Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cherepanov's Draft Slip

One of the more interesting stories out of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft is that Alexei Cherepanov was selected 17th overall by the New York Rangers. As the top scorer in the 2007 World Junior Hockey Championships, one can make a strong argument that he was the best player in the draft. Why did he slip as far as 17th?

The problems are the lack of a player transfer agreement with Russia which makes it hard to gage the availability of Russian players. Russia will try to prevent their top talent from leaving, forcing them to possibly defect from their team and leaving legal battles over player avalability. This makes the selection of a Russian player a bit daunting. This problem is made even worse due to a change made in the current CBA. Teams drafting European players now only have two years in which to sign them and then they lose their rights. This means the New York Rangers have two years to sign Cherepanov, when it is unclear if his team will allow him any chance to talk to the Rangers to sign a deal in that time. It is entirely possible that two years will pass and Cherepanov will want to play in the NHL but be unable to get their and sign a contract.

This rule giving a two year rights window to European draftees would have significantly changed the NHL had it existed earlier. For example, two of the Detroit Red Wings best recent draft picks Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were not signed within two years of their drafting. Detroit would have lost their rights.

It is the combination of a poorly thought out rule change with the cooling of relations between the NHL and the Russian Ice Hockey Federation that makes the Cherepanov pick quite a risk. Of course he is a good player, but there exists a significant possibility that he will not be signed within two years despite the Rangers best efforts.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?