Heading into the upcoming season, defenseman Ian McCoshen will be expected to serve as a call-up for the Florida Panthers.
He participated in 38 NHL contests in 2017-18, featuring on the Panthers’ bottom pairing alongside MacKenzie Weegar. Unlike Weegar, though, McCoshen has found life in the NHL rather hard to navigate, being sent down in part to improve on his game.
The AHL provides McCoshen with a more comfortable platform, which allows him to develop at his own pace. With Springfield, McCoshen is valued as a different defenseman as he plays in a more valued role.
With that said, McCoshen will be entering the 2019-20 season as a depth defenseman who will be called up to play in case of an emergency or in replacement for an injured player.
He’s been playing in this role for a couple of seasons now and has shown no concerns with embracing it either. At this point in time, McCoshen isn’t ready to become a full-time NHL defenseman, evident by his skillset and defensive play.
With the latter being the most important aspect (especially as a defenseman), McCoshen’s defensive play alone cannot handle the everyday NHL life. The more games he plays in, the more holes that are exposed/shown in the 24-year-old’s game.
That’s why it’s best for McCoshen to continue developing with Springfield in the meantime while coming up to play with the Panthers when his presence is needed.
McCoshen is able to handle the odd few games, but the minute he is displayed in a larger sample of matches, his defensive play gets completely exposed.
For a defenseman who just isn’t ready yet, there’s no point in rushing him to play, especially when the Panthers have their set six-seven defensemen. McCoshen isn’t even the first in line in terms of the defensive rotation, so his spot (when in need of a call-up) is certainly not a guarantee.
If McCoshen wants to make the roster and play in more games, then he’s going to have to impress the Florida Panthers both at camp and with his play in the minors.
It’s likely that he starts the year with Springfield, which many have predicted. For McCoshen, starting with Springfield would be the ideal scenario, given where he’s at currently.
For both parties alike, starting the year in Springfield and working his way up as a call-up to gain entry into the roster seems to be the likely footsteps that McCoshen will take to achieve his end goal.
But at this current moment, Ian McCoshen just isn’t ready to start playing as a full-time NHL defenseman, let alone starting the year in the big leagues.