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View Full Version : UNH vs Maine , 12/4 & 12/5 - "The Wheels On The House Go 'Round And 'Round...."



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Darius
01-02-2016, 08:21 AM
Smith, Bekar and others you mentioned had/have long pro careers and had their shots at the NHL. I don't think it's fair to say their careers are failures because they didn't end up as long time regulars in the NHL.They made a good chunk of change doing what they love while positioning themselves for post playing career positions as coaches or scouts.


Poturalski... could also add strength and improve defensively at the next level - which might be even more appealing still, when accompanied by a half-million dollar offer... Might? :) If there's been any signing bonus inflation since the days of the aforementioned players, $500K is Pot's floor.


What could he possibly gain playing two more years at UNH? He'll just be delaying and shortening his professional career and stunting his development. He's absolutely dominating offensively this year - in a way I don't think we've seen since, and maybe even more so, than Haydar - what would be the point of skating the same circles around kids two years from now?and risking his signing bonus and salary due to potential injury.


I wouldn't be at all shocked if he left this year. If he sees a good opportunity in front of him, how could you not advise him to go for it. As you said, he's a free agent so he'll have teams fighting over his services very soon - he's going to get a good opportunity. In my opinion, its less about when he leaves and more about what he does with his opportunity when he gets it...$$$ ca-ching $$$

Pleasant mild surprise if Pots is skating in Durham next year. Shocking if he is skates for the 'cats as a Senior.

Chuck Murray
01-02-2016, 10:17 AM
Good discussion, wrong thread (my fault I suppose :o ) ... but while we're here and on topic, let me just add that my point continues to be that leaving early offers no guarantee of bettering your prospects. Who's to say a guy like Winnik doesn't still find his NHL niche as a grunt forward (BTW classifying his NHL career to date as "great" is a little generous, no?), or the same happens with Muir (sans Cup)?

The idea that it also gives them a leg up on future coaching (Souza/Ciocco) or scouting (Mowers) jobs belies the examples I've outlined here from guys who played all 4 seasons and got their degrees.

And if we're going to go down the "get the dough before a career threatening injury strikes" road, then he needs look no further than TvR, who seems to have survived a nasty injury to his wheels, and that's worked out OK.

Would things have turned out differently for Bekar and/or Smith if they'd stayed? Likewise, who knows. I was more puzzled by Smith on a talent level, and maybe he was given an offer he couldn't refuse? Don't recall those details. Bekar looked (to me anyway) like he was the perfect blend of skill, speed and strength (if not size), and the idea that *somehow* UNH linemate Krog's NHL career surpassed his still surprises me. But Bekar HAD to know he was walking away from a legitimate shot at a D-1 title, which probably made his decision different than the ones faced by Winnik, Smith and most of the others.

As a player, Poturalski reminds me most of Krog (he's bigger than Haydar, and he bears zero similarity to Bekar, Winnik, Smith or JvR) and the last time I checked, Krog unquestionably had a better NHL career than two of the four guys who left early, mentioned earlier in this sentence. He also won a Hobey, and captained a UNH team that advanced to the D-1 Finals, which is something the other two guys can't ever look back on.

Am I biased here? Sure - I've always said my favorite players are the ones who stay four years. But commitment is a two way street, and when I see a kid honor and respect their four year commitment in a way that doesn't make them look like a mercenary, then I am 100% behind them now and forever into the future.

Here's to hoping UNH does something to honor Krog, Haydar, Souza (by then a first year HC), Conklin, O'Brien, Enders, Shipulski, White, Sadowski, Bragnalo, Rogers & Co. in 2019 on the 20th anniversary of the greatest single season in the history of the UNH program. :) :) :) :)

HockeyRef
01-02-2016, 10:31 AM
Chuck it's highly admirable when a player finishes what they started there is no doubt about that! And it's selfish of us fans who want to keep them as well. Unfortunately once guys like Pots go to a few dev camps in the summer play in a big game like the one in Buffalo in front of 6k fans (where he scored and teammate Eichel didn't) I'd say loyalty goes right out the window. As Darius points out $$ is a big lure and you can bet if he continues in the way he has it's only a matter of time! And somehow I doubt seriously (with all due respect to your opinion) players today take a look at those who went before them and consider that in their decision making..they are just too self centered I'm sorry being a teacher I see it. Should they? Probably but the right here,right now $$ just trumps everything else. We will be lucky to get another year with him in the program...

Anyhoo I remember Johnny Hockey's mom wanted him to finish his Sr year at BC and we all know how that went. I do believe he did finish his degree? And I hope they do something for those guys you mention that would be very special indeed!!

Chuck Murray
01-02-2016, 02:47 PM
Free agent money and developmental camps aren't anything new.

I just think all these players ever seem to hear is how they should chase the quick money. Agents (oops - er - *advisors*), friends, and sometimes even well-meaning family members ... it's all just too cynical for me.

It kills me that we're virtually at the midway point of this kid's sophomore season, and so many are just resigned to the idea that he's leaving in 3 months (or 15 months tops).

I do realize I've got some fossilized ideas at times, and this one is probably top of that list. :o

HockeyRef
01-02-2016, 02:59 PM
Free agent money and developmental camps aren't anything new.

I just think all these players ever seem to hear is how they should chase the quick money. Agents (oops - er - *advisors*), friends, and sometimes even well-meaning family members ... it's all just too cynical for me.

It kills me that we're virtually at the midway point of this kid's sophomore season, and so many are just resigned to the idea that he's leaving in 3 months (or 15 months tops).

I do realize I've got some fossilized ideas at times, and this one is probably top of that list. :o

Well seeing the track record of recent departures for me it's just a "softening of the blow"' kind of thing. When I read TvR was leaving for the BHawks I almost needed oxygen haha. When Pesce left it wasn't so bad. So if Pots (or whomever)!moves on well you just kind of expect it? Not sure so much resigned as it's the way of it these days. What Maine would do if Hutton and Shore were there this season!! (Sorry not sorry 😉 and I believe both are doing very well)

Still it's always hard the first few games making the adjustment and you do wish they'd stay....sigh.

walrus
01-03-2016, 07:14 AM
Free agent money and developmental camps aren't anything new.

I just think all these players ever seem to hear is how they should chase the quick money. Agents (oops - er - *advisors*), friends, and sometimes even well-meaning family members ... it's all just too cynical for me.

It kills me that we're virtually at the midway point of this kid's sophomore season, and so many are just resigned to the idea that he's leaving in 3 months (or 15 months tops).

I do realize I've got some fossilized ideas at times, and this one is probably top of that list. :o

An athlete has a shelf life, he only lasts so long before it's over. If the kid has talent he is going to generate some interest. Dreams of playing pro hockey, money beyond your wildest dreams and the signature is on the line. Can't blame them.

bomberhockey
01-03-2016, 10:30 AM
I'm still on record saying Coach Umile somehow finds his way to another extension (however brief it may be). :D
Souza's the next HC, no ands ifs or buts about it. Do think he would left a better paying job, where he only had upside to come here fore the same position? It's a done deal, and DU got an extension because of it in writing! And that's what changed over the previous agreement, WRITING!

NCAA watcher
01-03-2016, 10:49 AM
Bomber, to clarify, you mean specifying his successor was now in wriring. I am sure DU had a written contract -- every university employee has, particularly the highest paid employee who was owed significant deferred salary and bonuses. I would guess the new writing was something to terminate the automatic extensions (who know how DU convinced Ray to draft that -- perpetual extensions until death? until 70? Until 75?). I bet the trade off was "I'll let you get me out at age 68 if you let me pick my successor."

Chuck Murray
01-03-2016, 02:44 PM
An athlete has a shelf life, he only lasts so long before it's over. If the kid has talent he is going to generate some interest. Dreams of playing pro hockey, money beyond your wildest dreams and the signature is on the line. Can't blame them.

I totally understand that. And I also totally understand the D-1 schools are complicit in creating an alternate route for the large number of undrafted players - not to mention a pretty large pool of drafted players as well.

An undrafted player who opts for the D-1 route has already had to deal with rejection by definition, and there is a huge difference between someone who is either projected (Eichel) or actually comes in (JvR) as a #2 overall draft pick, and an undrafted player who is simply hoping to prolong the dream.

To my perception, the idea that leaving school whenever money is on the table is too often unchallenged. Advisors/agents want a piece of the pie (or at least to add a "success story" to their CV), while friends and even some family members want to live vicariously through the player. I would personally advocate that any time a kid is considering leaving school early to sign a pro deal, he should be forced to watch the movie Slapshot daily for a week, without the hockey scenes. Just let the *glamor* that is the reality of minor league hockey wash over you, because whether you're in the AHL, the ECHL or (gulp) lower than that, it's all a matter of degree, and the shrinking size of your per diem every time you get bumped down another level.

And the idea of getting close to your revolving door of teammates (have you really ever looked at an ECHL "roster"?) is a really bad joke. Your Greenville Swamp Rabbits (!) have already had 35 players - including 5 goalies - on their "roster" this season, which will be hitting the midway mark of the season in two weeks' time. Minor league hockey bears zero resemblance to minor league baseball, where each organization has a multi-layered developmental system. The day you hit the ECHL, the clock is ticking. And unless you are one of the privileged few, you WILL have to deal with minor league hockey, its long bus rides, cheap motels etc. as part of the so-called "dream".

Look at the case of Derek Bekar (and my apologies to him for continuing to roll out his example) ... the last D-1 game he ever played was in front of 18,000 people and national television (ESPN) in the '98 Frozen Four semis, when he was probably the best player on the ice for UNH in their 4-0 loss to eventual champs Michigan. As an 8th round choice of the Blues, he opted to leave, and I'm not sure he ever got to play a game even remotely approaching that level of importance ever again in his pro career, which not only consisted of 11 scoreless NHL games over parts of 3 seasons with 3 different teams, but also featured 7 seasons of riding buses all across North America without even a sniff of the fun end of the Calder Cup playoffs. And sadly, that's the way the "dream" ends for most of these kids. We'll never know if things would have changed - be it his D-1 career OR his pro career - had he decided to wait another season before turning pro.

In the end, it has to depend on how much money, and what your realistic prospects might be in the organization you are contemplating. Signing early just for the sake of a money grab due to a perceived closing window ... well, using that logic, why did you bother to go D-1 in the first place anyway, when you arguably could have been cashing paychecks in Wichita or Utica or Destin or Anchorage for years already?

P.S. - how ironic is it that the proverbial SMT character in Slapshot is a former UNH Hockey standout? :D

Chuck Murray
01-03-2016, 04:33 PM
I would guess the new writing was something to terminate the automatic extensions (who know how DU convinced Ray to draft that -- perpetual extensions until death? until 70? Until 75?). I bet the trade off was "I'll let you get me out at age 68 if you let me pick my successor."

I'll double down on that bet with you, 'Watcher. It's the only scenario that even begins to make sense.

Dan
01-03-2016, 09:32 PM
I totally understand that. And I also totally understand the D-1 schools are complicit in creating an alternate route for the large number of undrafted players - not to mention a pretty large pool of drafted players as well.

An undrafted player who opts for the D-1 route has already had to deal with rejection by definition, and there is a huge difference between someone who is either projected (Eichel) or actually comes in (JvR) as a #2 overall draft pick, and an undrafted player who is simply hoping to prolong the dream.

To my perception, the idea that leaving school whenever money is on the table is too often unchallenged. Advisors/agents want a piece of the pie (or at least to add a "success story" to their CV), while friends and even some family members want to live vicariously through the player. I would personally advocate that any time a kid is considering leaving school early to sign a pro deal, he should be forced to watch the movie Slapshot daily for a week, without the hockey scenes. Just let the *glamor* that is the reality of minor league hockey wash over you, because whether you're in the AHL, the ECHL or (gulp) lower than that, it's all a matter of degree, and the shrinking size of your per diem every time you get bumped down another level.

And the idea of getting close to your revolving door of teammates (have you really ever looked at an ECHL "roster"?) is a really bad joke. Your Greenville Swamp Rabbits (!) have already had 35 players - including 5 goalies - on their "roster" this season, which will be hitting the midway mark of the season in two weeks' time. Minor league hockey bears zero resemblance to minor league baseball, where each organization has a multi-layered developmental system. The day you hit the ECHL, the clock is ticking. And unless you are one of the privileged few, you WILL have to deal with minor league hockey, its long bus rides, cheap motels etc. as part of the so-called "dream".

Look at the case of Derek Bekar (and my apologies to him for continuing to roll out his example) ... the last D-1 game he ever played was in front of 18,000 people and national television (ESPN) in the '98 Frozen Four semis, when he was probably the best player on the ice for UNH in their 4-0 loss to eventual champs Michigan. As an 8th round choice of the Blues, he opted to leave, and I'm not sure he ever got to play a game even remotely approaching that level of importance ever again in his pro career, which not only consisted of 11 scoreless NHL games over parts of 3 seasons with 3 different teams, but also featured 7 seasons of riding buses all across North America without even a sniff of the fun end of the Calder Cup playoffs. And sadly, that's the way the "dream" ends for most of these kids. We'll never know if things would have changed - be it his D-1 career OR his pro career - had he decided to wait another season before turning pro.

In the end, it has to depend on how much money, and what your realistic prospects might be in the organization you are contemplating. Signing early just for the sake of a money grab due to a perceived closing window ... well, using that logic, why did you bother to go D-1 in the first place anyway, when you arguably could have been cashing paychecks in Wichita or Utica or Destin or Anchorage for years already?


Well that's the pessimists view - but it is hardly reality, especially for players with the talent and ability to get NHL free-agent contracts. You're labeling the NHL prospect with the low-minor league journeyman experience.

Sure, the ECHL is hardly a long-term career path, with players earning around $500 per week, plus housing and food per diem. That's why a player who can't skate and stayed in college for five seasons, like Justin Agosta, or limited players, like Matt Willows and Jeff Silengo, skate in the ECHL.

Prospects who leave early are signing NHL deals, including Brett Pesce who signed a 3-year 2.2 million dollar contract. While, Pesce has jumped straight to the NHL his deal also stipulated a $70,000 AHL salary. Kessel signed for 1.9 million over two-years and his deal probably included a similar AHL salary. The minimum AHL salary is essentially $50,000 and Garrett Stafford and Trevor Smith both earned $300,000 while skating shifts in the AHL. If you're dreaming of a professional hockey career and a shot at the NHL, making $70,000 (or much more than the typical entry-level of the average UNH graduate) playing for a team who thinks your best chance to be an NHLer is right now, doesn't sound too bad...

When a guy like Kessel exhausts his entry-level deal and taken his shot and missed at the NHL - he packs it up and goes to Europe where the average salary in Finland (he's playing for SM Liga) is over $100,000.

As of 2008, the average European League Salaries according to a THN article were:

Russia - $400K
Sweden - $200K
Switzerland - $170K
Germany - $150K
Finland - $100K
Czech Republic - $100K
Slovakia - $75K

Lets assume Derek Bekar made average salaries his whole career, which included eight seasons in the AHL ($400K), one year in Switzerland ($170K) and two seasons in Germany ($300K). That makes for career earnings of $870K, before even considering his initial signing bonus, any other signing bonuses, a year in the Netherlands, 11 games of NHL salary and any number of NHL healthy scratches. Not a bad career pre-35 years old. Eric Nickulas, who played over 100 NHL games, made out even better. Daniel Winnik, professional grinder, has played 11 years in the NHL and is in his first year of a 2-year 4.5 Million dollar deal...

Nearly every player who has left UNH early, has enjoyed a solid career in the NHL, AHL or Europe (Jeff Levy being the exception). They took what they thought was their best shot to get to the NHL, and while some made it and some didn't I don't think its fair to look at those players making significant money or at least equivalent to 'real job' money as failures who made a mistake leaving early. Its easy to look back at the end of their careers and ask whether Bekar would trade one of his years in the AHL for the 1998-99 title or if Winnik would have rather stayed one more season at UNH and jumped STRAIGHT to the NHL, but that's complete hindsight and not realistic...

Why did Danny Tirone leave the USHL a year early? We could look back on that choice now and wonder what would happen if he could have stayed - would he be much sharper and more consistent this season? The problem is, he went to the USHL to develop his game for college - so when he got the opportunity to jump at it, he did. The NCAA is still a developmental league for a lot of these guys and their pro ambitions.

Poturalski is 22 this month - he only has a few more years to convince NHL GM's that he can be a top-six forward at the highest level. Unfortunately, for UNH that mean's moving on when you have very little to prove at the NCAA level. Unfortunately for UNH, that means one more season at most. He may have to settle for his NHL signing bonus and an extended career making six-figures to play hockey and site-see around Europe, because the NHL is a HARD league to make. Poor guy...

Dan
01-03-2016, 09:41 PM
I always laugh at the bus and flea-bag motel arguments too - as if they're taking school buses and staying at Tom's Run Down Motel. Traveling on coach buses with TV's, the Internet and their own two-seats to pass out in (and flying when distance dictates), while staying at Hampton Inn's and Tindering their way across North America to chase their dreams is hardly the end of the world. How do you think their traveling in college or junior, anyway...??

bomberhockey
01-04-2016, 07:40 AM
Bomber, to clarify, you mean specifying his successor was now in wriring. I am sure DU had a written contract -- every university employee has, particularly the highest paid employee who was owed significant deferred salary and bonuses. I would guess the new writing was something to terminate the automatic extensions (who know how DU convinced Ray to draft that -- perpetual extensions until death? until 70? Until 75?). I bet the trade off was "I'll let you get me out at age 68 if you let me pick my successor."
Pretty sure his contracts were in 5 year increments. Didn't get this 3 year until Souza was signed on the dotted line. Marty was stalling on the extension until this plan went into place. Marty had abandoned the Borek/ Stewie plan threatened national search. Now everyone is happy! If DU really loved his alma mater he would have stepped down 5-7 years ago when he retired. Too bad his legacy will be tarnished for Money!

Chuck Murray
01-04-2016, 07:59 AM
I always laugh at the bus and flea-bag motel arguments too - as if they're taking school buses and staying at Tom's Run Down Motel. Traveling on coach buses with TV's, the Internet and their own two-seats to pass out in (and flying when distance dictates), while staying at Hampton Inn's and Tindering their way across North America to chase their dreams is hardly the end of the world. How do you think their traveling in college or junior, anyway...??

True story, for what it's worth ... I spent a lot of time on business down in Providence last winter, and actually stayed at a Hampton Inn location in downtown, right across the river from the courthouse. Hardly four star lodgings, but more than adequate for the assignment. Anyway, one morning on the way out, I ran into a bunch of college kids at the breakfast buffet, and it turned out they were with a D-3 hockey team in town to play against Johnson & Wales (IIRC?) that coming weekend. Nice bunch, no airs, seemingly very appreciative of the chance to keep playing at that modest level.

Anyway ... a couple of the guys mentioned in passing that one of them knew a kid who was skating with an AHL team that was in town to play against the Providence B's. They were amused that while they (the D-3 kids) were staying in a pretty decent place in town for the full weekend, the AHL team was spending the night at a Motel 6 down in Warwick. Cursory research put that facility at two stars and roughly 1/3 the price of where the D-3 kids were staying.

I'm not saying that's a universal scenario applicable across the board, but it's not the first time I've heard the comparison result in that outcome, either. And that was a no frills, D-3 state school program, mind you.

And if you're saying Bekar took $50,000 (and a cursory signing bonus befitting an 8th round pick almost 20 years ago now) to bypass his senior year, rather than defer those "riches" a year to finish up his UNH commitment, and a pretty good shot at playing on most of those same big stages one more time ... I dunno, but the kid wouldn't be human if the thought of how sticking around an extra year might have changed his pro career for the better hadn't at least crossed his mind at some point. And you really can't argue it didn't turn out better for classmate/linemate Krog, who probably also had FA offers after his junior year, but opted to return.

The discussion as to the average salaries in the minors, and especially in Europe ... isn't that just really a rationalization of the situations those players eventually find themselves in? I'm guessing exactly zero (0) of the players we've been discussing were ever really thinking about the wonders of extending their pro careers in low level Euro leagues when their time in the AHL/ECHL was up.

Another FWIW ... Bekar (like Krog) eventually finished his business degree at UNH, and has done well in the real world with it once the hockey dream was over. Kudos to him. And ironically, the one UNH player who probably benefited from his decision to leave early was the guy who took his place on what might have been the mind-bending line of Bekar/Krog/Haydar :eek: :eek: :eek:. That player was a 3rd round NHL pick, and unlike Bekar, he decided to stay for his fourth season at UNH, finishing up as a captain in 1999/2000 before he went off to chase the dream. His playing career track went from AHL to ECHL to Europe (mid-level to low level). Once he retired from playing, he began the slow climb back up the ladder on the coaching front. Most of you probably already know his name ... Mike Souza.

A guy like Souza can certainly share his insights with a guy like Poturalski, using not only his own experiences, but perhaps reflecting on the professional fates of his former UNH teammates Krog and Bekar when they faced the same decisions Poturalski may be facing in the next year or two. We can only hope UNH manages to rise to the level of serious title contenders later this season and looking ahead to next season, to at least offer a more compelling case for AP to stay. JMHO.

Snively65
01-04-2016, 09:37 AM
Great recent stuff on this thread on bolting early for the pro circuit, which probably deserves more longevity on the season thread, like Chuck moving his response to Bomber's take on Umile's contract this morning.

UNH1932
01-04-2016, 11:45 AM
Chuck

Krog did not leave early as he graduated on time after his senior year. Many of the students have completed their degrees in summer school (at least those who completed their junior year) over a year or two after graduation. It seems very prudent for many players to further their careers in Europe as many have luxuries not offered to ECHL or AHL players and tax treaties reduce their costs dramatically. They do not fight and they play about 30-40 games per year similar to college schedules. If you are not in the NHL or have a great chance of making it, Europe is a very sound strategy. On a separate note, Trevor Van Riemsdyk was an all-american hockey player at UNH in his sophomore year. I do not think he needed his brother's coattails to make the NHL. He earned it on his own merit. I hope his younger brother is an all-american as well as that will be great for our program.

The VT game was very one-sided and UNH worked very hard to tie it up. We just got tied in our own end for 75+% of the game and it continued into OT and final goal was one Ken Dryden would not be able to stop.

Thanks for all of your insights as it keeps it interesting.

Snively65
01-04-2016, 01:00 PM
Chuck

Krog did not leave early as he graduated on time after his senior year. Many of the students have completed their degrees in summer school (at least those who completed their junior year) over a year or two after graduation. It seems very prudent for many players to further their careers in Europe as many have luxuries not offered to ECHL or AHL players and tax treaties reduce their costs dramatically. They do not fight and they play about 30-40 games per year similar to college schedules. If you are not in the NHL or have a great chance of making it, Europe is a very sound strategy. On a separate note, Trevor Van Riemsdyk was an all-american hockey player at UNH in his sophomore year. I do not think he needed his brother's coattails to make the NHL. He earned it on his own merit. I hope his younger brother is an all-american as well as that will be great for our program.

The VT game was very one-sided and UNH worked very hard to tie it up. We just got tied in our own end for 75+% of the game and it continued into OT and final goal was one Ken Dryden would not be able to stop.

Thanks for all of your insights as it keeps it interesting.

Chuck was contrasting the 3-yr player Bekar with the 4-year player Krog, whom he notes fared better in his pro career, but I think that it is only conjecture that the extra year made a difference in their pro careers.

I agree that there is excellent stuff being posted on this thread, but still wondering whether our season thread would be a better venue? Pretty amazing game thread, for sure, but we have certainly strayed from our initial common concerns with the Maine-iacs.