In the midget AAA system, a 15 year old player may request a waiver in order to obtain its status exceptional player, allowing him to access the QMJHL even if he has not 16 years. A junior-aged player can also play in the NHL at 18, immediately after being drafted. Here are two situations that have tongues wagging this year on the planet Hockey.
While some believe that it is best to leave young athletes develop before allowing them to make the leap to the next level, others feel that it is leaving the play with the best they can s improve faster.
Personally, I opt for the simplest premise: if a player is talented enough to be part of a circuit, let him do. He deserves it, full stop.
Jason Spezza, John Tavares and Aaron Ekblad Connor McDavid, there is not tons. They have all received their exceptional player status in the past in the juniors. With reason.
However, Sidney Crosby did not get that privilege. Privilege that was granted to Sean Joseph Day in Ontario and Quebec Veleno thereafter. Do not try to understand.
Is Joseph Veleno deserved this status last summer? Honestly, I believe so. Because the young athlete has still got 40 points in 53 games so far. He was ready. How many players of 18, 19 or even 20 years have not yet 40 points in the circuit?
Veleno knew he could evolve in the QMJHL in infancy and that he had nothing left to prove in the Midget AAA system. Its progress has probably been faster in major junior as if he had remained in the midget, discouraged to face less good players. This is unfortunately not the case of Sean Day.
To improve its product, the circuit must welcome the best players under 20 years. Already this season, 12 of the 18 teams have experienced a drop in attendance at the counters. Then put all the chances on our side and rely on a league that brings together the most talented players. And, being right in the award of this status, which should not be given to just anyone.
Conversely, how many 16 year old players are in major junior and get less than five minutes of playing time per game? While organizations feel they should be part of their junior team, the player and his parents still have to make the best decision, sometimes to stay one more season in the midget.
Players 18 and the NHL
That way, CEOs are thinking about limiting the selection of players 18 to the first round only?
Surprising, because the draft is not an exact science. Many players of second, third or fourth round eg became better than those who were selected to the initial round. Take Patrick Roy or PK Subban for example, to name a few.
I would tend to say that if the NHL wants to ban players from 18 years to evolve in the big league, it should apply that rule even hockey players selected in the first round.
It is true they are rare the second round of players and more to reach the NHL in the first year. This season, Daniel Sprong Charlottetown Islanders, however, surprised the organization of the Pittsburgh Penguins by carving out a position in the first months.
If the regulation had been in force, could have prevented the young Sprong to live his dream and to achieve this feat. And it could happen again with other athletes.
Finally, what are the real benefits to prevent a hockey player 18 years to be drafted into the major league? Looking good cause and I found none.
Again, just let play the best.