November 21, 2015

Lindsay Vallis

Lindsay Vallis probably wishes he was 17 all over again.

As a 17 year old heading into the 1988-89 WHL season as a member of the Seattle Thunderbirds, Vallis was one of the top prospects for the coming year. With a strong season, many scouts felt his combination of size and strength combined with a good offensive season would make him a top 5 pick in the 1989 Entry Draft. Coming off of a 31 goal, 75 point rookie season, scouts drooled all over the possibilities of him being the next Cam Neely.

However things didn't go well at all for Lindsay. He slumped to a 21 goal, 53 point season in his draft year. While his production was unexpected, so was his attitude. He failed to improve his skating and scouts questioned his work ethic not only in practice but during games. To top off his awful season, The Hockey News annual Draft Preview called him "this year's MDP - Most Disappointing Prospect. Big things were expected from the big right winger, but he didn't deliver."

"Maybe our expectations were too high," said one scout "We saw a big power forward last year who played good. Based on his size and strength, we projected him to be great."

He was far from great.

Despite his plummeting status, Vallis was selected in the first round 13th overall by the Montreal Canadiens. In one of the weakest drafts in history, the Habs were hoping that Vallis' season was an exception not the rule and that Vallis would rebound and be a solid player.

Vallis was returned to the Seattle Thunderbirds for 2 seasons after being drafted. He played okay but again, not great. As 19 and 20 year old playing junior, he should have dominated the league, but he didn't show anything special. It was becoming apparent that the Canadiens, with a long history of bad luck with 1st round draft picks, had selected another dud.

Vallis played 3 seasons for the Habs farm team in Fredericton before he was released and signed with a variety of low level minor leagues. However Vallis did get to achieve a dream in the 1993-94 season. The Habs were suffering through a forgettable season and called up a variety of minor leaguers to give them a shot to show their stuff, including Vallis. Vallis appeared in one game, collecting no significant statistics.

So what went wrong with Lindsay Vallis? He could have been another Cam Neely scouts said at one point. His skating held him back at a lot, as did his the reputation of draft miss he was labelled with.

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