I'm not talking throughout the season but I've never really watched the ECHL very much compared to the AHL on when players get moved to the big clubs but I've noticed that Louisiana has a lot of young players that could end up panning out but is this possible? I mean usually the ECHL is the last step before the beer leagues...
I mean usually the ECHL is the last step before the beer leagues...
The last step before beer leagues is semi-pro, like up in Quebec the QSPHL. Before that is Single A, like the SEHL, ACHL, WHA2, etc. The CHL and UHL are a step below ECHL as well. There's a lot of minor league hockey, and the ECHL is on the high end, not the low end.
215 former ECHL players went on to play in the NHL in its first 15 years. already this year there have been five more, so 220 now. Most NHL teams have an ECHL affiliation, so it will be more and more common to see ECHL players go on to the NHL.
I think the best way to think of the league is players for whom room couldn't be found on an AHL roster. Spillover.
I know that both Steve Shields and Marty Biron did ECHL stints. Biron's would have been longer had it not been for injuries.
I think it should be the rule, rather than the exception, that players start out in the ECHL or comparable league. I see too many AHL rookies that are clearly in over their heads. I suppose it all comes down to dollars. If you send your rookies to the ECHL, you'll have to sign an AHL veterans to take their place.
Well back to the original question, in some cases it could be very quick, for instance last year with the St. Louis Blues goalie injuries;
They went through both NHL'ers, both AHL'ers, and they played Cody Rudkowsky I believe (i'm not 100% sure), who was in the ECHL at the time. He went right from the ECHL to the NHL.
It works both ways, NHL goalies can be sent to the ECHL just as easily, they just have to clear waivers. Take Arturs Irbe for instance, played 6 games in the AHL this season, went 3-3 and then they sent him to the ECHL. I saw him play for Johnstown last night against Trenton, and he looked phenomenal. He is now 6-0-0, 1.00 GAA, and like a .965 save percentage in the ECHL...he is looking good. I talked with Johnstown's assistant coach last night for a while, he sat next to me in the Press Box, he said Artie is the nicest guy ever, he said he is so pleasant, and he doesnt mind playing in the ECHL at all - he said he is a team favorite in the locker room, everyone likes him. Who knows how long he'll stay down here??
Buffaloed, the AHL has rules specifying only a handful of "veterans" can play at a time, so teams HAVE to go with rookies who look like they're in over their heads.
I'm aware of the rule. I believe it's 6 vets and 1 exempt supervet. It was put in place to foster prospect development in the AHL. It has the opposite effect when players are forced to try to compete at a level that's too high for them. The rule should be changed to specify a team must have a minimum number (14-15) of players on entry level contracts playing minor North American pro hockey and their distribution should be left up to their NHL club. I think that would make for a higher quality of play all around and give the ECHL a stronger link with the NHL.