Thread: Switzerland: Swiss hockey players in NHL/AHL
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07-03-2010, 04:52 PM
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Location: Border of lake Leman
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Originally Posted by Pokechecker View Post
The Swiss players don't have the respect yet that they get drafted in the NHL-Draft, most of them are not good enough yet but there is still an improvement. A lot of players are on the radar-screen of most NHL-organisations and more and more scouts come and visit our league-games. Why is that? A handful of Swiss players did climb into a status called "cheap alternatives". The story behind this: After every season the agents of mediocre or even worse NHL-players ask for new, better contracts for these players. The GMs just don't want to pay a mediocre 6th or 7th defenseman 2-3 Mio but of course the agents of these players ask for this money and tell that the player will leave he doesn't get payed in this category. So the GMs started to build some cheap alternatives with decent players in Europe who wouldn't hurt the NHL-team in a minor-role. For example: Why to pay a so-so-defender 2.5 Mio if the Swiss Blindenbacher plays for 800'000.-- and he is probably not much worse than the 2.5-Mio-man, if at all... This is economically a very good strategy and doesn't hurt the competitiveness of the team too much. What does this mean for us, if we read that this and that Swiss player got offered an NHL-contract: Once again...not to overrate this. Right now we have Mark Streit and Jonas Hiller as real NHL-players, they get payed average or even a bit above average money and have longterm-contracts. Such contracts are the proof that you are an NHL-player. Wick, Ambühl, Blindenbacher are just on some sort of tryout. The teams will try them, use them as cheap alternative-players to stay within the salary-cap and open some cap-space for maybe a star-player. After one season we can talk about whether Wick, Ambühl and Blindenbacher are NHL-players. Ambühl obviously was not in this category. The Rangers did let him go and so far no other team did hire him. Wick and Blindenbacher now have the chance to proof that they belong and they belong if they get a fat multiyear-contract after this season (at least 2 years and 5 Mio - 2.5 per season). This would mean they got payed still remarkably below the average NHL-salary but in my eyes I would then call them NHL-players. We have to remember that every year a lot of so called cheap alternative players get contracts like Wick and Blindenbacher. I noticed even players who where considered as possiblel import-players for our league and failed the quality-measurestick. So don't overrate the NHL-reputation of Wick and Blindenbacher yet. I don't want to take anything away from them because it's already a great achievement if you climb into spheres where the NHL considers you as cheap alternative players. This is already much more than tons of young hockeyplayers ever dared to dream of. But still...let's stay modest and realistic.

Thomas Roost
Central Scouting Europe / NHL
In fact i am positive as a person, but realistic ... yet on this board, and unlike you, i am a divan hockey trainer and philosopher with no impact on realities, consequently i can manifest my enthousiasm, which is about Switzerland moving toward exporting players. That is one of the strategic alleys to evolve into a superior hockey country.

Realistically, as you say, it is a tryout contract ... 2 way 1 year deal with 870(less than a million) if they scratch regularly NHL ice and less than 100'000 if the stay in AHL. Very little risk for the organisation... "a pawn" in chess.

Tks for your economical explanations ... Adam smith was calling this the invisible hand

What would you think about a player like Daniel Steiner ?
I understand that our cheap players are alternative players, and that with the NHL salary caps, the more they save on cheap players, the more they can afford stars. We saw with Ambuhl that, whatever we may deem his level compared to his mates, he wasn't producing (points) and therefore didn't really have an NHL chance and had no success story. Do you think that Steiner, who has been producing interesting numbers in AHL would have a chance as one of these alternative cheap cost players ?? to me he has been puzzling because of his efficiency ... having watched several games ...

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