Rushing prospects has been a thing of nature for the Oilers in the past decade. It’s not just us, every other team in the league struggles with it. Every parent who has a child even struggles with it. You always want to see your loved one playing at the best level possible, but in a lot of the cases it can and will be more detrimental to the development of your child.
Look at me giving parenting advice, right?? Well someone who CAN give parenting advice is Mike Babcock. A video from the NHL draft in 2017 came up on Twitter again this past weekend of Babs giving some parenting advice. He really hit the nail on the head about rushing hockey players. Have a look below:
Love this. True at the lower levels as well. Nothing wrong with slow and steady. pic.twitter.com/vEOcePco5B
— Cody Nickolet (@CodyNickolet) May 20, 2017
Your so fired up about your kid playing at the higher level. What’s the matter with being the best player and having the puck all the time and getting better, and being confident? That to me is what makes sense.
We’re in such a hurry to rush these kids. They’re not ready. They’re not strong enough, they’re not mature enough. Arrive when you’r ready, be good right away. Don’t arrive and lose your confidence. When you get to the National Hockey League and you don’t score for a few years, you check for the rest of your career.
We’ve all heard this said before, but Mike laid it out perfectly. The chances of the athlete being overwhelmed at a higher level and losing his confidence are far higher than him succeeding. Obviously there are different Mc-scenarios where a player could be more than NHL ready when drafted, but those are rare. After the draft, we have all summer to salivate over the idea of our new draft pick shaping out to be the hero we need. OF COURSE, the temptation is higher than ever when training camp comes around. The key is patience, and fighting the craving to see success in the immediate future.
It’s human nature to want to see yourself or your favourite hockey team succeed in the short term. Being patient in sports is one of the hardest things to do. Of course I wanted to see Nail Yakupov play in the NHL right off the hop and score a trillion goals in his rookie season, everyone did. Was there a gut feeling that it was a bad decision at the time? Maybe a little bit. Did it back-fire? Absolutely. And now, Nail’s NHL career could very well be over. But that’s a conversation for another day.
Evan Bouchard is a REALLY tempting situation. He’s projected as one of the lone first round defenceman who could be NHL-ready next year. We’ve only seen him in an Oilers practice jersey once, but is rushing him the right move? I’m seeing a ton of conversation online about people wanting him to make the team next year. I believe he’s going to get an extremely long look at training camp, but I’d like to think that after the past ten years, Oilers management will not take the risk on our first rounder. What do you guys think?
The best real life example I can relate to regarding this is with Baggedmilk in NationHQ. The guy loves his colouring books but he has always entered in contests that are way over his head in difficulty. Ever since we got him colouring back at the fourth grade level where he belongs, he’s been finding success like crazy! Now he’s primed to have a long career in colouring and he’ll never lose his confidence. The day you see the smile on your large adult son finding his passion, is the day you’ll never forget.