Puck skills and dangling are great, they have a place in the game. Everyone loves the Skills Coach's Instagram video with 7 cones, 3 stick dangling gadgets and whatever else we can think of to dangle and toe drag around, but to me those situations are few and far between. Roles where you get away with even trying to have that as part of your game are even fewer. The St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Winning team proved that the game really hasn't changed as much as we might have thought it was changing. During the regular season in 2018-19 the NHL games were often no hitters, off the rush hockey with not much established zone time. PLAYOFFS, Game 1 what did a game look like? Board play, battles, pucks in deep when they were supposed to go deep, puck protection, refusal to give up on a 50% battle. Low to high to the D at the point with a quick shot, with 2-3 forwards SCRATCHING AND CLAWING TO THE NET.... Not as fun for most players as 14 stick handles the dangling around 4 pylons and going back hand shelf I know. Unfortunately when a team wins the Stanley Cup, teams in the NHL take note of what that team did to have success, from there the AHL copies, College Hockey copies, and Junior Hockey copies. So for the next couple of seasons Hcokey Teams all around the world will be modeled after the 2018-19 St. Louis Blues (drafts as well).
I am NOT trying to take away from any hockey player having a good, creative skill set, there is plenty of time for that and it seems to get worked on a favorable amount, especially in the off season... Simply ask yourself a question as a Hockey Player: Am I spending enough time on my game in the areas where battles are started and are won and lost? Because these are areas where jobs are won and lost come late September.