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Rangers Minors 101

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Old
09-30-2005, 01:37 PM
  #1
abev
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Rangers Minors 101

Could someone explain to a new-ish hockey fan how the minors in the NHL works? Maybe compare it to baseball?

The thing that confuses me most is that even during the strike Hartford played their games, even with some NHL players. Are the minor league teams considered totally separate entities, or are they funded by the parent NHL team?

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09-30-2005, 02:28 PM
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If you remember during the baseball strike in 94, minor league teams kept playing. Most had players that would have been in the majors. The AHL is equivalent to Triple A in baseball. Although not every team has their own AHL affiliate, some teams share affiliations and send their prospects to the same team. The ECHL is below the AHL, equivalent to Double A. Not all teams have ECHL affiliates and not all ECHL teams have NHL parent clubs.

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09-30-2005, 02:34 PM
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not sure about ownerships issues, but as a brief overview of how the leagues relate to eachoter:

NHL - Rangers
AHL - Hartford Wolfpack
ECHL - Charlotte Checkers
UHL


CHL is the Can. junior system, which is composed of the OHL, WHL, and the QMJHL

on par with that is the US NCAA system which is fed by the USHL highschool system.

in Europe, the top leagues are the RSL (russian superleagues), SEL (Sweedish Elite Legue), Czech Extraliga, and the SM-Liiga (Finland). These fall somewhere along the lines of the AHL in terms of quality.

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09-30-2005, 02:49 PM
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abev
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thanks for the replies. Regarding the CHL - do Canadian colleges have teams like an NCAA, or do they just play Juniors? ("Juniors" = "CHL"?)

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09-30-2005, 03:31 PM
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Kevin Forbes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abev
thanks for the replies. Regarding the CHL - do Canadian colleges have teams like an NCAA, or do they just play Juniors? ("Juniors" = "CHL"?)
Canadian Universities compete in what is called the CIS. There is usually little drafting or prospects at this level, because if a player is decent, he would have already entered the CHL stream (juniors) in Canada at the age of 16.

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10-01-2005, 11:52 AM
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doc lafleur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Forbes
Canadian Universities compete in what is called the CIS. There is usually little drafting or prospects at this level, because if a player is decent, he would have already entered the CHL stream (juniors) in Canada at the age of 16.
Steve Ruchin??

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10-01-2005, 01:13 PM
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Kevin Forbes
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Steve Rucchin is an excellent example, but he is the exception not the rule.

HF's Edmonton writer, Guy Flaming did an excellent series of articles on the CIS.
If you're interested, you can check them out here: http://www.hockeysfuture.com/team.php?team=119

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10-01-2005, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc lafleur
Steve Ruchin??

Mike Ridley comes to mind also ......

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10-02-2005, 11:13 PM
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Well, I will try to give a comprehensive overview, although I do not believe baseball is the best analogy. In baseball, the parent team exerts strong control, if not outright ownership, of all teams in its system inregards to roster and coaching hires. In hockey, while the parent affiliate controls (and often outright owns) its AHL affiliate, lower level teams are independently owned and make their own coaching and personnel decisions (outside of the players assigned by the parent affiliate).

Also, in basebal,l practically all prospects start in A Rookie ball and work their way up through A, AA, and AAA. Exceptional players will rise through the levels very quickly. However, quaity hockey prospects will almost never start below the AHL level (last year being an exception). The ECHL is a place for longshots, late round picks, and players who need a lot of seasoning.

Finally, just because a player suits up for Hartford or Charlotte doesn't mean they are property of the Rangers. The Rangers have their prospect signings that are assigned to Hartford and Charlotte. However, NHL teams can only have 50 players under contract at one time. That means that Hartford will sign players of their own (often AHL vets or role-players) to AHL contracts. The Pack will also invite rookie free agents to camp and sign them, and will assign several players to Charlotte to be called to Hartford as needed.

ECHL players are signed by their ECHL teams, but are free agents as fars as AHL/NHL teams are concerned. Several players signed by the Checkers are attending AHL camps of other teams. They can be signed by those other teams, and play in the AHL if they stick, but if they are sent down to the ECHL, they must be sent to the Checkers and not their AHL team's affiliate because they have an ECHL contract. During the season, the Pack might need to call up a player from Charlotte not on a Ranger or Pack contract. That player then is signed to 1-year AHL contract (or a PTO contract if he's there for a short stay). Ryan Glenn is an example of this. Was a free agent rookie last year who signed with the Checkers (and attended Hartford camp), but was called up for some games in Hartord. He was Pack property for the rest of the year, but is now a free agnet at the AHL level attending Milwaukee Admirals camp. However, he has signed with the Checkers again and will be back in Charlotte if he doesn't stick in Milwaukee.

Some AHL teams might sign players from teams outside their system for short callups. This often happens when their ECHL affiliate is far away and they need a player in a hurry. For example, the Bridgeport Soundtigers borrowed some players from the UHL Danbury Trashers for stints of 1-2 games, partly because those cities are so close.

The Rangers are trying to build their minor league system more along the lines of a baseball team's system. Ideally, the Rangers want the Rangers, WolfPack, and Checkers playing the same basic system, so when a player comes up, he will be ready to play. Checkers Coach/GM Derek Wilkinson is not an employee of the Dolans, but he works closely with Rangers/Pack stafff. He had Rangers' AC Mike Pellino in Checkers camp last year teaching the system and was at rookie camp and Rangers camp this year.

I'll get to teams/leagues tomorrow night....


Last edited by bmoak: 10-03-2005 at 10:46 PM.
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10-03-2005, 11:22 PM
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Now for leagues. I'll use the baseball classifications although I don't agree with them. Discussing professional hockey is easier because of a lot of league merging in recent years....

AAA

AHL: The American Hockey League. 27 teams this season, all of which are affiliated with an NHL team (no independent teams are allowed in the AHL). Some teams have a double-affiliation, but the eventual goal is to have a 30-team AHL. Often used as a rules laboratory for future NHL rules changes, the AHL is designed to be a developmental league and limits the number of veterans each team can sign.

AA

ECHL: The East Coast Hockey League (but currently just uses the initials ECHL with no meaning since the expansion to the West Coast. The ECHL has the most prestige of the so-called AA leagues largely because almost all of its franchises have an NHL/AHL affiliation (although there are still a few unafilliated teams). The ECHLhas a stronger commitment to development than the other AA leagues, allowing only 4 veterans per teams (veterans=260+pro games. ECHL plays a 72-fame schedule and teams dress 18 players a game.
Teams: 26 this season
Region: Traditionally Mid-Atlantic and Southeast (e.g. Johnstown, Charlotte), but spread out since the merger with the WCHL (West Coast Hockey League) in 2002.
Founded: 1988 but is a descendant of the old Eastern League.


More tomorrow.

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10-04-2005, 10:29 PM
  #11
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AA cont'd

UHL: The United Hockey League. So named because it was a minor league with Canadian and American teams, although the Canadian franchises have long since folded. The UHL teams play an 80 game schedule and have more minor league vets than ECHL teams. The UHL allows 7 vets (280+ pro games) per team, but also has a rookie draft. Only a handful of team have affiliations with a higher league, and some of those are for the AHL only. However, the UHL is often a source of depth callups to the AHL due to geography. There's a lot of player movement between the AA leagues so it's hard to generalize, but the ECHL is generally for players on the way up while the UHL is for players whose upwards progress has stalled. The UHL has tried hard to improve its quality of play, and the games I saw last year were certainly better than the ones I saw 5 years ago.
Teams: 14 this season
Region: Great Lakes and Midwest
Founded: 1990

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Old
10-05-2005, 08:38 AM
  #12
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These have been good answers, but I think you should also know more about the CHL than what has been told so far.

The CHL is a super-league for young hockey players. It is made up primarily of Canadians, but some Americans and some Europeans also go there because it is considered good preparation for North American professional hockey. The CHL is made up of three separate leagues. The Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

The teams in these leagues are NOT affiliated with NHL or AHL teams. They are independent in that respect. Players can enter the CHL at (I think) 15 years of age, playing for their hometown team, if they're good enough. At 16, they go through a drafting process and go to whichever team in their home region drafts them (so someone from Quebec would not be drafted by a team in Calgary, for example).

The young players play for these teams, which are considered PROFESSIONAL teams, for a couple of years. When they are eligible to be drafted by the NHL, they may be drafted, but are still likely to return to their junior teams. Players below (I think) 20 years of age cannot play in the AHL or ECHL, so they will return to the CHL unless they are good enough to actually make the NHL roster of the team that has rights to them. Some of these players may even already be under contract with their NHL team.

Because CHL teams are unaffiliated with NHL teams, and because most players drafted from the CHL return to the CHL after they are drafted, it is highly likely that an NHL team's prospects will be spread across many CHL teams, and that each CHL team will have prospects of more than one NHL team. For good or ill, that is the normal mode of operation.

BTW, the CHL teams can and do perform trades within their leagues, so an NHL team may find that its player has been traded from one CHL team to another. The NHL team has no control over this, though it is possible that they have some power of persuasion if they choose to exercise it.

Because the CHL is considered a professional league, people who go into it are ineligible to compete in the American university athletics programs. The Universities pull their prospects from nonprofessional leagues, such as the British Columbia Hockey League or the US High School Leagues.

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10-05-2005, 08:48 AM
  #13
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Nice post, I always wondered about the CHL leagues and if the players get paid.

Do they even get paid at 16 and what kind of salaries do they make ? Is their a salary cap ?

[QUOTE=HighlyRegardedRookie]These have been good answers, but I think you should also know more about the CHL than what has been told so far.[QUOTE]

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