«On essaie de ne pas trop s’emballer...»

«On essaie de ne pas trop s’emballer…»

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Regardless of where Shane Wright, Juraj Slafkovsky and Logan Cooley are drafted, it’s almost a certainty that they will be called to the podium early in the class. On the other hand, other hopefuls are in the void and completely unaware of whether they will find takers.

This is also the repechage. Dreams that don’t come true.

“There are a lot of players present who don’t get drafted,” said agent Gerry Johannson. Wanting to be drafted is a major problem in hockey.

There was a time when the amateur draft was held in hotel conference rooms, especially in Montreal. Most players didn’t show up and the public wasn’t admitted until 1980 – the last year in which the Montreal Canadiens were first ever selected overall in an auction.

The session was held in a single day and stretched, at one point, over 12, 15, 16 or… 18 rounds! Eligible players often learned that a team had set their sights on them in the newspapers, on the radio, or from relatives. A stark contrast to the era of social media and lucrative TV deals.

The old days are over, to be sure, and the modernization of the draft over the years has turned it into a major two-day media event and many young people experience overwhelming angst at the specter of not hearing their name spoken. on the floor.

Add to this circus the fact that each team writes its own list based on reports from their Canadian, American and European scouts.

“The regulations have changed, so we have adopted a new strategy,” said agent Don Meehan. It’s hard to distinguish these days where a player will be drafted and we find it very difficult to tell certain young men to attend the second day of the draft.

The Quebec agent Allain Roy agrees with his counterpart from Newport Sports: “When you talk to the (32) teams, you can end up with anyone”.

Meehan is among the most seasoned in his profession. He has experienced the evolution of the amateur draft and wants to avoid advising his young clients to come to the event if they are unsure.

“We have a policy that we urge players and their families, unless they are first and second round candidates, to stay home instead of waiting for the draft.”

Slafkovsky waiting

Johannson is the representative of Slafkofsky, best international skater and possibly the one that the Habs will welcome on the Bell Center stage with the very first right to speak, this Thursday.

Like all experts, the agent has seen the enthusiasm that the Slovak arouses and the leaps he has made in the rankings of hopes.

“At first he was just seen as a young player. With its performance in the second half of the year, it is exceptional (off the charts), he points out.

“Everyone had a good impression of him. Now he is seen as the first, second or third prospect that will be taken. It’s interesting.”

Last week, Johannson said he did not know who will target his protege on Thursday, or at what rank. The philosophy at The Sports Corporation: not to attach too much importance to the order of selection of a cuvée.

“We pay attention to it, but we try not to get too carried away. We don’t care about the selection rank, ”he insists, citing the example of one of these clients drafted in the third round in 2014.

“I asked Brayden Point ‘if I could turn you into a first-round pick, would you accept?’ and his answer was “no!”.

“A moment in time”

First and foremost, Johannson tells his clients to have fun and not indulge in faulty inductions, that the amateur auction is just a “moment in time” and that camp performance training will dictate what happens next.

“We are watching how everything is going. We’ll see what comes of it. You must live with the rank in which you are taken.

According to Allain Roy, several players who hoped to belong to the chosen ones in the first round are disappointed when they are not selected as high as they hoped.

“Our role is to support them, to explain to them that it is only one day. Whether it’s a 15th overall pick or a 50th, you go to camp like everyone else and you work. You might have a better chance at camp if you’re a first-round pick, but you show up first. That’s what counts.”

Conversely, for the person who will be alongside European hopeful Julian Lutz, when a hopeful does not find a buyer during the auction, the role of the representative becomes more human.

“It’s disappointing for everyone. Most young people go to the draft with their families and feel something deeper as they come to terms with the disappointment of what’s going on.”

TVA Sports and TVA Sports direct present the first round of the repechage on Thursday at 7 p.m.

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