On Saturday, my boss(or ex-boss as it is, now that he's auditioning as a big-shot beatwriter) James Mirtle emailed me to ask if I knew anything about former NHLPA boss Paul Kelly's new venture designed to promote college hockey that will be announced today. While I didn't know any specifics, I did say there were a number of reasons why I thought something like that would be a good idea for college hockey. Among my reasons was this: "There's a lot of myths about how great things are up north that never seem to go away because there's really only one side doing all the talking".
The news on Monday that Jack Campbell was backing out of his commitment to Michigan to play for the Windsor Spitfires serves as an emphatic puncutation to my point--except that Windsor is techinically south of Detroit, I guess.
Campbell released a statement to Michigan's Rivals.com site, explaining his decision. His reasoning: "My goal is to be playing in the National Hockey League within a year or two, and I did not want to put Michigan's hockey program in a bad position where I left after one season. By going to the Ontario Hockey League, I feel it will accelerate my development so I will be able to more quickly achieve my goal of being an NHL goaltender."
By all accounts, Campbell should be a first round draft pick. So just how quickly does the OHL, and CHL in general get their goalies drafted in the first round into the National Hockey League? Is it at all realistic that Campbell could be playing in the NHL a year after he was drafted? I'll break down the CHL goalies taken in the first round of the draft-by-year to find out.
The data gets kind of long, so I'll put it after the jump, but in case you don't care to read through, I'll post the spoilers now. Over 10 drafts--1999-2008--there has been a grand total of one goalie from the CHL(Dan Blackburn, if you're curious) drafted in the first round that wasn't still eligible for the Calder Trophy(no more than 25 NHL games played, or 6 in two seperate seasons) at the end of the timeframe with which Campbell suggests he'll be in the NHL.
I guess you have to give props to Windsor for being able to sell this kid on what is essentially a lie. Maybe Campbell will be good enough to do what all of those other goalies who were once in his position--or in some cases, a much better position, since I haven't seen many people ranking Campbell in the top 10 for the draft--weren't able to do. But this idea that the CHL is going to give him the leg up he needs to be in the NHL after a year or two is patently ridiculous.
Chet Pickard-18th overall-Hasn't played in the NHL yet.
Thomas McCollum-30th overall-Yeah right.
No goalies in the first round of the draft. This draft did include Josh Unice who bailed on Bowling Green at the last second in order to take "the faster route to the pros". Now it looks like he'll be done with competitive hockey by the age of 21 next year.
Jonathan Bernier-11th overall-He got 4 games in the NHL in his second season after the draft. Whenver he makes the NHL full-time, if he does, he'll still be considered a rookie.
Leland Irving-26th overall-Hasn't played in the NHL yet.
Carey Price-5th overall-He became an NHL regular in his third year after being drafted. That would be the equivalent of a college goalie leaving after his sophomore season.
Devan Dubnyk-14th overall-Has yet to play in the NHL.
Marek Schwarz-17th overall-Czech born, but moved to the WHL after being drafted. He got 2 NHL games in the second year after being drafted, but has never played more than two games in a season.
Marc-Andre Fleury-1st overall-He played 22 games the year after he was drafted, but didn't play a full season until the third season after he was drafted.
Cam Ward-25th overall-It wasn't until his fourth season after being drafted that he broke into the NHL.
Pascal Leclaire-8th overall-He got 2 NHL games in his third season after being drafted. He didn't get significant playing time until 2005-2006.
Dan Blackburn-10th overall-Actually made the NHL and played significantly the year after he was drafted.
Jason Bacashihua-26th overall-It wasn't unitl his 5th season after being drafted that he saw the NHL.
Adam Munro-29th overall-Saw a handful of games in his third year after juniors.
Brent Krahn-9th overall-He got his first and only NHL start last year.
Brian Finley-6th overall-4 total NHL games
Maxime Ouellet-22nd overall-Just a handful of NHL games