Josh Godfrey will let you see glimpses of it, snapshots of his terrific potential on the ice.
Against Gwinnett earlier this season, the South Carolina Stingrays defenseman skated the length of the ice, weaving his way through all five Gladiators skaters, then lowered his shoulder and roofed a shot past the baffled goalie.
Once last season against Florida, Godfrey stepped past an Everblades forward in neutral ice, split two defensemen at the blue line and made a no-look, backhanded cross-ice pass for an easy tap-in.
No one has ever questioned Godfrey's offensive ability. At 6-2 and 210 pounds, Godfrey can skate and stick-handle with anyone in the NHL, while possessing a howitzer for a shot. That's why the Washington Capitals drafted him in the second round of the 2007 NHL Draft.
"Josh has very, very high end offensive skill," said South Carolina coach Cail MacLean. "His ability on the blue line on the power play and in general is off the charts in terms of the ECHL. He has the kind of ability to play in the American Hockey League and beyond."
So why is Godfrey here?
"Where Josh needs to improve is his play away from the puck," MacLean said. "When he's got the puck, he's a very skilled, very dangerous player. Without the puck, he needs to work on reading the play and being better positionally. Once he improves his consistency and his competition level, he won't be in this league very long."
Godfrey understands his deficiencies and has been working to improve them all season.
"A lot of young guys at this level struggle to bring the same game every night and I'm no different," Godfrey said. "There were a couple of games against Gwinnett earlier this week when I thought I'd play OK, but not great. A couple of shifts I lost my focus and I let a guy get behind me. Then a couple of shifts later I went end-to-end and nearly scored.
"The issues have never been offensively. It's when I don't have the puck and I understand that. I need to be more assertive when I'm away from the puck."
It's also an area where Godfrey has made significant strides.
"Josh is playing so much better away from the puck then he has in the past," MacLean said. "You can see the light is coming on for him."
In two seasons, Godfrey, who won a gold medal playing for Canada in the 2008 World Junior Championship, has played just 15 games with Hershey, the Stingrays' AHL affiliate.
"Sometimes I'll watch TV and see guys in the NHL that I played with or played against at the junior level and wonder what am I doing wrong," Godfrey said. "Sometimes it's not something that you're doing wrong, you just need that opportunity."
It's an attitude that has changed Godfrey's whole outlook on his career.
"I told myself this summer that no matter what level I played at, I was going to be positive about the season," Godfrey said. "I wasn't going to worry about getting called up. I was going to work for the team to be the best player I can be."
Godfrey is easily having the best season of his young pro career with a career-high nine goals and 13 points in 27 games. He was the only Stingray to be named to the ECHL All-Star game later this month in Bakersfield, Calif.
"No question Josh has really picked up his game," MacLean said. "There have been more than a few games when he's been the best player on the ice for us. He's very deserving of the honor and I think he'll open some eyes at the all-star game."
Godfrey, who turns 23 next week, hasn't given up on his NHL dream.
"You see guys like Andrew Gordon, Sean Collins and Michal Neuvirth, guys that played here, and have played in the NHL and it gives you hope," Godfrey said. "I haven't closed the door on that dream."
Reach Andrew Miller at 937-5599. Check out the Stingrays 'Rays the Roof' blog at postandcourier.com/blogs/stingrays.
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