Thursday, June 3, 2010

Focus on Prospects: Joe Finley

photo by me

Name: Joe Finley
Position: D
Shoots: Left
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 247 lbs
Birthdate: 1987-06-29
Hometown: Edina, Minnesota

By popular demand, RoaRR presents: the man, the legend, Joe Finley.  Let's start off with the elephant in the room, shall we?

 created by the lovely Dana

Yes, the guy may not have the best judgment under the influence of alcohol and gets arrested for throwing lawnmowers into the street with his buddy, then gives the cops a fake name.  Oops.  He's also known as a bit of a thug by opponent teams.  He once allegedly slashed the Bucky the Beaver UW mascot during a game, and YouTube is littered with a few videos of fights and nasty hits.

But the bottom line is that he is a decent defenseman.  A first-round draft pick of the Capitals (27th overall) in 2005, Finley opted to go the college route instead of entering the minor leagues.  After a pre-college stint with the USHL Sioux Falls Stampede, Finley enrolled at University of North Dakota, where he quickly became a standout with the Fighting Sioux.  In his freshman year, he ended the season with a +18.  

He continued to improve his numbers through college (leading the team in +/- his sophomore and junior years) and learned to work with his large frame, but suffered a concussion in October of his senior year, which caused him to miss half the season.  The Capitals signed him after graduation in 2009, and he was assigned to the Hershey Bears.  He played one game with the Bears in 2009, and promptly made an impression, getting into a fight with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton enforcer Paul Bissonnette (now with the Phoenix Coyotes).

He attended Capitals development and rookie camps in 2009, and was briefly moved to forward by coach Bruce Boudreau.  The move didn't quite work out, but Finley went pro as a defenseman, spending the 2009-10 season with ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays (and eating the entire buffet at Golden Corral while he was at it).  Unfortunately, he was only able to play 17 games, as he suffered a freak hand injury (an artery in his hand ruptured) which required surgery, as well as sitting out the rest of the season.

Generally, I hate to quote blocks of text from Hockey's Future, but in Finley's case, it sums him up much better than I could:
In addition to his enormous frame, Finley has tremendous focus and work ethic. He has steadily improved his overall game (in particular his puck handling and skating) since being drafted. Finley is a surprisingly good skater for a 6’7 player. He is very agile, and has a heavy, accurate shot.
He'll need some more development before we see him playing with the Capitals, but he's on his way.  Development camp will be a good time to look at him - he's coming off of injury plus some pro game experience.  With all signs pointing to DC for John Carlson and Karl Alzner next year, Finley will be one of the prospects fighting for the open d-men spots on the Hershey roster.  General Manager George McPhee and Boudreau will have their eye on him; after the fight with Bissonnette, McPhee said, "It certainly showed some moxie."

1 comment:

Dana said...

Ahh I forgot about the hand surgery situation.

Oh lawnmower Joe, please don't let them turn you into a forward!!