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01-05-2010, 03:55 PM
Tony Piscotta
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Hamilton Square
Country: United States
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You are correct in one point - other than goalies and possibly enforcers - few players from the CHL are likely to make it to the NHL as compared to the handful who of ECHLers who will do so. However, I think you are unfairly casting aspersions on the CHL because of this.

Actually, top-to-bottom the CHL is probably a bit stronger league and the level of play is probably a bit higher for two reasons.

For the most part, there are far more affiliated players allocated to the ECHL so of course they would get opportunities that their CHL counterparts may not. However, due to their veteran rules, the ECHL is a league comprised overwhelmingly of players in their early twenties - many of whom weren't even the key guys on their college or junior teams. While some of these prospects will eventually develop into pros, others will not. Conversely, the CHL is more of a veteran league and many of these players, while deemed no longer NHL prospects by the parent clubs that either drafted them or signed them, were effective at the AHL level and some may have even gotten some opportunities to play in the NHL. With the exception of the rare Jason Bonsignore or other players of that ilk, there are very few ex-NHLers in the ECHL.

The other factor in favor of the CHL is the relative stability of rosters in that league as opposed to the transitory nature of the ECHL. Looking at some of the all-time rosters of CHL teams, it is not uncommon to see players who spent four or more years with a given club. That is rarely the case at the ECHL level. While you can suggest that the players in the CHL may not be as gifted as those in the ECHL, it stands to reason that the level of play would be higher the longer a group of players are playing together. While it's true that there are very few high round draft picks in the CHL, there are also far fewer part-time college players or low level juniors filling out the back side of the roster. And again, the experience at the higher level leagues - particularly the AHL and NHL but also the national leagues in Europe and in some cases the former IHL - would seem to indicate that the players were more finished than some of their younger counterparts.

Originally Posted by bellows View Post
The CHL definitely isn't equivalent to the ECHL in terms of play. Perhaps in the past, but more and more teams are beginning to utilize ECHL teams as part of their systems, and the ECHL saw guys like Calder, Pogge and other calibre players that the Central League would never see. Statistics don't mean everything, but when you see a player switch from the ECHL to the Central league, typically their point production is a bit better in the CHL. I'd say the CHL is a bit weaker than the ECHL, and a bit better than the IHL. The ECHL has and will continue to see more of it's alumni in the NHL than the CHL.

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