The Enigmatic David Inman

By Jon Philpot
It seemed as if the Rangers might have found their diamond in the rough during the 1999 entry draft when they selected Notre Dame center David Inman. He had all the talents in the world, and some even said that he could have been a top 15 pick. But, this package did not come without it’s dents and dings.

Inman has always been seen as a speedy playmaker with fantastic passing skills and an accurate shot, to boot. His speed was mind blowing sometimes, as he could literally spin players around with his after-burners. He could set up a player from the other end of the ice with a tape-to-tape pass, and could find the top corner of the net with his accurate shot. He was heralded as one of the next great college players by many a scout, and his pure skills packaged in a nice sized package (6’1, 205lbs) had him pinpointed for the first round.

But problems arose during his rookie year at Notre Dame. He still had his speed, but it seemed that he could play one Gretzky-like night and the next one just seem like a missing child wandering the halls looking for his parents. It seemed that the inconsistency bug had bit him, and it bit him good. Inman has played one of the most polar-opposite games I have ever seen, since he just can’t seem to play the same game night after night. There is no denying his skills, as he has shown what he can do on quite a few occasions. But, the Rangers took a chance on him in the 2nd round (59th overall) and hoped that the “real” Inman would prevail over the course of his college career.

Inman has impressed thus far in camp and has survived the first cut. He has looked very good on the ice, though still seeming lost on occasions. It seems that he has made some strides in the offseason in bulking up, as he does look larger than 185lbs that he is listed at. His speed and passing have been superb thus far, and he looks to have gained some much-needed confidence.

Now, there is almost no doubt in my mind that Inman will start the season in Hartford to gain some seasoning, but he may see a late season call-up if he can play well enough. He absolutely must improve his consistency if he ever wants to be more than a career minor leaguer, though, and Hartford may very well be the place best suited to him for that job. If he can improve his play in the minors, than we could very well see one of the next great college players that he was supposed to be since his draft year. He has all the skills, he just needs to learn how to use them.