Thread: Recalled/Assigned: Louis Leblanc called up
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12-04-2011, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Watsatheo View Post
Going straight to the NHL at 22 after playing vs 20+ year olds in the NCAA and going straight to the NHL at 20 after playing vs 18/19 year olds in junior is different.

There's nothing wrong with a short stint but I'm talking about idea of keeping him in the NHL indefinitely.

Jeff Carter led the AHL playoffs in points on the Calder Cup winning team. Mike Richards was also on this team and was over a point/game. Giroux and Little both played half the year in the AHL which is a lot. Iginla is a future hall of famer. Kopitar, Steen, Kulikov, Koivu played in a mens league arguably on par with the AHL.

The list will be a lot smaller if you look for success from 20year olds coming out of junior/college. On the flip side, there is no point in making a list of successful of players who played in the AHL before becoming a NHLer because there are so many.
Out of my list of 16 players, only 4 qualify as playing in a "man's league" over in Europe, since Kulikov played in the Quebec Juniors for Drummondville. That hardly tips the scales in the favor of your argument. I could argue that at 19 and 20, Kopitar and Hanzal are hardly harden men, especially when they are playing 30 to 40 games a year in Europe with less ice time than the veterans. As for Carter and Richards, they played in playoffs for the AHL affiliate team after they finished their junior season, so they were not sent down for "maturing" development.

For all those who state that the proper way of developing a 1st round pick forward in the NHL is to let him play most of his first year in the AHL, here are some stats that completely contradicts this:

From 2002 to 2007, 78 forwards were drafted in the 1st round. Of those 78, 60 of these forwards are now regular NHL players, 8 are marginal NHL players and 10 of them are busts (never played or barely played in the NHL).

Of the 60 1st round pick forwards who made it to the NHL, 36 players played less than 30 games in the AHL and 23 of those 36 played all their career in the NHL (never playing a single game in the AHL). The overall average AHL game played for those 60 1st rounder is only 39 games.

Therefore, it is not the norm in the NHL to let a 1st round pick forward "mature" a full season in the AHL. Most GM pick a forward in the 1st round believeing that he can develop the player within his current NHL roster.

The only 1st round forwards who have spent extensive time in the minors early in their careers (exclusing the lock-out abberation) are Scotty Upshall, Jeff Tambellini, Chris Stewart, Benoit Pouliot, Bobby Ryan, Kyle Chipchra, Steve Bernier, Brian Boyle, Eric Nystrom, Chris Higgins, Max Pac and Daniel Paille (20% of the 60 players who played more NHL games than AHL games). Of that list, only three players (Chris Stewart, Bobby Ryan and Max Pac) can be considered premier players, the rest are basically underachievers when it comes to 1st round picks (they spent a lot of time in the AHL because they failed to impress, more than an intentional decision by teh GM and coaching staff to fully develop them in the minors).

It can therefore hardly be said that sending your 1st round pick forward to play most of his first year in the AHL is a sure fire way of developing a star player, since few GMs actually do it.

(Notice that I am highlighting 1st round forwards. For most 2nd rounders +, defensemen and goalies, a longer development stint in the AHL is usually required).

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