Friday, February 27, 2009

My Thoughts

I was surprised when I heard the announcement today that the National Team Development Programs will re enter the United States Hockey League. I think this will be a good thing. I here on HFboards that the National Team plays in a weak league.

Well no longer the case. They will be playing in the highest junior level sanctioned by USA Hockey. This will strengthen the league with them in the league.

How about the Fall Classic that brings every college coach and every NHL Team to the event. They will be seeing the best junior players under one roof.

Now I wander how much of a recruiting tool this move is on USA Hockey's part? With players defecting to the Great White North, will this contain the defections?

I believe this is what USA Hockey is looking to do. We have seen players wanting to play at the highest level that they can play.

Now for the USHL drafts, the NTDP won't be apart because they pick their own players. USHL teams usually take NTDP players just in case they leave the program. Will teams still allow to draft those players just in case?

In my previous post, a commenter posted another team might also join the USHL. Well the Black and Blue: The Unofficial Lincoln Stars Blog posted that the Mahoning Valley Phantoms will also defect from the NAHL to the USHL.

The Phantoms are one of the better teams in the NAHL and I believe they should transition into the league quite well. They might be middle of the pack but shouldn't be too bad of the a team. If they can keep Brandon Saad from signing with the Saginaw Spirit. He's one of their better players at 16 years old.

Could this be a small step forward to expand the league east? The Phantoms are only an hour away from Pittsburgh. It's hard to imagine the USHL expanding to far east in these economic times.

That's My Take

(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at


Anonymous said...

All good points, Nathan--thanks. I think you are right that the goal is to establish something that competes more effectively with the CHL. The college-focused strategy fails to the extent that the important developmental years are 16, 17, 18. The youth movement in the NHL--and the ever-increasing CHL defections--is forcing this changes.

But how are they going to do that draft? Is the National program going to be the Harlem Globtrotters--just taking the cream of the crop and playing against the rest????

Nathan Fournier said...

USHL usually is a 17-20 league with few 16 year olds. They have their own selection process for the NTDP. They will be the youngest team in the league because no one is over 18.

They will have the cream of the crop in terms of players potential but teams will have older players.

They won't come in and pull 2004-2005 London Knights season.

The U-18 will still play against colleges but this move allows the program player against the highest caliber of hockey game in game out.

Yeti said...

Thanks for the pat on the back, but I did not break the "Mahoning Valley Phantoms to the USHL" news. I believe Ryan posted that first on the "Finish Your Check" USHL message board:

-Yeti (Black and Blue: The Unofficial Lincoln Stars Blog)

Anonymous said...

Nathan, thank you for clarifying the USHL age range, and the fact that it differs from the NTDP.

So, it is then an all-star team of 18 and under players, in a league that allows 20 year olds.

What is your take on the NTDP--do you think it is an appropriate model?