Jay McClement isn’t holding up a mirror when he looks across the ice and sees Daniel Paille.
But the Maple Leafs’ fourth-line centre understands the comparisons with the Boston Bruins’ fourth-line left winger.
“For every one of us, every bottom-six guy, there are 10 guys who had more skill but never made it,” McClement said. “There are players with way more skill, and they might get a chance (in the NHL), but they don’t stick around for long because they don’t have that buy-in.”
Dashed NHL dreams are littered with players who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, make adjustments to become effective NHL performers after starring in the junior ranks.
McClement had three seasons of 22 goals or more in with the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, topping out at 30 in 2000-01. Paille didn’t score fewer than 22 goals in four seasons with the OHL’s Guelph Storm, hitting a plateau of 37 in 2003-04.