March 04, 2018

The Next Generation of Canadian Hockey Players

There's an interesting trend in hockey right now, and it is a trend Canada will not like. Canada is no longer developing the best players in the world.

Look at the top ten prospects in the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft, according to Sportsnet:

  1. Rasmus Dahlin, Sweden
  2. Filip Zadina, Czech Republic
  3. Andrei Svechnikov, Russia
  4. Brady Tkachuk, USA
  5. Adam Boqvist, Sweden
  6. Oliver Wahlstrom, USA
  7. Noah Dobson, Canada
  8. Evan Bouchard, Canada
  9. Quinn Hughes, USA
  10. Barrett Hayton, Canada
Now is it just a bad year for Canada, or a trend? In 2017 Canada only had 12 players picked in the 31 pick first round of the NHL draft. Same in 2016  and 2015 (in 30 pick rounds). These are historically very poor numbers.

Making it matters worse, it looks like half of those 2015 picks are teetering on bust status. Maybe it's a little early to make that statement. And we certainly won't make any judgment on 2016 or 2017 yet.

Aside from Connor McDavid and maybe Mathew Barzal, I don't know if Canada has any youth good enough to crack the 2022 Canadian Olympic team, presuming NHLers return for the Beijing Games. 

That's also bad news for Canada. Sidney Crosby will be in his 17th season by then. Jonathan Toews is already slowing down. Aside from Matt Murray, there is currently no one on the radar to replace Carey Price or Braden Holtby. Where is the next wave that has always pushed Canada to the top?

Meanwhile other nations, notably Sweden and especially America, have an abundance of emerging youth ready to take over the hockey world.

Canada will be preparing another hockey summit in a few years. The soul searching should begin now.

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