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 firstname.lastname@example.org)