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What if: 18 year-old draft in 60s and 70s?

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12-05-2013, 11:08 PM
  #1
ForsbergForever
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What if: 18 year-old draft in 60s and 70s?

For the 1966 NHL Draft all players born before June 1, 1949 were eligible for selection, thus players could be as young as 17 when they were drafted, much like today. In 1967 however, the rules changed to permit only those born before June 1, 1947 as eligible, thus instituting the 20 year old draft. Again things changed slightly in 1968, when the date of birth was changed to those born before January 1, 1949. January 1st would remain the cut off date through the 1980s.

My question however, is what would the NHL have looked like if teams had been allowed to draft 18 year olds through the 1960s and 70s (and obviously until present) as opposed to the 20 year old rule that was in place during this time? This means that players like Bobby Clarke, Gilbert Perreault, Guy Lafleur and Denis Potvin all would have been draft eligible two years before they actually were. I believe the repercussions would have been quite significant with an increased emphasis on young talent in the NHL during this time and especially for the WHA who relied on hording the teenagers that the NHL banned from playing for their survival. Without this advantage, I wonder how they would have fared. A 18/19 year old Mike Bossy or Rick Vaive for instance might have flourished in the pros instead of being condemned to yet another year of junior. Gretzky might also have rebuffed the WHA had he known that he had but to wait one more year to join the NHL.

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12-05-2013, 11:13 PM
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Passchendaele
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Originally Posted by ForsbergForever View Post
Gretzky might also have rebuffed the WHA had he known that he had but to wait one more year to join the NHL.
Not really. I remember Gretzky saying at one point that when he made the decision to sign with the Oilers (back then part of the WHA), he was willing to forego a career in the NHL.

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12-06-2013, 12:14 AM
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mbhhofr
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Originally Posted by Passchendaele View Post
Not really. I remember Gretzky saying at one point that when he made the decision to sign with the Oilers (back then part of the WHA), he was willing to forego a career in the NHL.
Gretzky was signed by the Indianapolis Racers and then sold to the Oilers after 8 games.

http://www.hockeydb.com/articles/way...er_drafted.php

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12-06-2013, 12:15 AM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by ForsbergForever View Post
A 18/19 year old Mike Bossy or Rick Vaive for instance might have flourished in the pros instead of being condemned to yet another year of junior.
Interesting examples, showing both sides of the coin & argument FF. Well done... Rick Vaive (born in 59) did sign with the WHA Birmingham Bulls at 18 after back to back seasons of 115 & 155 points with the Sherbrooke Castors of the QMJHL. 78/79, his first year of pro in the WHA he had 55 points with a league leading 248 PIM's with Birmingham. Those stats alone tell you that he obviously spent much of his time getting into fights which was counter-productive to his development, going from an extremely high scoring, highly creative player in the QMJHL to being taunted & challenged by every Goon in the WHA. The following year, his rights reverted to Vancouver where he played 47 games, 13 goals & 111 PIM's before being traded to Toronto. 80/81 he really started to develop, followed by 3 - 50+ Goal seasons and the first Leaf ever to do so.

I would suggest that Vaive wouldve been better off staying in the QMJHL for a year, because what exactly could he have learned spending all that time in the penalty box? Vancouver felt he was expendable, and I certainly dont ever recall hearing anyone in Vancouver decrying his trade out of town the way they did Cam Neelys who after being picked by the Canucks in 83 at 18 & given a Contract fails to develop to expectations & is traded to Boston where as we know he really blossoms. To this day, Canucks fans bitter about it, but at that time, who knew? With Vaive, you had a fairly one dimensional power type forward, and one who despite the goal scoring abilities was more than happy to drop em', took dumb penalties. In both cases, Vaives & Neelys', more time in Junior up to age 20 wouldve been helpful, better for their careers overall, as players.

Then theres Mike Bossy, passed over twice by the Rangers & Leafs in the 77 Draft was picked by the Isles at 15th. Book on him was that he was "timid", unlike Vaive who came out swingin. At that after a full career in Laval of the QMJHL and racking up some serious numbers, starting at age 20 Mike Bossy began his 10 yr NHL career with right out of the gate a 50+ goal season followed by 8 more, along with scoring titles & Stanley Cups of course. Obviously Bill Torrey & the Islanders with Bossy at 20 knew what they were getting, whereas Vancouver with Neely at 18 & Vaive who might as well have been 18 what with that wasted year in Birmingham & the bad habits developed felt in both cases the players were expendable. The Draft Age is really one of my Pet Peeves. I think it should be raised back to age 20. You just dont know how the vast majority are going to develop, and rushed into the league with the Entry Level Contracts in the Cap Era, not yet ready for Prime Time.


Last edited by Killion: 12-06-2013 at 02:18 AM.
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12-06-2013, 12:31 AM
  #5
LeBlondeDemon10
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Originally Posted by Killion View Post
The Draft Age is really one of my Pet Peeves. I think it should be raised back to age 20. You just dont know how the vast majority are going to develop, and rushed into the league with the Entry Level Contracts in the Cap Era, not yet ready for Prime Time.
Yeah, I agree wholeheartedly. Of course the elite players will find a way to survive, contribute or even excel. But the vast majority take more steps backwards and have their confidence and nerve hammered because they just aren't ready. I think the cited players all would have made some kind of impact at an NHL level at 18, but at what cost? Gretzky was the most mature 19 year old to make an NHL lineup just based on his incredible rookie season, but who's to say how it would have impacted Lafleur, Perreault, Bossy and Potvin.

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12-06-2013, 02:37 AM
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Killion
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Originally Posted by LeBlondeDemon10 View Post
Gretzky was the most mature 19 year old to make an NHL lineup just based on his incredible rookie season, but who's to say how it would have impacted Lafleur, Perreault, Bossy and Potvin.
Yes, its hard to say, to generalize & just say guys like Perreault or Lafleur, that Mike Bossy mightve never blossomed the way they did had they entered as 18yr olds but in those 3 cases its possible they might not have, or might not have ever reached the heights that they did. In Gretzkys case, heralded as a phenom from the age of 5 or 6, left home really young, grew up fast. Bobby Orr same thing. At 14 playing for Oshawa against guys with not only height but so too 50, 75, 100lbs on what he was then, a mere 125lbs or so soaking wet. Theres a big difference in maturity in people through those years, from Major Junior at 15, 16 or 17 through 20 or even 21 or 22. Some can handle the pro game, others have difficulties. Frankly, Id bump it back up to 20yrs of age including imports & if another Next One comes along well thats just great, but he's playing Junior until 20 regardless. You make one exception, dam breaks.

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12-06-2013, 04:52 AM
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How about motivation for the kids? I remember watching a Mats Sundin interview and he said that the hardest part of his career was when he was 14-15-16 and decided to focus on the hockey when everything else came banging on the door. There's a big fall of around there when kids decide to party, find girlfriends and do dumb stuff.

Bumping it up to 20, how many players will we lose? Should they be drafted at 18 and then forced to play oversea in SHL/FEL/KHL(?) or stay junior for the last 2 years? Knowing you're drafted probably gives a ridiculous confidence boost and keeps them going

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Old
12-06-2013, 01:46 PM
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ForsbergForever
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Originally Posted by florida pwnthers View Post
How about motivation for the kids? I remember watching a Mats Sundin interview and he said that the hardest part of his career was when he was 14-15-16 and decided to focus on the hockey when everything else came banging on the door. There's a big fall of around there when kids decide to party, find girlfriends and do dumb stuff.

Bumping it up to 20, how many players will we lose? Should they be drafted at 18 and then forced to play oversea in SHL/FEL/KHL(?) or stay junior for the last 2 years? Knowing you're drafted probably gives a ridiculous confidence boost and keeps them going
This definitely close to my own sentiments...I think that at least being drafted at 18, would have improved the development of the players as even if they did not make the team right away, they would be pushed to improve and compete harder knowing an NHL spot was there's if they could take it. Like today, getting a few pre-season games in or a short trial to start the regular season can really show where a player is in their development. When you don't even sniff the NHL until 20, you really have no idea where you stand after literally competing against boys for so long.

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12-06-2013, 01:51 PM
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Darth Yoda
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One of the biggest consequenses obviously would be that those future star players often would have been drafted by another team.

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