Thursday, August 09, 2007

Central Registry shows no signs of a weak draft

2007 was considered a weak draft year, but you'd never know it by the contracts getting signed this summer. Zach Hamill is the latest to put pen to paper.

It used to be that unless a prospect was going to make the jump to the NHL immediately, his team would wait until their rights were going to expire before offering a contract. That thinking seems to be changing as it's doubtful any of this year's top picks will stick. Expect to see them returned to junior.

From the 2007 Entry Draft, 5 of the top 10 picks have signed with their teams. Of those left, only Van Riemsdyk and Turris are college eligible. Compare that to 2006 where only 3 of the top 10 signed immediately, though it should be noted that Johnson, Toews and Okposo chose to play in the NCAA last season.

Here's a recap:
    2007 Entry Draft

  1. CHI PATRICK KANE signed 7/25/07
  3. PHX KYLE TURRIS unsigned
  4. LAK THOMAS HICKEY signed 7/17/07
  5. WSH KARL ALZNER unsigned
  6. EDM SAM GAGNER unsigned
  7. CBJ JAKUB VORACEK signed 8/3/07
  8. BOS ZACH HAMILL signed 8/8/07
  9. SAN LOGAN COUTURE signed 7/19/07
  10. FLA KEATON ELLERBY unsigned
    2006 Entry Draft

  1. STL ERIK JOHNSON signed 4/19/07
  2. PIT JORDAN STAAL signed 10/2/06
  3. CHI JONATHAN TOEWS signed 5/16/07
  4. WSH NICKLAS BACKSTROM signed 5/16/07
  5. BOS PHIL KESSEL signed 8/17/06
  6. CBJ DERICK BRASSARD signed 9/21/06
  7. NYI KYLE OKPOSO unsigned (committed to Univ. of Minnesota for 07-08)
  8. PHX PETER MUELLER signed 7/12/07
  9. MIN JAMES SHEPPARD unsigned
  10. FLA MICHAEL FROLIK unsigned
I haven't quite put my finger on the change in strategy, but it's likely an after effect of the new CBA. It's interesting to note that the contracts of players returned to the CHL do not count against the Reserve List limit of 50 SPCs.

Update: Sens sign their first rounder (29th overall), Jim O'Brien. He will be leaving college to play for the WHL's Seattle Thunderbirds.

Update: As a wise man just told me, entry level contracts have eliminated the cat and mouse game. Holding out likely won't increase the player's payday nor save the team much money. Aaaah, I get it. So simple.



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