by Mike Chen on 03/11/09 at 06:19 PM ET
A report on the New York Post stated that the New York Rangers got a compensatory second-round pick for the death of prospect Alexei Cherepanov.
Now I know this is a delicate subject, but it took a little digging for me to understand how and why this was awarded. From the Hockey’s Future FAQs, here are the reasons why compensatory picks may be allocated:
What are the exceptions to the ‘30 players per round’ rule?
There are two. First, compensatory picks are awarded for teams who lost more Group III free agents than gained over the previous year. The round and number of the pick is determined by a system of points based on various considerations. The rule of thumb is the better the player lost, the higher the compensatory pick. But compensatory picks are NEVER added to the first round.
The second case in which the league awards a compensatory pick is when a team does not sign to an entry-level contract a former first round selection. The team is compensated with a second round pick for the current draft in the exact same selecting position as when the player was originally drafted. In illustration, a player taken in position number 17 in 2000 draft and was not signed, the drafting team will be awarded a compensatory pick in the number 17 slot of the second round.
Keep in mind that Cherepanov had one year left on his playing contract with Omsk of the KHL. Because of that, the Rangers were hoping to sign him following the 2008-09 season. Obviously, that’s impossible now, which is what prompted the Rangers to make their original draft pick request:
Rangers GM Glen Sather “raised the issue” at the NHL GMs meeting in Chicago last month, citing CBA Article 8.3 (b) that “stipulates that compensatory picks be awarded to teams unable to sign first-round draft picks.” Sather said that the Rangers “should receive the 17th selection in the second round of June’s draft as compensation for losing Cherepanov,” who was the team’s 17th selection in the first round of the ‘06 draft.
From a pure logistics standpoint, this is essentially a prospect who was removed from the system due to career-ending accident or injury. Previous compensatory picks are similar to the case of the Phoenix Coyotes and Blake Wheeler, whom the Yotes simply couldn’t pin down on a contract. This is a different avenue, where the actual signing isn’t a matter of negotiation—it’s simply impossible due to injury, illness, or death.
Does this set a new precedent? Well, hopefully we’ll never see something like this again, at least not in terms of a prospect dying. But what about freak injuries? Say a guy crashes into the boards awkwardly and permanently damages his leg, making a pro career impossible before he agres to terms with the team that drafted him? Something like that is more likely, and it’s up to debate whether or not that’s worth compensation.
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