Twenty, not Fifteen

This is the time of year in the hockey world when young players and parents get really worked up. With the major junior drafts approaching as well as the USHL Futures draft and even the NHL draft, everyone gets overheated about when and where they will be selected. It is a very exciting time but also a time when people put way too much stock in the selection process. Many players and families become very disappointed when they are not selected as high as they thought they would be and it really is a shame.
When we talk and advise young players and families, we try to stress that although the bulk of the selection process begins at age fifteen, their future success will depend on how they develop up to the age of twenty, not fifteen.   So much growth can take place in those years and it is the complete exception that a player is ready to play professionally at age eighteen.
To make my point, take a look at this list of over 100 players who have signed professional contracts coming out of college this season alone, many of whom were undrafted to junior or the NHL. These players simply developed and grew as players over time.
http://www.collegehockeyinc.com/view/ncaa/in-the-nhl/pro-signings 
It is the same in the NHL. There are so many good players that just weren’t that high a prospect at age seventeen or eighteen.
When the Detroit Red Wings were scouting Tomas Holmstrom, they liked his fire and his aggressiveness around the net. No one else noticed him because he was so small that he got knocked around a lot. He was 165 pounds at the time. They drafted him anyway and when he returned in the winter he weighed in at 210 pounds. They talked to his coach and the coach said he’d planned to cut him, until he showed up at training camp so much bigger.

“A lot of things come down to genetics and you might be a late bloomer or grow a little bit later — it all comes down to the commitment of that player,” said Hockey Manitoba executive director Peter Woods. “Sometimes kids get labels, as an A1 or a AA player or whatever it may be. Players can interpret that in a number of ways. The kid that is maybe not playing at the elite level right now needs to enjoy what he’s getting out of the game and those opportunities might come along down the road. Jarome Iginla wasn’t taken in the bantam draft and it worked out pretty well for him.
“You have to use some of those examples as motivation.”

Check out this list of NHL players and how late they were drafted and remember, come draft time, keep everything in perspective and focus on age twenty, not fifteen…..

Player
Pick
Year
Drafted By
Jaroslav Halak
271st
2003
Montreal
Mark Streit
262nd
2004
Montreal
Pekka Rinne
258th
2004
Nashville
Dustin Byfuglien
245th
2003
Chicago
Dan McGillis
238th
1992
Detroit
Pavol Demitra
227th
1993
Ottawa
Vladimir Konstantinov
221st
1989
Detroit
Anson Carter
220th
1992
Quebec
Johan Hedberg
218th
1994
Philadelphia
Cristobal Huet
214th
2001
Los Angeles
Dave Taylor
210th
1975
Los Angeles
Dominik Hasek
207th
1983
Chicago
Henrik Lundqvist
205th
2000
New York Rangers
Joe Pavelski
205th
2003
San Jose
Sergei Kostitsyn
200th
2005
Montreal
Arturs Irbe
196th
1989
Minnesota
Brooks Laich
193rd
2001
Ottawa
Vladimir Malakhov
191st
1989
NY Islanders
Matt D’Agostini
190th
2005
Montreal
Ryane Clowe
175th
2001
San Jose
Trevor Letowski
174th
1996
Phoenix
Luc Robitaille
171st
1984
Los Angeles
Roman Cechmanek
171st
2000
Philadelphia
Theoren Fleury
166th
1987
Calgary
John-Michael Liles
159th
2000
Colorado
Peter Bondra
156th
1990
Washington
Doug Gilmour
134th
1982
St. Louis
Kris Versteeg
134th
2004
Boston
Kyle Wellwood
134th
2001
Toronto
Daniel Alfredsson
133rd
1994
Ottawa
Steve Larmer
120th
1980
Chicago
Brett Hull
117th
1984
Calgary
Johan Franzen
97th
2004
Detroit
Valtteri Filppula
95th
2002
Detroit
Jonathan Quick
72nd
2005
Los Angeles
Cal Clutterbuck
72nd
2006
Minnesota
Steve Mason
69th
2006
Columbus
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