Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hostage Taking CHL Style

Strange how a 16 year old kid can hold a team hostage and force a trade before he has even played a game in a CHL league. Remember back when NCAA fans were making a stink over prospects like JT Miller backing out of their letters of intent?

It is a sad kind of funny as CHL prospects are using the threat of playing in the USHL and NCAA to force their way off teams they do not want to play for. Ah Hockey we love the hypocrisy that rules their world.

Max Domi, the 16 year old son of former NHLer Tie Domi is about to get his wish and see his rights traded from the Kingston Frontenacs to the London Knights on Tuesday morning. Domi has been using the threat of playing in the USHL then the NCAA to force this deal and is getting his wish to be trades to where he wants to play.

Remember back when NCAA fans were upset that prospects were backing out of letters of intent to play in the CHL? This is the CHL version of hostage taking to get what they want because the OHL or the other 2 CHL leagues do not want to lose "talented" prospects to the USA system.

It is also a sad state of affairs when you read how little uproar at these kinds of tactics as our friend Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net pointed out:

The reality there was never a doubt speaks to how Ontario Hockey League followers have become used to the whole exercise. It happens because the rules let it happen, since the OHL knows it's probably better off to bend a little for a few players and advisers each year than risk losing anyone to Junior A or the USHL.
How this works is Max Domi who was selected 8th by the Kingston Frontenacs during the 2011 OHL Priority Selection draft did not report on Tuesday to the Frontenacs. So under OHL rules Domi became a "defected player."

What that means is now Kingston can trade Domi's rights and in addition will be awarded a compensatory first round pick in addition to whatever they can get from London. This kind of stuff happens at least 2-3 times a year more in the OHL and QMJHL where they seem to more afraid of losing players to the NCAAs.

And this is where one of our proposed changes comes in as like we said when a drafted prospect backs out of his NCAA letter of commitment then he can not be signed by the NHL team that drafted him for a full year after being picked.

For the CHL we borrow a bit from the NCAAs where a prospect has to declare his intentions before the Bantam drafts. Hey you want to play in the USHL then go right ahead and spend the year there.

But once you declare your preference then you live with that choice because it is old seeing teams that are stuck in the cellar not be able use the draft to rebuild. The critics will say but the OHL owners make money off these kids which is true but those owners as part of a league owe it to the fans of that league to give teams real chances to improve.

In the QMJHL, Nate MacKinnon reportedly threatened to play in the USHL (he was practicing with the Omaha Lancers the day of the QMJHL draft) used the reason that there were no English schools in the Baie-Comeau area to force his rights being traded to Halifax.

It is a strange world the juniors are a part of as refusing to play for someone is almost a tradition but it is a tradition that hurts the players who do not have the talent to demand where they want to play. Funny too is that Halifax after trading for the rights to MacKinnon had a prospect tell them he was not coming this year.

Halifax had traded up in the QMJHL draft to be able to select Jonathan Drouin but Drouin told the Mooseheads that he and his coach decided it would be best if he stayed home in Montreal for another year.  His coach is also the brother of Drouin's agent and Halifax is left wondering why a player would want to spend another year in Midget AAA.

Christian Thomas reports to the Oshawa Generals bright and early on Tuesday morning to begin his 2011-2012 season. This year Thomas will be wearing an "A" but the question on everyone's minds is what will happen this season.

Good question as how do you try to project a player who was 54-45-99 last season? Right off we have to say that equaling what he did last season is a good start because Oshawa is not going to be as deep as they were last season.

For us, this season should be as much about Thomas polishing his all-around game and improving his body as it will be for his scoring. If anyone doubts that Thomas can not score at the OHL level then they are only fooling themselves.

The OHL Eastern Conference will be tougher this season and Thomas just might not put up 99 points but if he can help Oshawa go deeper in the playoffs or help Team Canada earn a medal that too would make the year a success.

On the New York Islander side of things we wish we could tell you something but really not much has been happening. This weekend we expect that to change as 2011 5th round pick Brendan Kichton will lead his Spokane Chiefs into Everett for the annual Everett Silvertip tournament.

Kichton is coming off a 23-58-81 season playing in a division that features the Portland Winterhawks and Tr-City Americans. It is one of the toughest in the CHL let alone the WHL and this year will be no different.

Ryan Strome the Islander's 2011 first round pick and teammate Mitchell Theroret the Islander's seventh round pick report Tuesday morning to the Niagara IceDog's training camp. The IceDogs are one of the expected contenders for the OHL's Eastern Conference championships in large part because of Strome.

Depending on who's spelling you want to use but another 2011 Islander fifth round pick Johan Persson reported on Sunday to the Red Deer Rebels camp. This is a player we want to see as the 6'2 Swedish Import is coming off a 33 goal season for the Rebels.

(Domi courtesy of Yahoo.CA, Thomas courtesy of the Oshawa Generals, Islander logo courtesy of the New York Islanders)

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