An Embarrassment Of Riches

I’m a believer. In a sport where “drafting for need” is professional suicide (this isn’t the NFL) the Edmonton Oilers appear to have selected the rights to a world class “first shot scorer.”

Eberle had a huge game when it mattered last night, scoring 2 huge goals for Canada (the second one as they were bleeding out and showcased some extremely quick hands) and putting his tournament numbers at 5gp, 5-5-10, +7.

Eberle’s shot total (unavailable as far as I know from the WHL site) sits at 20 and ranks 3rd overall on Team Canada. I’m a little distressed at the stats-keepers in the tournament (Eberle is missing a few assists and I believe one goal) but even if they’ve missed a few shots that’s a pretty nice total for an Oilers prospect. I’ve also noticed that his early tournament preference to pass off has now been replaced with a sniper’s mentality (take it to the net!) and the results have followed for him.

Eberle is tied for 5th in goals and his name appears with all of the major players in the tournament (he’s tied with Mikael Backlund, James van Riemsdyk and Dmitri Klopov for 5th in goals this series) and his 10 points have him 4th overall in that race (Teemu Hartakainen is 20th and Milan Kytner is 30th btw).

This is a junior tournament and we can’t get ahead of ourselves here in regard to this kid. Still, we’ve been watching these winter classics forever and I’m at a loss to remember the last Oiler 18-year old who did as much damage for his side.

Finally, there are two other kids at the World Juniors and they are impressing too. Teemu Hartakainen had a huge game yesterday and his stats (5gp, 2-5-7 +3 on 20 shots) imply some ability. We saw the kid Milan Kytnar play a couple of times this weekend on television and he certainly had an impact in the series (6gp, 0-6-6 +2 on 14 shots) and is a player to watch moving forward.

Which brings the question, does Eberle factor in to the discussion for next fall? I can’t imagine the kid would find a place among the Oilers’ centers (they’re already too young as a group) and they have a few guys under contract on each wing:

Oilers forwards 09-10
  1. C Shawn Horcoff 7.0M
  2. C Sam Gagner 1.725M
  3. C Andrew Cogliano 850K
  4. C Kyle Brodziak RFA
  5. LW Dustin Penner 4.25M
  6. LW Ethan Moreau 1.75M
  7. LW Marc Pouliot 825K
  8. RW Ales Hemsky 4.4M
  9. RW Robert Nilsson 2.0M
  10. RW Fernando Pisani 2.5M
  11. RW Zack Stortini 700K

That doesn’t include the young men who are ahead of Eberle on the pro depth chart (Reddox, Brule, Schremp) but not yet established, and of course the Oilers have some money to spend on Erik Cole or another free agent forward. I can see the Oilers perhaps moving Nilsson to LW or perhaps seeing if Eberle can play there in TC. One thing I believe we can conclude right now: Rob Schremp, who has been passed by the class of 2005 (Cogliano), 2007 (Gagner) and some of his own classmen (Reddox) now looks like he’s going to be in a roster battle with a 2008 draftee come the fall.

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66 Responses to "An Embarrassment Of Riches"

  1. B.C.B. says:

    As great as Eberle is at the World Junior tournment, I think it is too early to talk about him on the Oilers next year.
    As you said we have too many young small centers, and I think he’ll need time in the minors to get the hang of minor league pitching first (not to mention add some muscle). I think, at the earliest, he would be a call up next year.
    *unless we trade one of the young centers we have*

  2. hunter1909 says:

    Jani Rita?

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This is just another Oiler prospect who is lighting it up in juniors.

    Tavares is the genius out there.

    Let’s get him, lol.

    Having said all that, I believe the Oilers are making the playoffs. They are disfunctional, but Visnovsky and Souray are just too good at the back for the Oilers to fuck it up again.

  3. Kyle says:

    By my count Eberle had about 7 and 10 shots last night. He was just about the only Canadian player shooting.

    Even before last night’s 2 goal + SO performance I would have ranked him near the top of the squad – he’s got less points than Tavares but I think he (or his line) have been much more effective at even strength.

    While Cody Hodgson started strong I think he’s tailed off a bit in terms of decision making with the puck while Eberle has become smarter with the puck.

  4. rickibear says:

    “Tavares is the genius out there.”

    Yeah! Throwing Pucks to the front of the net to see other guys finnish them and standing at the side of the net on the PP. waiting for sweet heart passes from Eberle and Hodgson, that you miss 60% of the time. Thats driving the line.

    You are kidding yourself if you think Hodgson isn’t the best Canadian Froward on the ice.

    It was a close second for me between Tavares and Eberle.

    Eberle being relied on PK and PP more. Were as Tavares was stronger at even.
    Though numbers were padded against weaker oposition for both.

    When we faced a group of players who played an NHL tough game. The small guy showed up.

    That said Eberle scares me from a pro point of veiw. His skating stride, Speed, Float on the blades, and Top of Defensive zone play is earily similiar to Shremp.

    But maybe I am reading it wrong.

  5. HBomb says:

    LT: Do you seriously think Schremp’s actually at training camp next fall?

    With Nilsson/Gagner/Cogliano already here, there’s no space for him.

    Eberle coming along isn’t trouble for Schremp, since (IMO), he’s already trade bait. Rather, when he’s ready, it’s trouble for one of those other three (most likely Nilsson).

    As for young Jordan making the squad next year….if he had a sudden growth spurt to 6-2, 210 lbs, he’d be a lock. As of right now though, he’s probably back in Regina (thanks to that stupid no junior eligible players in the AHL rule….)

  6. Sean says:

    You forgot to finish the post with “Stu MacGregor you magnificant bastard”.

    Very encouraging game last night…

  7. oilerdago says:

    Having some guys who can play is a good problem to have. Hopefully we can swing some kind of trade instead of coming to next summer and having a bunch of guys walk with no return.

    I seem to remember that MacT said in the Fall 08 camp that Eberle was close and so I think we have to believe he’s going to compete for a slot next year.

    Therefore the question is who’s heading out before the trade deadline?

  8. Sean says:

    LT I guess Riley Nash isn’t part of the picture?

  9. dawgbone says:

    The Finish kid padded his stats with a 5 pointer against Khazakstan, meaning he had 2 points going into the game.

    I like Kytnar’s game though on the forecheck. The kids got a real sense of when he can cause pressure vs being trapped down low when the puck goes the other way.

  10. Lowetide says:

    Sean: I think Nash might spend another year in college. The Oilers sent word via Matheson iirc that he wasn’t prgoressing at Cornell and that he wasn’t gaining weight.

    More disconcerting is that he hasn’t stepped forward this season:

    07-08: 36gp, 12-20-32 .889ppg
    08-09: 12gp, 4-4-8 .667ppg

    Now he has a lot of games to play and could turn his season around, but the Oilers can slow the prospect flow by keeping him in college another year.

    Whether that’s best for his development is another matter, but even if he does come out he’d be a better bet to spend time on the farm at least for awhile imo.

    Especially considering (based on Chorney) NCAA education apparently involves things other than learning to play the damn game.

  11. Showerhead says:

    It seems that while the expectations brought on by “saw him good” are easy enough to put into perspective but “saw him score the most incredibly unlikely but amazing holy hell that was awesome go Canada go and then wow what hands to get around the pokecheck in the shootout how clutch is he I saw him SPECTACULAR” is a little bit harder ;)

    Be wary of the micro view!

  12. Bill Needle says:

    The best thing about last night’s game is that Oiler fans got to see how talented Eberle is before all that talent is whipped out of him when the Oilers try to transform him into a bottom-sixer.
    As for former Oiler world junior heros turned to zeros, see Boyd Devereaux.

  13. Temujin says:

    Canuck fans are having the same debate about Cody Hodgson.

    But my God, that performance by Eberle… simply epic.

  14. Lord Bob says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We have got, got, got to get Nash out of Cornell and into the ECHL or something before it’s too late.

  15. B.C.B. says:

    If I was Nash, I wouldn’t be moving to the ECHL or the AHL. Giving up on a Cornell education for $50,000 a year is stupid. It may be better for us (fans of the Oil) for him to move on, but not for him.

    Would any of you folks give up an Ivey School education to play in the AHL?

  16. Schitzo says:

    BCB – you’ve nailed it. In prior years, it might have even been worth paying him a one-way deal to get him to the AHL (3 years at $850,000 goes a long way towards a secure future).

    Under the current CBA this is impossible, of course. So he does the only prudent thing left.

  17. jon k says:

    BCB the point is moot unless he plans on staying the full four years his degree. Drafted players rarely stay in the NCAAlong enough to finish their education. Especially those drafted high.

  18. godot10 says:

    Nash is slow-tracking himself. Unlike many young hockey players, Nash has options, and thus, commitment to hockey will involve a conscious choice.

    The path for some people (like Sam Gagner) doesn’t have forks in the road or room for meandering. For others, like Nash, it does.

    When Nash decides to be a hockey player, all this means is that he will need a couple of years in the AHL.

    If Nash wants to be an NHL hockey player, he will become one, just not on the usual fast track.

    Since Nash is really a Horcoff replacement, that gives him five years to get here.

  19. Doogie2K says:

    The best part of the tying goal was how he dug the puck right out from under the Russian D and flipped it into the net without even breaking stride.

    Early days, but God damn, this kid could be something.

  20. Bank Shot says:

    Hartikainen had 2 more points today which puts him at 8th in scoring in the tournament with 3 goals 6 assists and 9 points.

    He’ll likely fall some after the last four games are played, but still a nice showing regardless.

  21. PunjabiOil says:

    I’ve lost the passion (and time) for writing, but every so often I update the blog.

    A few weeks ago, I gathered a collection of quotes regarding Riley Nash, and the organization seems to be upset he chose Cornell.

    http://punjabsoil.blogspot.com/2008/12/getting-message-across-via-media.html

    Here are a few gems:

    “It’s a tough answer,” Nash said. “I’m not going to go just when they (the Oilers) ask me to go. I don’t feel I need to go and bounce around in the minors for a few years. Cornell is a nice place to be.”

    “Was I surprised he didn’t make it? Not really,” said Prendergast. “He was a longshot. They’ve got (John) Tavares and (Zach) Boychuk as their top two guys, and could move (Angelo) Esposito. Riley can’t play the wing.

    “Riley had a good second day of camp, but was ordinary in the other ones and you can’t have that at a short camp. Not playing enough games at Cornell hurts him.”

    It’s no secret the Oilers feel Nash isn’t progressing at Cornell. They don’t feel that school plays enough games (Nash has played in only eight so far this season), but even if Nash were to leave after his sophomore season, putting him in the American Hockey League for a short time for a trial-run might not work, either. He’s pretty slight.

  22. Coach pb9617 says:

    he’s got less points than Tavares but I think he (or his line) have been much more effective at even strength.

    Exactly.

    Tavares makes “MAGICAL PLAYS!”

    Unless Nilsson is shipped for a guy like Hunter or Armstrong and then Cole bolts and a guy like Pyatt signs, Eberle has no future next year.

  23. Coach pb9617 says:

    Oh, and Kytnar has been a revelation.

    Kid has siiiiiiick hands.

  24. Coach pb9617 says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB6avCVSJ9c

    Watch Mac’s face.

    *Smirk*
    “Alright.”

  25. Lowetide says:

    Riley Nash with a goal, +2 and 4 SOG for Cornell today in a 5-2 win. He was 9/17FO.

  26. Asiaoil says:

    Eberle was a obviously BPA at his draft position – so Stu gets a bit of credit but it was an easy call.

    Like Gagner – but how much better would Voracek “fit” this teams needs. You don’t overlook elite talent for size – but when two guys are close and one is a smurf while the other has legit NHL size – you go with size and we should have taken Voracek since we already had Cogs, Schremp and Nilsson in the house. Now we’ve added Brule and Eberle and at most we can have 2 of these guys in the top 6 at their size.

    Nash is fine and everyone dissing the NCAA clearly does not watch the games. He’s playing against guys older than him and they spend more time on off-ice training in the NCAA than in any other league not named the NHL. The NHL brass is just massively anti-intellectual and hates kids with options who don’t have to kiss their asses 24-7. Nash is and will be just fine – just like Cogliano, Horcoff and Gilbert were just to name a few on just out team.

  27. Lord Bob says:

    So Nash is playing very few games against kids whose only qualification is “age”, but that’s okay because he lifts lots of weights? :P

  28. quain says:

    I bet Nash would have gone pro if MacT hadn’t lost the room.

  29. DeBakey says:

    looks like he’s going to be in a roster battle with a 2008 draftee come the fall.

    Schremp is a Free Agent after this season.
    I doubt he’s back in the fall

  30. Dennis says:

    It’s also worth nothing that young Eberle’s a handsome devil as well.

    C’mon, someone had to say it;)

  31. MJT says:

    I’m in Ottawa and I’ve been to all the Canada games, and watched Eberle specifically because he’s an Oiler pick. His numbers are inflated because he’s on a power play which was clicking at 60% before the Russia game. Four Canadians were in the top 5 in scoring at one point I believe. They have a goal differential in the 20s and they’ve played 5 games. Until the Russia game Eberle had been good, but certainly not great. Against Russia he was great, and it speaks to him being a big game player, but he has not been a dominant force in 4 of the 5 games, and his strength and speed are not strong assets, even at the junior level. I remember an Oiler draft pick a few years ago who (as a 19 year old) played very well for an American team that was struggling and underachieved the whole tournament. His name: Robbie Schremp. I don’t think this guy is NHL ready yet. The players on the Canadian team who look to be close to NHL ready to me are Subban, Hodgson, Tavares, and maybe Esposito, which has surprised me. I’m also surprised at how silent Pietrangelo has been given that he went third overall.

  32. Lowetide says:

    DeBakey: Schremp is a free agent after this season? RFA, right?

  33. Unleaded says:

    Pietrangelo being quiet really doesn’t surprise me. Most of the draft comments I heard about the kid were that he was going to be great one day, but that all of the pieces he had were not clicking together yet. My understanding was that he wasn’t a blue chipper like Doughty, but that he had a elite ceiling, potentially higher than the other D-men in the draft. So the fact that he hasn’t put those peices together in the last 6 months is not a shocker.

    Asia:

    Seems kind of silly to suggest that Gagner wasn’t the best player on the board in 07. Voracek may have a higher ceiling because of his size, but that doesn’t make him the smart pick, it makes him a gamble. Maybe it would look better now, but I wouold suggest that the guys in charge of the Oilers can’t see the future. If they could, I doubt this team would be sitting just below .500.

    So, if Eberle is the new Hockey Jesus, my only question is who was the savior before Rob? Because it only seems to make sense that on this team there would always be a guy pegged to be our team’s savior.

  34. Lowetide says:

    Unleaded: There was a raging discussion about Gagner V. Voracek on the blogosphere on draft day:

    http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2007/06/what-day.html

  35. Doogie2K says:

    I personally got tired of the Gagner v. Voracek debates almost two years ago, back when it first became clear where we were picking. My feeling on the subject is, call me in five years when both players are (theoretically) in their prime, but I have to assume the Oilers and Jackets both got the guy they thought was BPA at the time, as one does.

  36. Showerhead says:

    MJT: Based on watching all the games in my living room, I have the same assessment of Eberle as you.

    My view is excellent hands, very good passer (was this even in the scouting reports b/c I feel surprised), good defensive positioning, good wrister/backhand, average skater, below average strength, bit of a floater in the offensive zone, defers a bit too much with the puck to the star power around him. Players his size can develop the core strength to compete at the NHL level and I think the progression in his weaker areas i what ends up deciding how much better or worse than “impact player in a narrow view” Eberle becomes in the bigs. Just my two cents though.

  37. RiversQ says:

    While Cody Hodgson started strong I think he’s tailed off a bit in terms of decision making with the puck while Eberle has become smarter with the puck.

    Wow. Just wow.

    OK, hands up. Who else has a shift-by-shift chart of the development of Hodgson, Eberle, and Tavares all stacked on the same plot?

    This is symptomatic of the bipolarity that plagues LT’s blog these days. It’s just flat out bonkers at this point. One day the Oilers are a playoff team and the next they’re bleating for heads to roll.

    The issues for the Oilers haven’t changed since training camp. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about, but at least get some fucking perspective.

    Small sample size abounds at the WJC not to mention all the other factors. One bounce and Canadian Dude X is either a total bust with a full set of goat horns and the personality of Brian Burke or the second coming of Our Saviour Wayne.

    Better off just enjoying the tournament because it will tell you next to nothing about what kind of NHLers they will be.

    /endrant

  38. Jonathan says:

    RiversQ – Two words: Ryan O’Marra.

  39. Lord Bob says:

    Parsing the numbers at the WJC is a fool’s errand. But it can be useful to watch how the players we’re interested in play: I doubt lots of us watch the entire WHL season, so this is the best look against Eberle we’ll get until training camp 2009.

    Still, I do agree with RiversQ. The O’Marra-Rita Hall of Fame has many, many members.

  40. Showerhead says:

    But Pierre Maguire said that Edmonton fans should get excited! He said that Eberle would be on the team next year!

    Crosby!!!

  41. Paper Designer says:

    Everyone keeps saying we have too many small skill guys to work long-term. But has anyone really tried such a team in the “new” NHL? Is a team of over-skilled and under-sized midgets really doomed to failure, as long as they’re collectively better hockey players than their opposition?

  42. St George says:

    Would any of you folks give up an Ivey School education to play in the AHL?

    The junior teams have figured that out. When you play juniors these days, they put aside a whole bunch of $$$ for you to use on tuition should hockey not work out.

  43. Bank Shot says:

    Everyone keeps saying we have too many small skill guys to work long-term. But has anyone really tried such a team in the “new” NHL?
    The Oilers only have 3 small forwards and one small defender. It’s not hard to find teams with the same.

    Detroit, Buffalo’s now and especially their successful 05-07 teams were tiny, Rangers, Devils, Canadiens, Flames have some small guys up front in Langkow, Cammalleri, and Boyd.

  44. godot10 says:

    By the time Eberle is likely ready to play, Nilsson will likely be too expensive to fit under the cap.

    With a cap system, one is likely to lose one or two mid-level proven player per season, to be replaced by younger, cheaper, less proven player. Grebeshkov probably currently falls into this category where the Oilers will probably have to trade him this off-season because they might not be able to pay him. Detroit will likely only be able to keep one of Hossa or Franzen next summer.

    One needs a continuous flow of prospects. One cannot teach or coach skill, so one has to draft it, so one is more likely to go for skill, even though it is somewhat undersized, in the first round, and go for bigger developable role players in later rounds.

  45. B.C.B. says:

    St. G: I don’t think you can compare a player taking the NCAA route to the CHL scholarship route. Basically one is pro-active and the other reactive in relationship to an education: in other words education as a drive or a after thought. This increases if the player is attending an Ivey league school, compared to another NCAA school. Nash is studying at a school ranked 15th in the world with ultra-expensive tuition, for free, good for him.

    Interesting side note: U of A is ranked higher then U of Minnesota (by 12 rankings), so in one ways it makes sense to take the CHL route: if you go to U of A.

  46. misfit says:

    just read this entry, and I’m probably derailing what is now a completely unrelated topic, but didn’t Eberle say he was more of a RW after we drafted him? Also, isn’t he playing RW for Team Canada in the WJC? I could be wrong, but I thought he was also playing RW for us in the preseason too.

  47. Lord Bob says:

    Yes, Nash is at an expensive school for free. He is at this school to play hockey. He travels the conference playing hockey, not to mention things like world junior camps and the like. He has two duelling priorities: be good at hockey and make millions of dollars a year, or get his degree out of the college of Agriculture and Life Sciences and make $50,000 a year.

    I’ve always preferred the CHL route, for the simple reason that if you go to a Canadian university on a free ride from the CHL, you know you’re not going to make it in hockey, so education is your top priority. Guys in the NCAA, meanwhile, better be able to guess right the first time or they’re screwed.

  48. DeBakey says:

    Schremp is a free agent after this season? RFA, right?

    Yep
    Would the Thrashers offer him a three-year, $750,000 per one-way contract?
    Would the Oilers match?

    I think,
    At the very least Schremp gets Syvretted.

  49. Dennis says:

    AO: I haven’t checked JV’s stats since he went on that early season tear but I’ve seen enough good from our own 89 that I don’t think we should’ve drafted based on something like size.

    That’s not to say it doesn’t matter but the Oilers once let Zach Parise float by because they already had a lot of small guys underfoot and I don’t think that’s something they’ll do again.

    Plus, I know we’re taking years down the road but right now our own 10 is big and capable enough to go PVP while 89 will get on the lessers.

    That could potentially be really propelling us right now if not for the awful PK.

  50. godot10 says:

    //I’ve always preferred the CHL route, for the simple reason that if you go to a Canadian university on a free ride from the CHL, you know you’re not going to make it in hockey, so education is your top priority. Guys in the NCAA, meanwhile, better be able to guess right the first time or they’re screwed.//

    You lose your CHL scholarship money if one signs a professional contract. So if one is a marginal pro prospect, one has to choose between university and the minor pros. i.e. The CHL gives scholarship money only to players who have no professional potential. So for a 16-year old who wants both the hockey and university option, Tier II leading to a US scholarship is a better route.

  51. Kris says:

    “The junior teams have figured that out. When you play juniors these days, they put aside a whole bunch of $$$ for you to use on tuition should hockey not work out.”

    Would it pay Ivy League tuition? I think Princeton, Cornell, and Harvard are about 35-40 thousand a year: almost 160,000 for a four year education. (BTW, you don’t go to an Ivy to get a 50,000/year job in agriculture.)

    —-

    I’m really confused about why people think American colleges can’t train hockey players; they do a hell of a good job training basketball and football players, Olympic athletes, etc. And they have a track record of developing some very good hockey players. Is the problem that the NCAA is American?

  52. Kris says:

    Sorry Lord Bob, I think I misunderstood what you said.

  53. Lord Bob says:

    You lose your CHL scholarship money if one signs a professional contract. So if one is a marginal pro prospect, one has to choose between university and the minor pros. i.e. The CHL gives scholarship money only to players who have no professional potential. So for a 16-year old who wants both the hockey and university option, Tier II leading to a US scholarship is a better route.

    If you’re offered a contract for ten cents in the Federal League vs. a four-year free ride at a Canadian university and you go play in the Federal League, you’re too stupid to go to university anyway. :P And if you’re getting an entry-level NHL deal, then you’re still making more money than any of your buddies would at that age.

    Besides, the NCAA is more than happy to screw you two ways from Sunday too. First, they don’t pay you, unlike the CHL. Second, if you go to a pro training camp or retain an agent or mumble the words “guaranteed contract” in your sleep you lose your scholarship there and then and you can go drive a combine for all the NCAA cares.

  54. Lord Bob says:

    Kris: There’s probably a really great article in the different evolutions of hockey vs. all the other major North American sports.

    For some weird reason, even though ice hockey was invented by college students, we wound up with this weird system of indie junior leagues whereas everything else had a straightforward system of high school -> college -> pros.

    I like hockey's way better simply because I think that the NCAA is an incredible scam. Actually, just about everything to do with the top American colleges, scholastically and athletically, is a massive cash grab: it's really quite disspiriting and it probably explaisn a thing or two.

  55. DeBakey says:

    explaisn a thing or two

    You spell like a NCAA grad
    Congrats on your dugree!

  56. Lord Bob says:

    You spell like a NCAA grad
    Congrats on your dugree!

    And the amazing thing is that I’m only a Canadian university dropout! Picture the savings! :P

  57. CrazyCoach says:

    Wading into this late as usual, but I’ll add my two cents on the NCAA/CHL/CIS debate.

    As good as the NCAA has been for American hockey development, many kids get screwed due to the lack of a guaranteed 4 year scholarship, insane regulations around recruiting, and ambiguous guidelines for student athletes. For American kids, who live and die by the SAT by the time they are 18, it is a great system.

    However, to the kid from Fort St. James, BC, it can be killer.

  58. Kris says:

    Again, Ivy League educations cost about 160,000. So, Nash is effectively being compensated with a salary of 40 grand every year he plays. Not bad. (I honestly don’t know; what do players in junior make?)

    Now, you might think an Ivy League education isn’t worth so much, but that all depends on what you do with it. (Connections are everything at an Ivy.) And it’s kind of bizzare to say that top American schools -never mind just the Ivies- are exploitative when no one is coerced to apply.

    I suppose you could make a case that football and basketball programs at some state schools exploit their players. These schools make a lot of money on B-Ball and football, after all, and don’t pass it on to their players. (The solution is to just pay the players of these sports a bit.) But I hardly think that’s the case with collegiate hockey, though. Cornell hockey isn’t exactly Duke basketball.

  59. Lord Bob says:

    Kris: I don’t remember the exact compensation for a CHL player. It’s not a lot: couple hundred bucks a week. Unofficially, if you’re John Tavares you’re going to do a lot better than that, but that’s the real number.

    Taking Ivy League schools specifically (and not hockey schools like Michigan State), yes, they’re getting up to a maximum of $160,000 (not guaranteed as CrazyCoach pointed out). But that $160,000 is being tied up in something that’s of poor value to them and that they’re unlikely to get much out of, on account of the focusing on hockey thing.

    I’m not pretending the NCAA gives you absolutely nothing, but it’s a bad deal all round for guys in Nash’s position.

    Now, hypothetically, suppose Riley Nash was some random idiot with no chance of playing hockey and who knew that he had no chance of playing hockey, but still got a full four-year free ride at Cornell in a real major. Then he’d be wise to take the NCAA route. But those types of players simply don’t exist; there aren’t enough hockey scholarships to throw out to anyone but the elites.

    I agree that connections are everything at an Ivy League school, but is a first-round pick of an NHL team going to spend time developing those when he could work on becoming a multi-millionaire professional hockey player in a couple years?

    In the real world, I just don’t think that there’s going to be much of a gap between going to Cornell and going to McGill, particularly when at Cornell you’re a hockey player first and at McGill you’re a student first. Plus, with the CHL, you know you’re getting a free year for every year of junior you play, plus you have up to four years of a couple hundred bucks a week in pocket money. And, unlike the NCAA, the CHL can’t pull your scholarship if you’re not banging in enough rebounds on the powerplay. So it’s a better deal all-round.

  60. Doogie2K says:

    Is the problem that the NCAA is American?

    No, the problem is that Cornell isn’t exactly a hockey power, and they’d only played three or four games going into the junior camp.

    BTW, I looked at Cornell’s all-time roster, and wasn’t really inspired. Ken Dryden leaps off the page, as does Joe Nieuwendyk, but most of the names I recognized there were minor-leaguers (Ryan O’Burne, Sasha Pokulok, David LeNeveu, Matt Moulson, Darren Eliot back in the early ’80s), along with Sharks defenceman Doug Murray, and 37-game Oiler Kent Manderville, whose claim to fame will always be “throw-in with the Doug Gilmour trade.”

    For some weird reason, even though ice hockey was invented by college students, we wound up with this weird system of indie junior leagues whereas everything else had a straightforward system of high school -> college -> pros.

    Honestly, I think it’s because just don’t have the same affection for college sports in Canada as they do the US. So whereas every other major sport grew out of the American college system, because that was popular, hockey grew out of the community-based or company-sponsored amateur teams, the latter being what we would essentially consider beer-league teams today.

    I also wonder if NCAA’s refusal to take CHL players has anything to do with major-junior’s history as a feeder system for underage semi-pros to the Original Six and their minor-pro affiliates.

    But that $160,000 is being tied up in something that’s of poor value to them and that they’re unlikely to get much out of, on account of the focusing on hockey thing.

    LB, I know plenty of student-athletes, and can assure you that sports in no way takes up all of their time, and they get a lot of value out of their education. Hell, I think I study with half the wrestling team. U of C may not be Michigan State in terms of hockey (though our wrestlers and swimmers are a force to be reckoned with, particularly the latter), but this is a gross mischaracterization of the student-athlete life. As for poor value, the kids have got to do something when the hockey ends, one way or the other. The NCAA guys are in a much better position to do something about it than the CHL guys.

    at Cornell you’re a hockey player first and at McGill you’re a student first

    [citation needed]

    And, unlike the NCAA, the CHL can’t pull your scholarship if you’re not banging in enough rebounds on the powerplay.

    As I understand it, most players lose their scholarship due to grades, not play. Some coaches might lord a scholarship over an athlete as a way of trying to get them to do what they want; these coaches are not only douchebags, but ineffective ones at that. It’s science!

  61. Lord Bob says:

    Doogie2K: you’re studying with half the wrestling team. Great! But let me know when one of those wrestlers is going for a multi-million dollar career instead of what is, essentially, a hobby. It’s a rather different mindset.

    Of course, this is still proceeding on the assumption that a degree in agriculture and life sciences from Cornell is worth significantly less than a degree from a good Canadian school, which I’m not at all convinced is true.

  62. Kris says:

    “is a first-round pick of an NHL team going to spend time developing those when he could work on becoming a multi-millionaire professional hockey player in a couple years?”

    Why not? We can walk and chew gum, no? You can’t lift weights 24/7.

    Oddly enough, I know a # of guys who got into an Ivy league medical school primarily because they had played lacrosse in the past at the collegiate level. Long story, but it’s how networking works.

    If Nash has student athlete and Ivy league grad, or Mich State grad even, on his resume, that’s going to open doors: law school, med. school, MBA, highly prized internships, etc.

    The equation here is simple: Going to college in the states, especially at an Ivy, has value X. Playing junior hockey might slightly increase a player’s chances by Y %, of making the NHL.

    Every young player will weigh x versus y differently.

    In Nash’s case, who knows what Y is. But X is not too shabby.

    Sorry to keep going on and on. I’ve got strong feelings about this.

  63. Doogie2K says:

    But let me know when one of those wrestlers is going for a multi-million dollar career instead of what is, essentially, a hobby. It’s a rather different mindset.

    That still doesn’t mean that the situation is as you suggest. I’m sure hockey probably prevents these guys from getting 4.0s all around, but if they couldn’t keep up with their studies, they wouldn’t be on the team. And really, there’s only so much time you can spend in the gym, on the ice, and in the video room, especially when you only play weekends.

  64. Doogie2K says:

    Also, I love your arrogance and self-assuredness on this topic, all things considered.

  65. Lord Bob says:

    I’m arrogant and self-assured on every topic. I didn’t call myself Lord Bob out of modesty. :P

  66. Doogie2K says:

    I guess I had that coming. =)

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