Should more Swedish and Finnish forward prospects come to the CHL?
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02-26-2013, 05:26 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Originally Posted by
I have noticed that many Nordic forward prospects play in the SEL and FEL pre draft and then come to the NHL. I have also noticed that upon arrival in the NHL they a longer time adjusting to the NHL style.
For example MPS and Granlund are two recent players.
On the other hand Swedish defenseman are flourishing in the NHL and at a relatively young age after playing in the SEL.
Should Swedish forwards do what many young Russian forwards do and enter into the CHL as to learn the style of player better. And would this benefit them in the future
I think you are correct with the early part, about them taking longer time to adjust.
But, I do
think they should go over earlier. I with great certainty think its the opposite, and for every "Elias" there are many more examples of positive suprises from players that stayed.
First of all, I want to say that there only are "ifs" in this discussion, we never "know" what would have happend had a kid like Granlund done something else. And while I feel that the general rule is pretty strong, I can definitely admit that its possible that there are exceptions and for all I know the exceptions don't has to be that "rare" (and especially for D's, but we are dicussing forwards here). But, I've followed this issue pretty darn closely for
now (man times flies), and I definitely feel that the trends and general rule is pretty strong.
It is very often better to stay in Europe longer.
There is a couple of things here you need to take into account:
Granlund played in the CHL is not the same thing as a kid from Canada playing in the CHL. Its definitely not only about what program is best, its apples in one program or oranges in the same program. Here is why.
Granlund is born in Finland and needs to adjust when he is 17-18 y/o or when he is 20-21 y/o. A Canadian kid never have to adjust. Most 17 y/o has some areas of their game they really need to work on. If Granlund stays in Finland when he is 17 y/o, he can work on that area, and concentrate on that only so to speak.
I've several times seen a good looking kid go to NA early from Europe, the said kid has a bit of a weakness in his game but its not something you worry overly about. But its definitely a trend that they aren't able to correct that flaw as well as you would have expected had he stayed. Why? This kid would have to learn to live on his own, learn to play with new teammates, learn to play for a new coach, in a new rink, in a very diffrent type of game, learn a new language -- etc etc etc etc etc -- all while learning to shoot or skate or play defense or whatever or whatever flaw he had.
This point could sort under the previous point, but I want to carve it out because I think its especially important.
I don't want to say that the Swedish program or Finnish program is better than the Canadian program. I don't. They are very diffrent and have very diffrent conditions. You need to be aware however that Canadian hockey has a --
enourmous amount of raw materia
-- compared to what we have in Sweden or Finland. There's 8 million people in Sweden, and hockey isn't even that big here. I work in Stockholm, the capital and largest city here in Sweden, and hockey isn't bigger here than in the US basically. South of Stockholm, you have like 2/3s of the population in Sweden, and the climate is not supportive of the game and besides a few city's the interest is low.
So a) we have a extremely small program but b) its much much much easier to manage a small program than a larger program. There is also c) a great understanding in Sweden or Finland that -- since we are a small program -- we can never compete unless we cooperate and really stay state of the art all the time.
Tommy Boustedt is head of development for Hockey Sweden. If he gets in contact with a expert on how to work on abdominals (say a doctor at a research institute), and the said expert tells him that they have made a research on Tennis players (to help them with their serve) and found very positive results with a new approch to work the abdominals -- Boustedt can basically lift up the phone, and within like
have say "50-75%" (a big nummer atleast) of all 13-15 y/o's playing hockey in Sweden apply that approch, and definitely always like 95% of the the elite 10-20 percent.
Often when I see a NA kid in say a YT clip showing off in the weight room, I think like
yikes thats what we did 5 years ago
. Not because we are better or smarter, but because its just so much easier to manage a small entity than a large entity. Ask any CEO for a big company if he can do the same thing in a company with 3,000 employees or 30,000 employees as he could in his first job as a CEO for a company with 50 employees -- and he will tell you that they biggest challenge by far to be CEO for a big company is that its so darn extremely hard to implement changes.
The result is that we in Sweden are:
a) doing some really good things with our kids, but
b) do not prepare them quite for the NA game.
The thing is, I much rather have a kid do a) when he is 16-21 and then correct b) when he is 20-22 then get to business with b) isntantly. Sure, there are probably examples of Europeans who should have gone to NA when they were 13 y/o (Zherdev???), but few Swedes.
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