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Decline in European prospects (excepting Sweden)

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07-20-2010, 10:54 AM
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Decline in European prospects (excepting Sweden)


Why has there been such a sharp decline? Some of it is the simple ebb and flow of talent. In recent years, Euro development systems have ebbed. Again, the big exception is Sweden, which had been in an ebb in the mid-1990s to early 2000s before its recent upward trend of the last five or six years. But even within Sweden, there have been shifts. The once-endless well of prospects coming out of Modo system in tiny Ornskoldsvik has largely run dry (except for Victor Hedman, the second overall pick in 2009), while other programs such as that of Brynas in Gavle and Frolunda in Gothenburg (one of Sweden's major cities) have been top producers of talent in the under-17 to under-20 age categories. Frolunda has been especially adept at creating a pipeline to the recruiting the emerging young talents from Denmark into its junior system.

North American systems, meanwhile, have been enjoying a particularly strong period in recent years, both in Canada and the United States. In the USA, the National Team Development Program has reaped dividends and there has also been sharp improvement in the caliber of the once-maligned USHL program for players on a collegiate hockey track.

Economics are the second key reason for the decline in Euro development programs. European teams traditionally have their own youth-to-adult development programs, and there has been diminishing resources pumped into these programs. When it comes to pinpointing a cause of the economic decline, there is a lot of finger-pointing and controversy. It is difficult to find objective analysis.

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07-26-2010, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
I think Russia is doing very well, many of the mid level kids are staying at home though. But there is without any single doubt probably 15-20 players -- "no-name" players -- in the KHL who could step in and be very solid top 2 unit players in the NHL.

Soccer is growing on the expense of hockey at a few locations though, especially Czech Rep and Slovakia it seems. I think the big dollar lure of the NHL have taken a hit as soccer have caught up some, and surpassed, the NHL in terms of salarys. Like before we had a megastar soccer player in Europe basically making less then a very good Swede in the NHL. That kind of legimated the game. Now, Soccer, with the Champions League, just have the much bigger "wow" factor.

The Czech Junior system, and especially the Slovak junior system, have basically bottomed out and all their kids are bolting to NA.

Its basically a fact that a european kid develops a lot better if he stays in Europe for around 2 years. 18-20 are important years. If a euro kid bolts to NA his hockeydevelopment during those very important years will have to compete with the kid learning to play on small ice, learning a new language, live on his own et c. -- instead of focusing 100% on adding weight, speed et c.

For the sake of the game, it would be good if these countrys could rebound. We need the game to grow, not shrink.

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