Entries with the tag: junior hockey
It’s always fun for hockey fans to keep track of a hot prospect. It’s even more enjoyable when the prospect is being compared to Sidney Crosby.
Almost everyone will agree it’s unfair to compare a 16-year-old teenager to an established NHL superstar. But it’s difficult to ignore the fact that Nathan MacKinnon is from the same hometown as Crosby (Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia), played at the same Minnesota prep school (Shattuck St. Mary’s), and is projected to be the number one pick in the 2013 NHL draft, as Crosby was in ‘05.
Now playing junior hockey for the Halifax Mooseheads, MacKinnon is a tremendous talent. Scouts rave about how quickly he reaches top speed. At 5-foot-11, 179 pounds, MacKinnon isn’t afraid to go into the corners and play in the trenches, and he’s only going to get bigger.
As Paul pointed out last night, Hockey Canada President Bob Nicholson has suggested changing the age at which teenage hockey players are draft eligible from 18 to 19. He cites a statistic indicating only 12% of Canadians play in the NHL before age 20. He also uses the draft class of 2003 to support his argument, claiming the 2005 NHL lockout forced many current NHL stars to spend another year in junior hockey, which supposedly benefited their development.
I’m not so sure it’s fair to draw a correlation between the amount of time a player spends in junior with his performance as a professional. Some players spend five years in junior hockey, and have incredible overage seasons, but obviously that doesn’t guarantee them success at the NHL level. With that said, I understand why 18-year-olds are being rushed into the league faster than ever before, and I can also see why Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League is dismayed by the situation.