Days later, we’re all still looking back at what happened during the weekend’s NHL Draft trying to process it all.
Last night I was on The Pipeline Show back in Edmonton and we were doing the same thing. A point I made on radio is a point I will make right here. If you’re looking for the end-all, be-all moment for the USHL in the NHL Draft, it is a toss up between Dubuque’s Michael Matheson (Boston College) and Saint-to-be Mark Jankowski (Providence).
Part of it is that they went in the first round. The rest of it is they are Canadians who came/are coming to America and went in the first round.
Crazy as that may sound, it may be the optimal item we can take away from the USHL’s draft results.
The last year has seen the American model come under scrutiny with a massive amount of high-end players bolting to the Major Junior system for one reason or another. To say that practice will stop would be indeed foolish.
But is it foolish to think the USHL model could be a growing option in Canada?
Matheson took a chance on coming to the United States and it turned out to be a good one as he did go in the first round. It can be debated that it was Matheson who got himself into being a first-round pick instead of the USHL. Then again, can’t it be argued as a whole it is all about the kid, not the system, that can be the difference between being a first-rounder or not?
Having Matheson come through the USHL and still end up as a first-round selection was probably the best news the league received all year. Then for Jankowski to say he is coming to Dubuque only helps strengthen the league’s case for not being what Skip Prince said.
“We don’t want to be a fallback school,” Prince said last week.
Take a look around the web or a newspaper and it seems like the USHL is getting its due from large and small media outlets.
People are noticing and the following is a point that has been previously made: If you are a Canadian kid, why wouldn’t you consider the USHL given what happened this season?
Lincoln’s Kevin Roy (Brown) practically had one of the greatest individual seasons in league history and all of junior hockey this year scoring 108 points, winning a Western Conference regular season title, reaching the Western Conference finals, taking the league’s Forward of the Year Award, Player of the Year Award (maybe should have been Rookie of the Year too) and he managed to get taken in the fourth round by the Anaheim Ducks.
Roy did come into the league with talk given his impressive collection of YouTube videos but nonetheless, he still had questions to answer thus that is why he wasn’t drafted in 2011.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to the player and the route he feels is the best for his development.
Its just that the biggest difference from last year is, if you are a Canadian, you might have one more option that might be worth taking a look at.