Stuart Percy’s Instagram bio is only three worlds long – “Secretly Kenny Wu”. There’s another reason altogether that he’s comparing himself to the figure-skater turned sniper from D2: The Mighty Ducks, but let’s get one thing out of the way – the two are in no way similar at play hockey. Wu is small and quite literally jumps out at you with his skating ability. Percy is remarkably average sized and doesn’t jump out at you at all.
But as crazy as it sounds, that’s what makes him good.
Hyping up a defensive prospect is hard to do. Typically, they need to be offensively gifted, or freakishly strong for their age to get anybody’s attention. After all, hockey is a high-action sport, and people love action. Scoring the big goal or throwing the big hit is what gets people cheering. It sells tickets and jerseys. It’s not what you watch Stuart Percy for.
What Percy has that separates him from the pack is an innate ability to keep the puck out of harms way, on both sides of the ice. When he has the puck, he makes safe and sensible plays to either enter the zone or set up one of his teammates. Very rarely do you see him make a bad giveaway, or take a pointless shot. There is a logic and reasoning behind almost all of his puck decisions, to the point where they blend into the game; you only really notice his rare mistakes, and his occasional goals; he had four of them this season, to go with 21 assists.
In the defensive zone, he’s much of the same. He’s not one to send a player flying if he doesn’t have to, because it’s pretty hard to send the puck the other way if you’re following through on a body check. Percy will usually get himself into a position to lower the percentages of a play; whether it’s to prevent a one timer, to keep a guy out of a high-scoring area, or anything in between.
Overall, Stuart was happy with his season. “I set out to play a regular shift, and I think I accomplished that. That was my goal going into training camp.”
Percy finds himself at the #4 spot on our rankings, the same place that he’s been for the past year. It’s weird, however – seeing as the three at the top have completely changed. I don’t know if that’s an indication of our expectations for him falling, the expectations of others increasing faster, or a product of new faces, but it’s interesting nonetheless.
Last year, Percy split the season between two partners – TJ Brennan (now with the New York Islanders) and
fifth tenth ranked Petter Granberg. He also played on the penalty kill with Granberg, and on the second powerplay unit with Korbinian Holzer. This year, it would not surprise me to see him and Granberg become the top pair for the Toronto Marlies; something that he hinted he wouldn’t be opposed to. “It was great playing with Granny. He’s obviously a great player, and we read off each other well. We’re smart positionally, ahd he’s a defensive rock. It gives me freedom to try to do things offensively. We have great chemistry.”
It’s also not a stretch to expect him to remain a member of both special teams units. Percy is currently at a level where he wouldn’t look out of place in a brief NHL call up, and could be ready for full-time play as next season.
Photo Courtesy of Christian Bonin / TSGPhoto.com