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Thread: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

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    Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Ran across an interesting quote in the Denver Post from DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde:

    “In this new era of the CBA, when it doesn’t cost much to sign a free agent, we want guys drafted so we can work with the team that has their rights,” DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde told me. “If Tyler Bozak was drafted, which he should have been, he might have been playing another year at the University of Denver, instead of being lured by the highest bidder. NHL teams have been good to drafted college players. They let them develop. Lot of time in the weight room.”

    This theory runs a bit counter to some traditional wisdom that says drafted players are more likely to get the offers to jump to the pros in the first place. Of course, first round picks aren't expected to stay more than a year or two, and many undrafted players stay all four years and make serious contributions. Seems to me the number of true free agents getting NHL offers is pretty small...

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Quote Originally Posted by Puck Swami View Post
    Ran across an interesting quote in the Denver Post from DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde:

    “In this new era of the CBA, when it doesn’t cost much to sign a free agent, we want guys drafted so we can work with the team that has their rights,” DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde told me. “If Tyler Bozak was drafted, which he should have been, he might have been playing another year at the University of Denver, instead of being lured by the highest bidder. NHL teams have been good to drafted college players. They let them develop. Lot of time in the weight room.”

    This theory runs a bit counter to some traditional wisdom that says drafted players are more likely to get the offers to jump to the pros in the first place. Of course, first round picks aren't expected to stay more than a year or two, and many undrafted players stay all four years and make serious contributions. Seems to me the number of true free agents getting NHL offers is pretty small...
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Pretty simple. If a kid is undrafted, any of the 30 can make a suitable offer. If drafted, only 1 team's offer matters.

    30 bidders>1 bidder

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Interesting point of discussion, but one that will always be able to be argued both ways and general discussions will always have to defer to individual circumstances.

    The ultimate issue of when NHL teams come for a college player - drafted or not drafted - is when they think he's ready. This addresses the coach's preference for drafted players because the college coaches can be in contact with the NHL team. But, when the NHL team says they want the player, what influence will the college coach have? If the NHL team says they want the player and the coach (See, Red Berenson) thinks the player is not ready, most players seem to sign a contract. In many cases the college coach was right AND the player signs a contract AND the player's career proves the college coach right. None of this impacts the NHL team much; they keep drafting players and they keep signing free agents. They only need enough players to ice 1 NHL team.

    The next ultimate issue is when the player thinks he has the best bargaining position. This also addresses the coach's preference for drafted players because with undrafted players, the college coach will not have just one NHL team to deal with and may not be able to even know, let alone fight off, all the teams that are coming for the free agent player. One can only imagine the head-spinning attention Bozek and Purcell and others before him received prior to their graduation. Few seem able to resist it, regardless of their college coaches' input. For a drafted player, his best bargaining position is one year ahead of when the team that drafted him loses their right to deal with the player exclusively. In today's NHL financial environment, the team does not have to venture much to sign the player - a bonus of 10% of the NHL salary, which is capped - in order to see if they have a player or not. Again, who out of all the players they sign turns into an NHLer matters little to them so long as they have enough to ice 1 NHL team.

    Then you have the Kyle Okposo situation.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Nothing too complicated beyond NCAA Watcher's original comment. You'd rather have to deal with 1 team than to deal with 30.

    And certainly, its easier to assess a player's flight risk when they've been drafted. I don't see much of an issue with the initial comment. The thread title is a little misleading, though. By the time the NHL Draft comes along, most players that are potential draftees have already been recruited. The market for recruiting players already drafted has got to be pretty slim.

    But, to me, this does raise the interesting question about how much time you get from drafted players versus players that end up leaving early for free agent deals.

    Highly drafted players (first two rounds)... you sort of have to be happy with what you get. It'd be interesting to look at the actual numbers, but I would guess that you get an average of 1.5-2 seasons (tops) out of top two round draft picks.

    Meanwhile, I don't think you hear too often about players who get signed to free agent deals after their freshman years. More frequently, you see free agent deals for sophomores and juniors. Free agent seniors don't really count, since they're leaving anyway, but you could count the free agent two-way contracts as being the same as a drafted player who signs after their senior year. You have to figure that those guys average somewhere around 2.5-3 years of playing in college.

    Same can be said for mid to late round picks. 2.5-3 years or so for each of them. It'd be interesting to see the actual data on this, though.
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Of course, a college would prefer dealing with one NHL team vs 30 teams. That's in the college's best interest, and makes for common sense.

    The part of the quote that really interested me was that "we want drafted players" and extrapolating that intent into the decision process to go after a recruit (or not). If you have two equally talented recruits for the same position and only one scholarship to offer, and one player is drafted and the other isn't, do you take the drafted kid because he'll be with you longer or do you take the kid who isn't drafted because you think he'll be with you longer?

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    I'm probably guilty of looking at this from the perspective of a top-tier program that recruits several seasons ahead of itself, but how often are teams making decisions on recruits after they've been drafted?

    Maybe if you're filling the hole of a sudden departure or if you are a smaller program, I can see it happening more frequently, but it doesn't seem like an issue that would come up after recruits are drafted by the NHL.
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    mostly wishful thinking on the coaches part.

    consider:
    the NHL has a wider window for drafting in that you can be picked in the next year's draft if you are passed over when first coming of age.

    also many programs are going after younger kids, well before their draft time is near.

    and honestly - it is a 'late bloomer' type who wasn't considered worth a draft pick when he was 18 that starts playing in college as an older freshman that attracts attention and gets offers (yes, i have Matt Gilroy on the tip of my brain here) or other kids who sat a year in the ushl and developed late.

    seems a quirk in that other sports draft kids after they are done with college or state that they are declaring themselves eligible, while hockey drafts based on age regardless of situation. college teams can't very well wait until a kid is 18 to make an offer. they also want the best they can get their hands on, as do the professionals making draft picks.

    chalk it up to an "all things considered" petri dish.
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    I think you are almost 100% correct, Exile, the only draft NCAA recruiting might come after are the WHL and OHL drafts, and the OHL's draft is getting iffy.

    Can someone name a player that didn't choose his college until after being drafted in the NHL? I can't.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Quote Originally Posted by grantfan View Post
    Can someone name a player that didn't choose his college until after being drafted in the NHL? I can't.
    Bill Brasky?
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Quote Originally Posted by Puck Swami View Post
    Ran across an interesting quote in the Denver Post from DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde:

    “In this new era of the CBA, when it doesn’t cost much to sign a free agent, we want guys drafted so we can work with the team that has their rights,” DU assistant coach Derek Lalonde told me. “If Tyler Bozak was drafted, which he should have been, he might have been playing another year at the University of Denver, instead of being lured by the highest bidder. NHL teams have been good to drafted college players. They let them develop. Lot of time in the weight room.”

    This theory runs a bit counter to some traditional wisdom that says drafted players are more likely to get the offers to jump to the pros in the first place. Of course, first round picks aren't expected to stay more than a year or two, and many undrafted players stay all four years and make serious contributions. Seems to me the number of true free agents getting NHL offers is pretty small...
    Well I would agree in theory for sure.

    Whatever success Wisconsin has this season will be contributed a lot to the undrafted players on the roster because with the exception of the D-men, most of wisconsin forwards are all free agents (Davies, Street, Mitchell, Grotting, Bohmbach, Bendickson, Thurber, Dolan ) And past years (Gorowsky, Lacari Exc.) And those players progressed nicely and are key elements to a contending team. So I think it is smart to have a balance and a lot of it comes down to getting the right kids, Kids that will show dedication to the program and the desire to accomplish things for there school and for there team. That is something Wisconsin and Denver both have this year because of the players coming back and there reasons for coming back. I will highly doubt if Eaves goes the Turris Direction again anytime soon, specially if this team is successful.
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Quote Originally Posted by grantfan View Post
    Can someone name a player that didn't choose his college until after being drafted in the NHL? I can't.
    I get your point, but its not like it NEVER happens, its just not very common.
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Euro, you make a definitive statement that it's not like it NEVER happens. You can prove yourself entirely correct with just ONE name. I honestly can't think of or find one. Not that it couldn't happen, but ONE name will give us some context on that matter.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Here are two from Denver's current team:

    Patrick Weircioch was drafted by Ottawa before he committed to Denver (true, he had verbaled to Wisconsin prior to the draft, but broke his verbal to UW).

    Senior Brian Gifford was drafted in the third round out of Moorhead (Minn.)high school by Pittsburgh in June of 2004, and he committed to DU in September of 2004, after the draft. He then spent two junior seasons in the USHL before arriving on campus.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    RPI's Allen York was drafted in 2007 and committed to RPI in October of that year.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Point taken.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    I'm guessing the concern for undrafted players is based on what happened to Stu Bickel for MN (and I'm sure others). His freshman year, he showed he had the size for the NHL, but I would stay still needed to work on his skills. The potential was there. If he had been drafted, that team would likely have been fine to leave him in college for longer to develop. However, it was first come-first serve at the time. If any team waited, they risked another team taking him so it was better to let him develop in their system than wait and let another team grab him. So the problem isn't strictly 30 v 1, more appropriately it is the difference between competition among 30 teams v 1 who has his rights.
    Last edited by Koho; 08-05-2009 at 03:37 PM.

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Chris Hickey (drafted by Minnesota in '06) might be another example. I don't remember when he committed to UW.

    So there are more examples of this than I thought (and that's even when I discount Weircioch as being a different story). I still wonder how many drafted college players were drafted before they committed. Even if we name a dozen more, the percentage still has to be pretty low, don't you think?
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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    As I would not consider Wiecioch an example of what we're talking about at all and in light of the level of contributor that brought us Gifford and York - no less than Puck Swami and Ralph Baer, and I mean that sincerely - I don't think there are half-a-dozen more out there.

    But, as proven here, I can possibly be wr, wr, not right about that!

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    Re: Recruiting Drafted Players vs Free Agents

    Quote Originally Posted by grantfan View Post
    Point taken.
    I knew there were ones out there, but didn't have the time or inkling to find out who, but I knew other posters would bail me out. Though I'd agree Wiercioch doesn't count... it would have to be someone drafted before they committed to any college, regardless of if they ended up playing for them.

    Quote Originally Posted by ExileOnDaytonStreet View Post
    I still wonder how many drafted college players were drafted before they committed. Even if we name a dozen more, the percentage still has to be pretty low, don't you think?
    Nobody's saying the number isn't low... percentage wise, its gotta be tiny. I was just saying the number wasn't zero.
    tUMD is Jan Brady per Brenthoven. Whew.... thanks for clearing THAT up.

    Best USCHO quotes to date:

    "UND/DU will realize that their party sucks, because the easterners only want to drink Zima." - BPH

    "It is too bad that aaron marvin was a senior so he can't go after the rest of the sioux". - bigblue_dl

    "I would rather play the blackhawks than you right now." - dogs2012

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