So you are hoping to get drafted in the next few weeks. You have attended or are attending a few “pre draft” camps in order to let coaches see you, and get the experience. That’s your plan?
For the past twenty seven years, only one thing has remained constant concerning player drafts at every level. From the NHL, USHL, Major Junior and beyond, every player drafted in all but the last few picks is a known, well documented, and well scouted prospect.
Ninety five percent of players drafted are the highest performing players at their age specific level of play the season before.
Less than one in two hundred players attending a “pre draft” camp will be drafted or ever play a single game for the team that held the “pre draft” camp. If the team has multiple “pre draft” camps, you can multiple two hundred by the number of camps, and leave the one as your number of players to be taken on average.
But, this is your plan to get to the next level. A one half of one percent chance?
Now, every one of your math teachers who would read this would tell you that you should also be putting your life savings into instant lottery tickets if you like these odds of success.
When working with high level prospects, we know, before any “pre draft” camp is even held, if there is interest in teams drafting this prospect. How? Because they contact me, or the prospect during the season before the draft, or at the end of the season to talk. It is really that simple.
So, instead of attending “pre draft” camps and buying instant lottery tickets, you should be asking yourself; How do I get into a position where I am going to get drafted next year? Because that is the question you need to plan for to answer.
If you threw your chances to the wind in a “pre draft” camp parade, you are likely not getting drafted. This is just a fact. It’s a fact no one wants to think about until they have to. It’s life, and hockey is a business. You take the pain of the expenses and you use that as a learning experience of what not to do and you move on.
You prepare a plan to put yourself in the position of being drafted next year. That is not as simple as it may sound either. Yes, you may have a lot of Tier 3 options, and you may have some AAA options available if you are lucky. But just picking a team by drawing a name out of a hat, is not the way to go about making a decision.
In order to put yourself in the best situation, you need information. Real information on team dynamics and how they will effect you.
Do you want to be a third line center on a team that says they will go after a championship, when it means no power play time, and likely only second unit penalty kill? Or do you want to be a first or second line guy, with PP and PK time on a younger team more focused on development?
What other players have committed to the team? Where to they fit in? How deep is goaltending? Who is committing to defense? What is the coaches philosophy?
There is a lot of work to be done, and it is not easy. It takes time, and you have to know what to look for that will benefit you the most.
I can tell you one thing that scouts will not be looking for next season that is one hundred percent accurate. Not one scout in the world gives a damn how many fans are at a Tier 3, AAA, or High School game. Fan support has zero impact on scouting or interest in prospects.
So any coach using the “fan support” recruiting tool either doesn’t know what he is doing, or is trying to fill his roster with paying players and he will worry about who plays where once the budget is full.
Scouts are going to watch the player putting up two points a night and it doesn’t matter if he is on the last place team that has zero fans in the building. You know why? Because he is dominating and if you can put up points on a team that’s not great in the standings imagine what you can do surrounded by better talent and support?
These scenarios exist in every position group. Scouts look at players. Scouts look at them as individuals and how they perform individually within the team environment. We know a good player isn’t always playing with other players at his level. It happens all the time.
But we also know when this good player is making the right plays. Making the smart decisions whether his defensive partner or line mates can finish the play or not makes no impact on what we see the player do. The goalie in the right position making the first save is not responsible for the defenseman who is out of position and the other team catches the rebound to score.
Many scouts have been doing this for many years. It does not take a magician to pick out who the best player on the ice is in any game. It takes a skilled and experienced eye to find the player making the right plays, and decisions at the right times. Getting in front of them is what is important.
Stop thinking about “what you want” and start planning for “how to achieve”. Planning is critical. Patience is a tool to be used.
Panic, scrambling, hoping, guessing, listening to what everyone else in the same position that you are in is doing are guaranteed actions to lead you to failure.
When you are ready to develop a plan, stop chasing, use patience, and have access to information that will allow you to avoid wasting time and money; I look forward to hearing from you.
Joseph Kolodziej – Adviser