If you are
paying attention to the news around the hockey world this summer, you know that 2015
NHL draft picks (primarily first rounders) are being signed in droves over the past few weeks. One player that hasn’t signed is
Vancouver Canucks prospect Brock Boeser, a forward drafted in the first-round out of the USHL who is committed to the University of North Dakota.
athletes take a slightly-different development path in sports, since the NCAA has
strict rules on who is and is not an amateur athlete while leagues do their best
to continue to allow their prospects maintain the eligible status.
it leaves us to wonder when will the Canucks will sign Brock Boeser to an entry-level contract?
In order to
maintain amateur status in the NCAA, players are not signed to an entry-level contract until they are ready to leave school.
This is risky for teams since, after August 15th of their class’ graduate
year, if the prospect is not signed to a contract then they are eligible to
become an Unrestricted Free Agent and can sign with any team they choose.
From the Collective Bargaining Agreement:
8.6 (c) (iv)
If a Player drafted at age 18
or 19, who had received a Bona Fide Offer in accordance with Section
8.6(a)(ii) above, becomes a bona fide college student prior to the
second June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft and does not remain a bona fide college student through the graduation of his college class, his drafting Club shall retain exclusive rights for the negotiation of his services until the later of:
(a) the fourth June 1 following his selection in the Entry Draft,
or (b) thirty (30) days after NHL Central Registry receives notice that the Player is no longer a bona fide college student;
provided that **IF** the Player ceases to be a bona fide college student on or after January 1 of an academic year and the Player:
(1) is in his fourth year of college and has commenced his fourth year of NCAA eligibility,
or (2) is in his fourth year of college and is scheduled to graduate from college at the end of his fourth year,
then in the circumstances described in (1) or (2), the Club shall
retain the exclusive right of negotiation for such Player’s services through and including the August 15 following the date on which he ceases to be a bona fide college student.
this many times and it seems to have become more popular for hockey players to choose
this route. Basically if a prospect is not signed by
the end of their fourth year, it becomes an attractive proposition for them to play their fourth year, wait until August 15th, and then
sign with any team they choose. Blake
Wheeler refused to sign with Phoenix and signed with Boston instead. Justin Schultz would not sign with Anaheim
and signed with Edmonton. The list
continues with names such as Kevin Hayes, Zach Hymen, Mike Riley, and the names just keep on flowing.
teams in a tricky situation as they want to sign their prospect as early as
possible, to risk not losing them, but they don’t want to pull them out of the
NCAA until they are ready.
To get an
idea of what this space is like, the best place to start is to look at
history. I pulled all USHL/NCAA drafted
forwards, from the first round, between 2004 and 2011. This era of time was selected as it was part
of the salary-cap era and players have been given plenty of development time to
guess their future. The players are as
|Year||Player||Position||Pick||NCAA Yrs||Points||GP||PPG||Next Season|
NCAA forwards have signed their contract and left the NCAA after 2.13 years
of playing college hockey. What
is interesting is, where the player spends their next full season is highly
predictive of how their career will go.
players who spend the next full season in the AHL (or lower) rarely (in this
sample) become better than AHL regulars.
Players who spend the next full season in the NHL or split half of the
season between AHL and NHL typically become NHL regulars. This makes sense as by this time the player
is 20 or 21 they should be ready for the NHL if they’ll ever be, which is similar to a CHLer who would spend
the 2 seasons post-draft in the CHL.
Also its interesting to note is that in this sample players are typically signed to a
contract when they are scoring around 0.9 – 1.1 points/game in the NCAA.
PCS database we can identify two players in this sample who are most similar to
Boeser: Louis Leblanc and Kyle Okposo.
Leblanc finished his season in the USHL and spent 1 year in the NCAA
playing for Harvard. He left school
early to play in the QMJHL before splitting the following season between the
AHL and NHL. Since then his career has
player, Kyle Okposo, who left the USHL with a scoring rate more similar to
Boeser. He played two seasons in the
WCHA with the University of Minnesota before splitting the season between the
AHL and NHL. Since then he has become
quite a good regular player for the New York Islanders and looks to be a
marquee free agent next summer.
back to Brock Boeser, we can start to identify what
his future is most likely to look like.
Ultimately it depends how Boeser performs and develops in the NCAA but
it is most likely to see him sign with the Canucks in the summer of 2017, or
two years from now and slightly less likely is signing in 2018 – again all
depends how he performs.
the Canucks have to hope that he develops more similarly to Kyle Okposo than