Saturday, July 16, 2005

Draft Age Raised

With all the details coming out about the new CBA, this bit from TSN.
The entry-level system will limit those players to $850,000 a year in salary (which it was 10 years ago) with bonuses not as easily reachable as the previous deal. The maximum possible amount in bonuses is $4.5 million although it's unrealistic for almost anyone to reach all the lofty targets. The age for draft eligibility will also be raised from 18 years to 19 years.
This won't affect the 2005 draft on July 30th, so Sidney Crosby will still be drafted. I supported the raising of the draft age in the NBA because now kids will have to go to college, to experience what this is like, and it might make them change their mind about going to the NBA at the first available opportunity. But with the NHL, this does not make any sense. First, there have only been a couple players from the United States who went straight from high school to the NHL. In Canada, this will not make kids go to college; instead they will spend a year playing junior hockey and will then be draft eligible. Second, the NHL has a good minor league system. In the NBA, players have very few choices if they opt into the draft at age 18 and then don't have the tools to hang with the big boys. In the NHL, 18 year olds can mature in the minor leagues.

The 2006 draft is going to be weak. Remember, most of the very good players taken in the first couple rounds of the NHL draft that are from Canada are young.