Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tavares to push for 2008 draft

The agents for hockey phenom John Tavares still want their client declared eligible for next year’s NHL entry draft.

London’s Brian MacDonald, a former Colorado Avalanche assistant GM, said the Siskinds Sports Management (SSM) team will forge ahead despite the NHL declaring that the 16-year-old Oshawa Generals scoring star must wait until 2009 to be selected by a big league team.
Interesting news.

This is a tough one to weigh in on: On one hand, I can see why the NHL has these guidelines and why they want to avoid having 17-year-old players showing up for training camps in the fall. At some point, there have to be limits.

Still, if you're John Tavares, four years with the Generals is too long to spend dominating the competition. He might be only sixteen years old (!), but Tavares is already the best player in major junior hockey. He had 72 goals and 134 points in 67 OHL games last season, and did so with a pretty mediocre Oshawa team.

At the very least, Tavares should be eligible to play professional hockey somewhere when he finishes high school. It makes little sense that lesser players born in the first three-quarters of the year, Tavares's peers, can move onto the next level while he's trapped on small stage of the Canadian junior league.

My guess is he's looking forward to finally showcasing his world-class skills for a wide audience at the world juniors this December in the Czech Republic (not to mention the Canada-Russia series this summer).

The vast majority of the hockey world hasn't yet seen just what he's capable of.



At 9:34 a.m., July 17, 2007, Blogger Unknown said...

Must be rough to be caught between a rock and a soft place. Either he has to somehow convince the unflappable NHL governors that they should changes rules that weren't altered for the likes of Gretzky or Crosby, or he has to coast along, dominating the OHL.

He should wait. Not easy to dominate, I suppose. But he's still just a kid. He should appreciate his chance to spend time at home before he begins a career that should dominate the majority of his young life. It's a dream to move on to the NHL, but it'll come in its own time. And it's not like he'll be at risk of missing out on fortunes from missing one year, so financially it makes little difference if he jumps up or not. Patience, Tavares. Your day will come!

At 11:29 a.m., July 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel for him, but I see why the NHL has to draw a firm line. If they move the cutoff date to Sept. 20th for him, then someone will come along who was born Sept. 25th, and so on.

If I were Tavares, I'd be worried about getting seriously injured in that "extra" year of junior. Either accidentally, or because some meathead wants to see his name in all the newspapers.

At 12:32 p.m., July 17, 2007, Blogger Jeff J said...

This smacks of Lindros - a phenom playing for the Oshawa Generals suffers such a severe case of head swelling that he thinks he's bigger than the NHL rulebook.

At 1:29 p.m., July 17, 2007, Blogger sager said...

Exceptions have to be made for exceptional talents. C'est la vie.

It's ridiculous that Tavares, who's in the top .1% of the "class of 1990," won't be in the draft, while some mid-pack plugger who might never play in the NHL will be by a matter of five days.

The NHL could easily create an "admissions test" for any 17-year-old looking to enter the draft -- have an independent panel that would look at the scouting reports, the player's makeup, and maybe do a personal interview to get a read on how emotionally prepared he is for the pros.

At 2:54 p.m., July 17, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is playing in Europe an option?

At 3:15 p.m., July 17, 2007, Blogger Joe said...

I agree, the big concern here is not "Woe is Tavares, he has to dominate a league for another year". The issue is injury or accident. Shit happens, we all know that. Tavares is lined up to be the #1 overall pick next year, should he be eligible. What if he has to play an extra year of junior hockey, and some Chris Simon-esque dumbass levels the lumber on him? Or if he has an accidental knee-to-knee collision? Even if it doesn't end his career or something, it can seriously mess up his draft status and cost him lots and lots of money down the road.

I think he's going to have a hard time winning the battle, when the NFL and NBA have both been able to create rules regarding when players may enter their leagues, that have withstood legal challenges. I think his only shot is to push the eligibility date back to January 1.

At 8:06 p.m., July 17, 2007, Blogger sager said...

Europe would be an option... 17-year-olds play in their domestic league quite often in both hockey and basketball.

Does anyone know the deal with AHL teams being able to sign players to a contract independent of the NHL? Some operators have it in their affiliation agreements they can have a couple players who don't belong to the NHL team.

It's germane since when Lindros was refusing to play in the Soo in 1989, his parents and agent asked a couple NHL teams about signing him to an AHL contract and then calling him up.

Obviously, that was 20 years ago and there's a different CBA these rules. I'm just wondering if there's a means where an AHL owner such as as Don Levin of the Chicago Wolves could put Tavares under contract in 2008-09 -- when the crosstown Blackhawks will likely be building their promotion around Patrick Kane.


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