Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Grow Your Own

Homegrown... it's the Best

The new CBA and it's resulting salary cap is forcing teams to concentrate more on developing talent from within their organizations rather than from without. Some teams have always gone that route but for others it's a BIG adjustment from their previous strategy of simply buying talent.

So, how well does your team grow it's own... talent? Does it grow good stuff or is it weak?
Edmonton showed the biggest difference between drafted and homegrown players, having provided five undrafted players their NHL debut. Almost seven percent of the players (48) on NHL opening night rosters were never drafted. Five of those 48 were goaltenders.


Naturally, astute trading and player acquisition are as much a part of the process of building a contender as drafting. To isolate the drafting prowess of teams over the long haul, we break down the number of players in the league as a whole that each team originally selected. New Jersey leads, with 36 former draft picks on opening night rosters league-wide, while Tampa Bay drafted the fewest among non-expansion teams, with just 12 players.
I figured Jersey to be one of the stronger clubs at drafting and developing talent but a real surprise was Colorado's ability to identify and draft goaltending talent.
The Colorado Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise drafted an astounding total of eight goaltenders listed on NHL rosters on opening night. They include David Aebisher, Peter Budaj, Marc Denis, Manny Fernandez, Brent Johnson, Phil Sauve, Garth Snow, and Jocelyn Thibault. Four non-expansion franchises do not have any goaltending picks in the league: Vancouver, Los Angeles, Calgary, and Tampa Bay.
Amazing indeed.

Premature Puckelation ?

Lets' not get too excited too fast there Commissioner.

Reports from around the NHL have been generally positive regarding the re-launch of the league. HOWEVER, there's no denying the league continues to face some thorny issues and problems, the major one being the health of a number of franchises. So, for that and a few other reasons some feel the Commissioner should back off a little on the excessive exuberance he's been displaying recently... at least until clearer trends are known in a few months. (reg. req.)
...Commissioner Gary Bettman has made appearances in which he has declared that sweeping changes in rules, rink dimensions and goalie equipment have resulted in a faster and reinvigorated game, and that attendance across the league is the proof.

Suggesting otherwise is just "looking for a negative story that isn't there," Bettman said.

"All of our franchises will be fine," he said. "Everybody associated with the game is delighted we're back and things are as positive as they are."

Let's examine that for a second.

In Philadelphia, Detroit, San Jose, Colorado, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Minnesota, Vancouver, Montreal and Pittsburgh, that is true, with those arenas at about 100 percent capacity.

There are other cities where attendance is not that high, but ahead of the end-of-season averages for the last season played. And there are cities in which average attendance is below what is was in 2003-04, and that cannot be denied.

Attendance is down in Washington, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Dallas, Columbus and Chicago. Washington has had three crowds of less than 11,000 in the 18,277-seat MCI Center, with a low of 10,002 vs. Tampa Bay on Oct. 16.

And no matter what the teams do, there will be lots of games at Buffalo, New Jersey, Florida and other cities that will be way below capacity.

This is quibbling with what Bettman has said, but he is getting ahead of himself. The commissioner should stick to the assumption that it will take a season or two to judge whether the game's popularity really does come back enough to state that the NHL is a viable 30-team league.
Meanwhile waiting in the wings should one of the US franchises falter are cities like Quebec, Hamilton and... this one.

Personally I'd love to see a team back in Quebec someday and one way or another I definetly think the league will have teams that will be looking to move.


Limey said...

I think Calgary drafted Giguere

limey said...

Never mind. It was Hartford.

Andy Grabia said...

Edmonton is also at full capacity.