate his high-scoring AHL totals to the NHL or secure a regular big-league roster spot, he’s still come remarkably far for a player who was never drafted.