Thursday, July 07, 2005


NHL: A new type of Quality?

With the recent big-money offers to young stars like Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and the like, many pundits believe that the NHL could have a major problem attracting some of the best young talent since the new CBA may not allow NHL teams to outbid European teams for star prospects.

There is also the belief, which I share, that many mid-tier European NHLers will prefer to stay at home or elsewhere in Europe and make good wages instead of coming to, or staying in, the NHL where the schedule and travel and the being-away-from-family makes life in North America less desirable.

From Steve Ovadia at Puck Update,

The superstars will stay in the NHL because that's where the money is. But a lot of solid players like (Karel) Rachunek will opt to play in Europe, either because the money is better, or because they can make comparable money without having to cross the Atlantic.
I'm just not sure an average European player will find it worthwhile to uproot his life to make average money playing in a league less and less people care about, playing an oppressively defensive style of play.

Sure, some players will want to come over to compete, and sure there are plenty of great North American players, but the NHL will no longer be the international talent pool in once was. Teams will no longer have the luxury of choosing players from among the best in the world.

And don't forget the older players who make too much money for the new NHL. If they can make comparable (or more) money to play close to home, don't you think they'll bail on the NHL, too?

It all just points to how much damage the lockout really did to the sport. Stuff that reduced ticket prices and overtime shootouts just can't fix.
A league is only as good as its players. The NHL is about to take a big hit in the player quality department

Now, I do have a little bone to pick about the 'quality' of the NHL. I propose/suggest/feel/whatever that the quality of the NHL will simply be 'different' and not 'lesser'


How about guys like Peter Ratchuk and Lonny Bohonos??

If solid players like Karel Rachunek stay home in Europe, there will be a need for talented players, of which there are many of the North American variety playing in Europe. As much as Ratchuk makes a good living in relatively easier conditions playing in the German league, do you think he'd pass up the chance to move back home in playing in the NHL? I don't think Ratchuk ever dreamed of playing for the Frankfurt Lions when he was playing streetball in Buffalo.

For every Rachunek that would want to go back, there would be a Peter Ratchuk waiting to come back. I doubt the quality of players in the NHL would decrease severly, but would suggest that the NHL would become a lot more North American flavoured than in the past 10 seasons.

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