Wednesday, 29 June 2011
My Perspective on the Draft
The NHL Draft is one of the most exciting times of the year for everyone in hockey. Personally, I love the Draft and the days/trades leading up to it. I like to follow the young players rated and see their progress throughout the year. For me, I was rated by Central Scouting my 17 year old year while playing for the Soo Indians in the NAHL. I was first rated a C player, then given a number mid year at somewhere in the 90's for North American skaters. By the end of the year I was rated as the top NAHL player for the draft, which isn't saying much because there were only two of us other than the USNTDP guys, who are all rated fairly high. (Phil Kessel, Jack Johnson, Sidney Crosby were my draft year, 2005). By the time the draft came around I was rated pretty low, so I figured I wouldn't get drafted. My next year I played in Cedar Rapids (USHL) and again was rated low and again was passed over. My freshman year at college (NMU in the CCHA) I was not rated at all and again passed over. That was my 19 year old year and final year of draft eligibility. To be honest no team in their right mind would pick a 19 year old bum with 3 points all year in college. At that point, I figured I didn't have a chance at pro and just focused on my school. Then my senior year came and I somehow found a way to the net and ended up with 18 goals and 32 points, with a very strong playoff run. This is where my free agency comes in. I was very fortunate to be passed up in the draft at this time because I could choose between a few different teams in the NHL to sign with as a free agent, instead of being locked up in one team and possibly getting a lower end contract. I chose the Los Angeles Kings as the NHL team I wanted to be a part of and I am very happy I did so. They have great development strategies and hopefully I will get a chance to play with the Kings at some point in the next couple years.