November 25, 2015

Jeff Madill

Jeff Madill is one of those guys that long distance lurkers always wondered why he never had a better shot at the NHL.

Madill was a goal scorer both in college and in the minor pros. He was not fancy, instead playing a style reminiscent of Dino Ciccarelli later in his career - by parking in front of the goalie and banging a way at loose rebounds. Jeff Madill excelled as a power play specialist and sanitation engineer - scoring garbage goals. He averaged 35 goals a year as professional. That included four 42+ goal seasons in 5 years from 1989-90 through 1993-94. His career high was 49 goals split between the IHL's Cincinatti Cyclones and Milwaukee Admirals in 1992-93. In his only 14 NHL appearances, all with the New Jersey Devils in 1990-91, he scored 4 times in 14 games.

He was also a very physical player. Though only 5'11" and 195 lbs, he played much bigger than he actually was. He was a pesty player, always getting in someone's hair. Though he wasn't tough in terms of being a top enforcer, he never backed down from anyone. He loved to hit and antagonize people. He totalled 1812 penalty minutes in nine years as a pro, including 46 in his short stint in the NHL. That's an average of over 200 PIM a year.

So one has to wonder how a guy who on averages gets 35 goals and 200 PIM doesn't get a better chance at the NHL. Well the answer is his skating. He was a horrible skater, average at the minor league level at best, and certainly well below average at the NHL level. He had no speed whatsoever, but did possess decent balance for standing in front of the net on power play opportunities. Another reason is Jeff's lack of variety in his play. He knew how to play only one way - hard, physical and going to the net. But that was too one dimensional for the NHL. He had little puck skills other than banging in garbage goals. He also had a problem battling his weight, often showing up in training camp overweight and thus in management's bad books.

Despite his short comings, Madill had a good career as a professional. Its too bad he didn't get a better shake at the NHL, I think he could have made an impact with one of the many NHL expansion teams in the 1990s.

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