The good news is Taylor Cammarata was a creative scoring contributor in his first season (NCAA) with an absolutely stacked Minnesota Gophers team. The bad news is he's still 5'7". After leading the USHL in scoring at age 17, he didn't yet pile up numbers in the NCAA to make you say, "Who cares about size?"
The skilled forward, selected 76th overall in the third round last summer (six picks after Eamon McAdam), got regular work while putting up 27 points in 39 games at Minnesota. And there were games where his line was the only one generating, so he provided valuable secondary scoring as an 18-year-old on a team led by 19-21-year-olds.
But there is always and remains, that size. Like the outliers who have come before him, he'll have to overcome a lot of challenges and size doubters if he's to make it all the way. So far so good, but a long way to go.
For what it's worth, his numbers this season compare okay to the age 19 numbers of Rocco Grimaldi, Florida's even smaller(?) 2011 33rd-overall pick who was in his second year at U. of North Dakota (after a freshman-year injury) when he put up 36 points in 40 games. Grimaldi too is no sure thing, but people are still excited about him and his career will be one to track when monitoring Cammarata.
Cammarata ended up at 19 on our spring 2014 Top 25 Islanders Under 25 poll. Here is how each individual voter ranked him:
|CIL||Keith||Mike B.||Mark||Mike L.||Chris||Dom|
And here is why:
Hoping he can be St. Louis...or at least Gaudreau...but I'd settle for Gerbe. Either way, had a relatively impressive rookie college season.
I don't know where to go with Cammarata, but I guess you can say that about a lot of 3rd round picks at age 19.
He followed up a big USHL season with a good Big 10 season, finishing 17th in the league in scoring. The number that stands out is his 17.5% shooting percentage. One wonders what his numbers would've ended up if he had pulled the trigger more.
He's not St. Louis. Probably not Gionta. Most likely not even Gaudreau. But still someone worth watching in his sophomore season.
I like underdogs. i.e. I like undersized forwards that score a lot.
Score goals and you can be 4' 8" for all I care.
I'm hoping he can skate under today's bigger d-men and goalies without them noticing.
I hope Cammarata pans out but I have serious doubts. He's not a particularly fast skater, which is a prerequisite in my book for smallish players (5'7 156). Essentially, for Cammarata to make the show, he has to do it on skill b/c he is never going to bring size and physicality. That said, he didn't exactly light it up his rookie year on an offensively loaded NCAA team. 10 goals, 27 points in 39 games isn't bad, but it isn't going to garner a lot of excitement either.