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  • Nate Prosser played bottom-pairing style, earned bottom-pairing minutes




    The ceiling fan spins lazily above as GM Chuck Fletcher clicks open several craigslist ads for "Gently used scoring forwards" on his computer.

    [From the opposite side of the room, there's a KNOCK at the door.]

    Who's there? Oh, hey...you. Hey, uh...Nate, is it? Am I pronouncing that right? Nate? Nake, maybe?

    Right, that's you. I can see because you've got that shirt and you're wearing gym shorts despite the fact that you're nowhere near a gym. Great. Well, Nape, let's evaluate your performance this year, which is why you're here, I assume.

    I've got your file right here, so let's just get right to it.

    Chuck types rapidly on his keyboard and clicks open a number of links.

    I see you've been with us for ...several... years now, and this was a career year for you, I'm going to assume. You scored, what 5, maybe 10 goals? ...Less than that? Okay, so you scored zero goals this season. Well, that's alright, because you spent all your time assisting others' goals, right? Classic Nate!... No? Only 2 of those this year...okay...shoot.

    I mean, according to them, you would be EASILY in the top...20...of all Wild players this year with your 40.77 Corsi-for %. That's sorta good, man. It's serviceable.

    Really, Nate, if I'm being honest, I didn't expect to see you in here. Not because I don't like you, or because you're a bad player. In truth, you're not a great player, and your play isn't remarkable, but that's exactly why a guy like you has a sport on a team like ours. I didn't expect to see you in here because we both know the type of player you are and the role you play on this team.

    Yes, there are better defensemen throughout the league, better depth defensemen, grittier defensemen, and defensemen at league minimum salaries, but there aren't many who roll often-reliable, if unexciting defense, post-whistle aggression, and a positive attitude into an affordable package. Sure you make errors, but no team is filled with perfect players. Every team comprises a few greats, some mid-range structure guys, and a handful of role-player and roster fillers to build things out. And you and I know exactly where you fit on that list.

    But again, if I'm being totally honest, you show up and do a capable, serviceable job on a team brimming with guys who can cover up for your inequities on defense. On another team, your play could lead to some serious problems given a larger role, but you're not on another team. I mean, can you imagine what it'd be like if you were on the Oilers?! You'd probably be on their second pairing!!! But, on this team, there's no need for you to play a larger role, or command a larger salary. So let's not fret too much over your lack of scoring or your liability on defense every so often.

    Look, I know you're routinely roasted by the experts on twitter and various reputable hockey blogs which provide excellent coverage throughout the year, but just put that aside. You and I know the role we expect you to play on this team and the expectations should, and will, always be that you fill that role. Nothing more, nothing less. As far as next season goes, I'll get back to you

    ...And take it easy on yourself, Nate, because I can tell you this, the fans never will. They're always going to see you as a dumpster fire of wasted potential.

    Speaking of "dumpster fires of wasted potential"...

    Chuck pulls out his cell phone and texts a contact listed as "Petey C EDM": Pross 4 Yak?

    [END Scene.]

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