So You’re Drafted, But Now What?

So you’re drafted, but now what?
You had a great camp, but you’re not ready?
You got sent back, but what are you going to do to get better?
How are you going to handle the situation?
Are you going to take it as a challenge?
What are you going to do to get better each and every day?
It might be an observation, but most drafted prospects see it as a challenge to get better while others take it as a demotion. That’s the harsh reality for many young prospects returning to the Midget ranks.
Many of these young players are so close to their dream of playing at the next level, that when they get cut or released they take it or see it all wrong.

Many believe they will come back down and dominate and pad their stats, that’s their main focus, dominate and score.
Their main focus and the focus of their coaching staff should be working on their weaknesses and refining their game so they become a complete player for the following year.
A return to Midget should be about development, getting extra touches, gaining confidence, growing as a player and person, but that doesn’t mean not to pass the puck.
You can be the “go to” player without being selfish.
So many drafted players come back and never really improve, because their priorities are all out of whack.
On some occasions these drafted prospects regress because of awful habits that creep into their game especially if their coaches expect or demand increased offensive output.
Call me old school, but when a player returns they should be given every opportunity to develop the skill set they need to excel at the next level, if that isn’t happening then the coaches are doing the player a disservice.
I guess it all comes back to philosophy. It all comes back to winning.
Playing the shit out of “star” players or drafted “second years” “just because” makes absolutely zero sense to me. Drafted players returning to the Midget ranks should have their role defined right away, they should be challenged and put in situations that they will see at the next level.
To be brutally honest this is on the coaches, the Major Junior organization and last, but certainly not least on the player to ensure that continual and meaningful development and growth occurs.
Drafted prospects shouldn’t rot in a horrible situation, they should flourish and grow, they should get better every time out.
Growth occurs when the player works constantly on their weaknesses and refines aspects of the game they need to play and be an impact player at the next level.
People will debate endlessly about a return to Midget vs playing Junior A or sticking with a Major Junior team as a 16.
That debate might be controversial, but on many accounts it’s mostly people that have no idea or zero clue about the game or what it takes to be successful at the next level that bitch and complain. To each their own, but when I evaluate or watch drafted players play in their second year, I’m already projecting them on a Major Junior roster and let me tell you there’s a lot of holes in a lot of their games. Unfortunately, many of them aren’t getting the reinforcement they need to get better due in large part to winning overshadowing development.
Everyone has their own unique path in the game, it’s my hope that all of these young players reach their full potential and grow their passion for the game each and every time they step on the ice.

To all the drafted prospects,
Keep working hard, make sure you’re getting better every day, push yourself, you might be disappointed that you didn’t make it, but next time you go up, make sure they can’t afford to send you back.
There’s value in character and hard work, never lose sight of that, but more importantly work on your weaknesses and become a multidimension player. Ask yourself every day what type of player do you want to be at the next level and What will it take to get there?
So you’re drafted, but now what?

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