Michigan may have beaten out their fellow NCAA schools for Moffatt's services, but now they may face an even tougher test from the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL who drafted Moffatt last spring and don't seem willing to let him go without a fight. From Moffatt:
"I've just not made up my mind," says Moffatt, "the NCAA route is very exciting, but I'm going to take my time before making a decision."Kelowna general manager Bruce Hamilton some interesting comments of his own:
And to Moffatt's credit, he admits that the school he commits to (that being Michigan), will know the situation right up front.
"Yes, they will know the drill, that it will be a commitment pending my decision to play either college or in the WHL. This will make things easier for me though. It will either be Kelowna, or (Michigan)."
"The college system is great, and we're not trying to recruit against them, but kids who come (to the WHL) and particularly to us come here to become hockey players and make a fast track to the NHL."So he's not trying to recruit against the NCAA or Michigan, but...
"Back a few years ago, we drafted (Alaska native, former US NTDP winger and one-time Michigan Wolverine) Jason Ryznar to come join our program. Again, I've got nothing but respect for the US college system, but in my opinion, had he come here to play major junior, he'd be in the NHL right now."Ok, it's Mythbusters! time.
Ryznar was drafted in the 3rd round with the 64th overall pick in the NHL draft. So far in his career, he's played 8 NHL games. Surely, WHL players drafted in a similar position are dominating the NHL on a nightly basis.
61st-Johnny Boychuk, defenseman, Calgary- 0 NHL games played.
69th-Erik Christensen, forward, Kamploops- 94 NHL games played.
73rd-Barry Brust, goalie, Spokane-11 NHL games played
74th-Todd Ford, goalie, Swift Current-O NHL games played
77th-Patrick Wellar, defenseman, Portland-O NHL games played
92nd-Derek Krestanovich, forward, Moose Jaw-0 NHL games played
52rd-Kiel McLeod, forward, Kelowna-0 NHL games played
58th-Nathan Paetsch, defenseman, Moose Jaw-64 NHL games played
59th-Matt Keith, forward, Spokane- 24 NHL games played
68th-Grant McNeill, defenseman, Prince Albert-3 NHL games played
74th-Chris Heid, defenseman, Spokane-0 NHL games played
77th-Darren McLachlan, forward, Seattle-0 NHL games played
79th-Garth Murray, forward, Regina-99 NHL games played
80th-Michael Garnett, goalie, Saskatoon, 24 NHL games played
52nd-Shane Endicott, forward, Seattle-45 NHL games played
61st-Jakub Cutta, defenseman, Swift Current-8 NHL games played
64th-Philip Novak, defenseman, Regina-17 NHL games played
65th-David Morrissette, forward, Seattle-4 NHL games played
69th-Ben Knopp, forward, Moose Jaw-0 NHL games played
78th-Josef Balej, forward, Portland-18 NHL games played
82nd-Sean O'Connor, forward, Moose Jaw-0 NHL games played
This doesn't mean the WHL is a terrible route, and the NCAA is vastly superior. There are certainly a lot of cases of players that went the college route and were drafted in a similar position. But I think this makes it pretty clear that the WHL's argument of being "the fast track to the pros" is pretty much garbage. Only two players on that list of 21 players have played more than a full season's worth of games in the NHL.
Besides, a comparison of Moffatt to Jason Ryznar seems a bit foolish to me. If Moffatt truly projects to be a top NHL pick, a better comparison would be players like Jonathan Toews, Phil Kessel, Erik Johnson, and Jack Johnson. Did any of those players have a tough time making it to the NHL? Were they slowed down at all by going the college route? So again, I don't see that argument having any sort of merit.