I received these two questions earlier this month, but was holding out until I had more questions to answer. Then I realized it’s August.
Tim asks: What are the pros and cons of having prospects like Karl Henriksson and Nils Lundkvist in the SHL versus the AHL? Since their contracts would slide if signed, why not play them in Hartford where the team can set the minutes and development time? Is it the choice of the player?
This is a great question, and one that I don’t really have all the answers to. The low hanging fruit answer is that these players have contracts with their respective SHL teams, and need to honor those before the Rangers can sign them to an ELC. More often than not, especially with their better prospects, the Rangers get them to the AHL as soon as possible.
What we also know is that the Rangers want to have their prospects in Hartford so their own staff can guide and develop them. Most of the time they are limited by their overseas contracts, but they move quickly to bring in their top prospects once those contracts expire. There’s also roster space concerns and max NHL contracts to consider (teams are allowed a max of 50 NHL contracts). That plays a role into when players come over, but not as large as their overseas contracts.
As for the pros and cons, that’s tough. The biggest pros of having their prospects in the AHL, aside from having their own guys looking and guiding, is getting the kids used to the North American rink size. If there is a good environment in the AHL, then it’s easier to have the kids adjust. We know that’s been a problem in recent years, though.
The cons of the AHL, especially for kids, is that they are separated from their families and support systems. It may not seem like that big of a deal, but English isn’t a first language for a lot of these kids, and it makes it difficult for them to adjust to the life in Connecticut/New York. This plays into the environment aspect mentioned above.
To me, it’s more about the off-ice impact of SHL vs. AHL than it is the on-ice. Also worth noting that prospect development and rating isn’t really a strength of mine.
JoeS. asks: What is the number of Patreon subscribers up to?
For those that don’t know what Joe is talking about, I created a Patreon in August after the hack that took the blog down for a week. Long story short – the Patreon is there to help support the added costs for the blog, since I had to shell out a ton of money to have the blog cleared, secured, and back up and running. As I mention in the summary of the Patreon, there is no added benefit of contributing, other than keeping this blog up and running, of course.
Right now we are at 8 patrons, and the number of subscribers/dollar amount per month is public. I’m not hiding anything there. If you’re interested in helping an independent blogger keep costs down, then you can be a patron by signing up here. A little in abundance goes a long way."Mailbag: SHL vs. Hartford Wolf Pack for prospect development; BSB Patreon",