With the draft rapidly approaching, managers league wide are huddling with their scouts trying to put together a draft list that will fill their teams up with talent for years to come. They look at each player and try to project what he will become in two, five or ten years’ time.
The league is so young now that it is very important that teams draft well and develop their own players. Did the average fan know the names of their favorite team’s head scout or development coach ten years ago? Hell no! There was a better chance they would know the organ players name.
These drafts are big decisions, especially if you have one of the top five picks. A manager will be crucified if he makes a mistake with a very high pick. But is it really that easy a choice to make? Think of yourself at the age these kids get drafted? How much did we all change in the next five or ten years. Big time!
I think it is time to raise the draft age by a year. This will allow young players to develop longer before a team has to make a big decision on drafting them. The number of bad draft picks would go down (but not be totally eliminated!). Take a look back at any draft. Many teams would like a do-over and the extra year of seasoning for potential draft picks would make the drafting process clearer and hopefully result in a higher number of solid picks.
I have no doubt the NHL would go for this. Each team would become more confident in their choices. The NHLPA would be the bigger issue. They would argue players could miss out on an earning year. But when you consider only a handful of fresh draftees play a full year in the NHL, it isn’t a huge issue.
With the CBA expiring, a work stoppage is possible. If the NHL misses twenty games or a whole season it would be the perfect year to skip the draft. The following year the draft lottery resumes but now all draft eligible players are a year older.
It is also time to look at allowing younger players to play full seasons in the AHL. Players that are nineteen would be eligible to play there under my new plan. This would guarantee major junior leagues that they would keep their stars in the leagues for three full seasons. Then players who aren’t ready to play in the NHL but are too good for junior would continue their development at the AHL level.
This plan is a winner for everyone in my eyes. NHL teams get a more mature group of youngsters to draft from, major junior leagues keep their big stars for an extra year and the players themselves can move on to the AHL younger which will help with their development.
If anyone has Mr. Gary Bettman’s email please forward him this article!
Loving this guy!
Tim Thomas, gotta love this guy! First he snubs the White House and now he is taking a year off! Kudos. He is a good goalie but unpredictable as hell off the ice. He has really put the Bruins in a bad place with the cap space he will take by not playing.
I can’t see how he thinks after a year off to work on his Facebook page that he can come back and play but I will be watching to find out! Can’t wait T-bone!