Prospect Ramblings: Draft Changes & Early Feel Good Prospect Stories

Dave Hall

2021-02-16

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Prospect Ramblings.

If you can believe it, the majority of teams – at least those who have yet to be ravaged by Covid – are, or have already approached the 25% mark of their respected season. What’s crazy? The league kicked off just over a month ago and we are already seeing a select few teams begin to scour through scouting reports to get a sense for this year’s top-half talent.

In such a condensed season, all it will take is a solid stint and you are right back in the mix of things. However, given that all points stay within the division, falling too far behind, even this early, is bound to result in a lottery spot. It’s just the cutthroat nature of operations these days.

Speaking of the draft, there have been some interesting takes regarding the finer details of this year’s draft, which is tentatively set to take place in Montreal this June. The reasons of concern are obvious – with many leagues being shut down for parts, or in some circumstances, all of the year, many prospects have been dealt the short straw with regards to their scouting position.

Of course, if you are a young player coming up through the European, Russian, or NCAA (with exception of a few divisions) systems, you are laughing. However, if you are fighting for a spot in the draft order and play out of the CHL – with an exclamation on the WHL and OHL – it’s been a tough go. This is blown to even larger proportions if you are coming up through one of the various non-major Junior systems, such as the BCHL or AJHL, which in some cases, haven’t even seen exhibition action.

Despite the WHL and OHL making attempts, which sound promising, to kick start a (very) condensed schedule, the argument still stands that there just won’t be enough time to properly evaluate the talent throughout these leagues.

So, what are they proposing?

Of course, this is all hearsay, but there have been some serious rumblings with hosting a mini spring tournament for players to take to part in. This is not anything new, really. With tournaments such as the Russia/CHL Series, various European tournaments, and of course, the WJC, it’s quite common. However, the emphasis would be placed even more so in this year’s event, given the fact that this is a short opportunity to prove that you deserve that coveted first-round selection.

Another option that is being tossed around is the date of the draft itself. Much like they did with last year’s draft (pushed back the date), it has been proposed that the draft be moved to next December or even January, to allow for further scouting time.

Finally, the third rumor that I have come across, and in my opinion would be crazy, is to essentially postpone this year’s draft until next June. At that time, the league would hold two separate drafts within the same week – one of the 02′ draft class and one for the 03′.

While I understand the concept and reasoning behind the idea, I personally feel that this may be a stretch.  But I am curious, and certainly willing to hear better reasoning to change my mind. What are your thoughts? If you feel inclined, leave a comment on how you feel about the draft. Do you prefer either option? Should they keep it status quo? Let me know!

To bring it back to the season at hand.

As mentioned, many teams have passed the 25% threshold. Given the timeframe, I believe this is a reasonable allotted time to go through some of this year’s “feel good” (prospect) stories. Each year we have them – last year, we had a Zamboni driver step in and earn an NHL victory, we saw Elvis Merzlikins steal the show and become the only topic for discussion for a quarter of a season and even saw Morgan Geekie produce four points in two games, finishing the season as the leagues All-Time points-per-game producer – yes, he had a full season to gloat about being a higher producer than the Great One.

Here are some of my personal Prospect feel-good stories through the 2020-21 campaign, thus far.

Ty Smith Means Business