Author Topic: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?  (Read 9132 times)

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Offline cw

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Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #60 on: August 01, 2011, 08:44:22 AM »
In my opinion, it's a real mistake to rely heavily upon the Don Cherry stereotyping of hockey talent or blow off the talent coming up via the NCAA. Some of these guys have been proving for some time they're world class and they're very likely to continue that trend into the foreseable future - including the production of more NHL stars.

I agree with your post but there's a part of me that wonders maybe if we're seeing kind of a post-Moneyball world when it comes to NCAA players these days. Previously, when just about everyone came out of the CHL, there was this kind of perception that the NCAA was sort of the undiscovered country when it came to hockey talent. That there was a bunch of talent in the league and the really smart GM could sift through it all and come up with gems like CuJo or Oates or St. Louis. These days I can't help but feel as though the NCAA is as scouted as any other source and your likelihood of pulling a gem from there is no better than anywhere else.

Something to ponder....

....earlier this week, the NCAA was dealt a double body-blow. There was Phoenix first-rounder and Miami commit Connor Murphy deciding to take his game to the Ontario League’s Sarnia Sting instead. That same afternoon, it was confirmed that for the second straight summer, the University of Michigan would lose its incoming goaltender to the OHL as well.

John Gibson, Anaheim’s second-rounder from 2011, would be heading to Kitchener, much like Jack Campbell chose Windsor the season before. (The fact both Campbell and Gibson were Team USA national team development program products and the first American goalies taken in their draft classes only added to the bitter taste for college hockey fans.)

This came on the heels of New York Rangers first-rounder J.T. Miller spurning North Dakota in favor of Plymouth and Dallas top pick Jamie Oleksiak leaving Northeastern for Saginaw (though Oleksiak had played a year with the Huskies and left in part because coach Greg Cronin took a job with the Toronto Maple Leafs).

In 2009, six first-rounders spent their next season in college, while in 2010 it was eight. Back in ’07, 10 made the choice, including James van Riemsdyk and Kyle Turris, the second and third players drafted overall.

So is this summer just an anomaly? Unfortunately for college hockey fans, probably not.

“I think (top prospects) are finding out the OHL prepares you for the NHL and you still get your schooling,” said London GM Mark Hunter.

Education packages entice kids who worry about their academic futures and the OHL is still the best developmental league in the world.

The conventional wisdom in Canada is that major junior provides a quicker path to the NHL thanks to a schedule that mirrors the pros. But college hockey also has its upsides and I think there is a certain class of player in particular that benefits from less games and more time in the gym or at the rink.

“Pretty much every morning I could go to the rink before class,” said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who played for the University of North Dakota. “People thought I would leave school right after I was drafted, but I’m glad I stayed a second year. It worked out for me because I felt physically ready when I did get to the NHL.”

A great case study involves Turris and van Riemsdyk. While Turris was rushed to the NHL by Phoenix after one season at Wisconsin, JVR actually rebuffed the Flyers for a year, choosing to return to the University of New Hampshire for a second lap. After one full season with the Coyotes, Turris was demoted to the American League. Since that 2008-09 NHL rookie campaign, the still-developing youngster has played more games in the AHL than the big league. JVR on the other hand, played a few games for the AHL’s Phantoms once his UNH season was finished, but hasn’t been back since, registering 75 points in 153 NHL games (Turris has 46 in 131).

The battle for the hearts and minds of hockey’s youth will continue to be feverish and while the OHL certainly won the summer, it’s doesn’t mean the NCAA has been dealt a death-strike. The faithful will still fill Yost and Ralph Engelstad this winter and top recruits will still be in the lineup. Just not as many as there once were.

I looked at the USHL/US High School/NCAA first rounders from 2000-2010.

Some of the development is incomplete in the recent years for obvious reasons.

The results are tainted a little due to the lockout year.

Less than 10% of those kids have elected to go the CHL (OHL/WHL/QMJHL) route.

25% go directly to the NHL usually after at least a year or more in college.
24% split between the AHL/NHL usually after at least a year or more in college.
41% go to the AHL usually after at least a year or more in college.

For US High School, National program or USHL when drafted, by far, the vast majority go to US college from there.

Prior to 2008, I could only find one player in that bunch, Chuck Kobasew, who went to the WHL after being drafted from the NCAA.

Since the 2008 draft, there have been five who elected to get a taste of the CHL so it may be an evolving recent trend. But even that is a touch sketchy as a knock on the NCAA:

After being drafted from the USHL (not the NCAA):
Carlson went from drafted in USHL => OHL => NHL
Leblance went from drafted in USHL => NCAA => QMJHL => not in NHL yet
Moore went from drafted in USHL => AHL => not in NHL yet
Jack Campbell went from drafted in USHL => OHL => not in NHL yet
Tinordi went from drafted in USHL => OHL => not in NHL yet

So we have rarely seen a first rounder drafted in the NCAA going to the CHL - it's usually been USHL type players choosing that route.

I can see why a first round NCAA drafted player would seriously consider the CHL route - particularly if he's top 20. Most of those drafted in the top 20 get to cash in on playing in the NHL -even if they don't make a career of it. It may accelerate his path to the NHL minimizing wear and tear on his body before he can cash in on his NHL deal. He gets nothing if he blows a knee or shoulder out or has a career ending/limiting injury. And it gives him broader experience having played in both the NCAA and CHL and more games like the NHL schedule. But to date, we haven't seen a lot doing that.

None of that changes the fact that the US has really grown as a source for developing NHL quality players making up roughly 25% of the NHL and the recent NHL drafts and that the Leafs would be absolutely nuts to ignore that pool of talent (which to their credit, they have not to date).

Offline Madferret

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Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2011, 10:54:09 AM »
These American kids know the deal.

Re: Something lacking... an Alpha-male perhaps?
« Reply #61 on: August 01, 2011, 10:54:09 AM »