Padakin's Progression 1/28

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Pavel Padakin is back with the Phantoms. Photo: Nina Weiss/The Home News
After a 17-game stint in the ECHL to get ice time and some confidence in his game, rookie forward Pavel Padakin has rejoined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms with something to prove. That he belongs.

"At the beginning of the year he was lucky to get through the second period and see ice in the third, and tonight I didn't even think about it," head coach Scott Gordon said after last night's 6-3 win over Binghamton.

As is the case for most young players transitioning from junior hockey to the pros, it comes with a bit of a learning curve. With his ice time limited to a fourth line role at the beginning of the season, Padakin's mistakes and lack of reliability further limited his ice time to the point where it was best to send him to Reading to play.

"He was starting to slowly turn the corner by the time he went down," Gordon explained of Padakin, adding, "I think that, at the end of the day, the best thing for him was to get ice time, have confidence with the puck, to play with the puck a little bit more, get an opportunity to make some plays and shoot pucks."

The time in Reading was well spent for Padakin, who tallied 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in the 17 games he played. He has returned to Lehigh Valley and didn't look out of place Wednesday night against Binghamton.

"It was good for me to be sent down," Padakin said. "I had much more ice time and got my confidence back [to] show the coaching staff and everyone that I can play at this level."

Gordon was impressed with Padakin's improvement in his first game back with the team.

"I told him as the clock was winding down, it was a much better effort from him as far as a reliability standpoint," Gordon said after Wednesday's win. "That's good that he was able to maximize his opportunity down there - he was close to a point per game - and to me he played with a lot of confidence tonight."

Gordon continued on about exactly what Padakin wasn't doing earlier in the season:
Pavel is a young player and I think that the situation that he came from, the game was probably a little bit easier in junior for him to use his skill and his estimation of calculated risk. I just needed a lot of improvement, between turning pucks over in our zone, turning pucks over entering the opposition's zone, going offside, there was just too many things that went bad for him in taking away ice time because of his lack of reliability. Tonight, he was reliable.The fact that I didn't notice him in a lot of situations when he was on the ice was a good thing. His play earlier in the year I noticed it and it was for the wrong reasons.
For Padakin, now that he's back and playing with confidence it's just a matter of remaining consistent and bringing the hard work and effort every shift he gets. The rookie forward certainly understands the situation he is in.

"Every time you get a chance, you want to prove to them and show your best. I'm hoping I will do that. I 'm really about my game tonight. I think I improved and I just need to keep in my mind what things I need to do well and just keep doing them."


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