Milan Lucic is a scorer encased in the body of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. He's a monster. Standing at 6'3", 228 lbs., the Boston Bruiser has not only collected quite the amount of PIMS in his career, but also the lit lamps.
Since his breakout year in the 2010-11 season, Lucic has played 142-games, scoring 52-goals and assisting on 58 others. Not that it's any secret whatsoever, but he's also the last guy to shy away from dropping the mitts and sharing fisticuffs with an opposing tough guy.
In a nutshell, players like Lucic don't come around on pallets each Entry Draft. But players like him start out one way and then develop into the type of gamer that Milan is today.
Which brings me to our own Tom Sestito.
Now, I'm either going to lose all credit with my readers or change a few minds. I'm totally prepared to accept the consequences from both circumstances. But before you travel your mouse's icon up to the 'X' on upper-righthand corner of your screen, hear me out.
It's a far fetched declaration, I know, but (in the past) Sestito has shown signs of progressing his offensive game throughout his hockey career similar to how Lucic has done since the beginning of his Stanley Cup winning season. Though there is a tremendous difference between the OHL and NHL, Sestito made a dramatic jump in points-scored from his 2005-06 season to his 2006-07 season with the Plymouth Whalers.
In '05-'06, he played 57-games, potting 10-goals and assisted on 10 others.
In '06-'07, Sestito played 60-games, scoring 42-goals and assisting on another 22.
I don't care who you are, that catches the attention of talent scouts. According to Tom's prospect report, this added to his value tremendously entering the 2006 NHL Draft --
Flourishing within a deep and competitive pair of forward lines with the Whalers, the 19-year-old leveraged his 6’5 frame in the offensive zone and displayed a scorer’s touch not previously manifest in his junior career. Primarily attractive in the 2006 draft as a result of his imposing size and skating ability, the offensive strides have to be a pleasant surprise for the organization.
Sestito is a mountain of a man, standing at 6'5", and has a 230 lbs. frame to toss around like the pendulum from a fifty-story grandfather clock. And even through his jump in offensive production, he never skipped a beat on the fighting front.
His offensive stats in the NHL today are nothing grand, but then again....he also hasn't had a permanent home on an NHL's active roster. He's been brought up and loaned down off and on throughout his NHL's career. A stat he does own is being the NHL's fifth skater to pick up three fighting majors in a single game since the 2004-05 NHL Lockout. This was accomplished in the Flyers last meeting with the New York Rangers.
Alright, so that stat doesn't help my argument much. But I wanted to make it clear that Tom Sestito is not a stranger to the physical aptitude of hockey. And neither is Milan Lucic. Both beasts get their names jotted in the hits column as often as Justin Bieber combs his hair into a douchey do.
In only 14-games played with the Flyers this season (before going down with a torn groin), Sestito threw 47-hits on opposing skaters. Considering his average ice time (6:53) per game, that is an impressive amount of wallops.
Since the stat began being recorded in the NHL (2009-10), Milan Lucic hasn't completed a season under 140-total hits. If Sestito were to dress for the Flyers for an entire season, he'd be on pace to deliver (ready for this?) .....274-hits.
Directly from Lucic's Hockey's Future report --
The Bruins most popular player has often been compared to Bruin icon Cam Neely, and for good reason: Lucic is a beast. He's one of the league's hardest and most active hitters, and combined with his devastating pugilistic skills, is one of the league's most intimidating players.
Good. Now that I've squeezed every ounce of info from this sport's commanding physical prowess, allow me to once again highlight the fact that Tom Sestito has (and has already shown) the full capability of advancing his game offensively.
If he's done so in the OHL, what's to say he couldn't accomplish a similar feat in the NHL?
In the American Hockey League, Sestito's contribution on the attack is not stellar. He hasn't come close to lighting the lamps like he did in the Ontario Hockey League, which makes me understand why people could be skeptic of this article's argument.
But even Milan Lucic took time to transition into the league-known force he is today.
Skaters like Lucic are valuable to hockey Clubs, and in my opinion, they're essential to winning Stanley Cups. They've got enough finish, grit and confidence that make them such an influencing piece to the adversary's game-plan.
Call me crazy, but I believe Tom has the pieces in his game. And with the right personnel, those pieces could be put together to culminate the puzzle.
Tom Sestito could become the Flyers' Milan Lucic.
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