Headline Hockey

Rookie Duties: 2010 NHL Entry Draft Recap

For any of you who have been following my work from the beginning, you know that this past year has definitely been a good one for me, my company, and our clients. Just over a year out of law school, I found myself preparing for my first of many NHL Drafts to come – something I didn’t’ think I’d be doing for three or four years. But as with everything in life, sooner or later you’re going to run into some difficult times. In case you weren’t following along this past Saturday, we faced a minor speed bump when Kuchin wasn’t selected in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. In the long run, this really won’t mean anything, as our plans for Kuchin’s career are staying exactly the same. If anything, it’s just a small emotional let down that Kuch and I will just have to bounce back from. Possibly my favorite quote of all time is that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. I’ve always been a person with a little bit of a stubborn streak, who’s heavily motivated when faced with adversity – tell me I can’t do something and I’ll show you that I can. After this weekend, I have added another professional goal for the 2010-11 season: show the NHL clubs that they made a big mistake by passing on Kuchin.

Now don’t me wrong, I don’t have any bad feelings towards any of the NHL clubs I’ve dealt with. On the contrary, for the most part the guys I’ve been fortunate enough to work with have been outstanding, and I couldn’t thank them enough for their help and efforts. It’s just one of those things that didn’t work out this year, and as I said, it’s just another piece of motivation for both Kuchin and I leading into this upcoming hockey season.

Despite the fact that Kuchin didn’t get picked up over the weekend, I had a LOT of work this past week in preparation  for the Draft. For this week’s entry, I decided that instead of me giving you my week in the usual format, I’d highlight some of the more interesting parts of my days leading up to, and going through, the 2010 NHL Entry Draft:

Thursday, June 24

4:14pm: I receive a text from an NHL scout I’m fairly close with and whose team has expressed interest in Kuchin over the past couple months. He just landed in L.A. and wants to talk – says he’ll try to give me a call when he gets a second. I don’t end up getting the call back, but it doesn’t matter – I know he’s busy, and just the fact that he wants to speak with me is a good sign.

7:43pm: With all the NHL guys in Los Angeles busy prepping for Day 1, there’s not a whole lot I can do right now. Obviously I want to be aggressive when promoting my client, but sometimes you have to respect boundaries and I know that tomorrow night will be the time to make my last pitch. With the Draft weighing heavily on me, and all my prep work taken care of, I decide to take the rest of the night off to relax with Lindsey, and hopefully get some sleep.

Friday, June 25 – NHL Entry Draft Day 1

6:00pm: The 2010 NHL Draft is underway. With the first overall pick the Edmonton Oilers select Taylor Hall from the Windsor Spitfires.

7:40pm: Goaltender Jack Campell (USA NTDP) gets taken by the Dallas Stars with the 11th overall pick. It feels like it was just yesterday when I was watching Kuch snap one just off the inside of the post, beating him short side.

10:15pm: The first round has concluded. Two things that surprised me were the fact that John McFarland of the Sudbury Wolves (OHL) and Stas Galiev of the St. John Sea Dogs (QMJHL) aren’t taken. There were three Russians selected in the first round: Alex Burmistrov (8th overall, Atlanta), Vladimir Tarasenko (16th overall, St. Louis), and Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th overall, Washington). Since I know that Kuchin’s going to have to wait at least until a few certain other Russian players are taken, I’m just hoping this pace continues on Day 2.

Saturday, June 26 – NHL Entry Draft Day 2

12:43am: Just got home after spending some QT with Lindsey and it’s time to get to work. Now that the first round is over, I need to send out emails to all the NHL teams so that they’ll have Kuchin on their minds come Day 2. Each email I send includes a digital copy of Kuchin’s marketing packet so they’ll have it on hand. I don’t want to send out a mass email that lacks the personal touch, so I send specifically tailored emails to each team. While I think this means a lot more, it’s pretty tedious and time consuming.

5:27am: I just finished up the last of my emails. Completely exhausted, I finally head to bed for a few hours.

8:45am: Morning alarm goes off – it’s time to get back to work. I check my phone and I’ve already gotten some responses back from the emails I sent out. Some teams let me know they’re not interested, some politely thank me and tell me that we’ll just have to see how it goes.

9:29am – 10:14am: I make my follow up calls to the teams that have expressed interest in Kuchin. The first two teams I call don’t answer, so I’m forced to leave a voicemail. The second day of the Draft starts at 12:00pm CST, so I’m not surprised. Fortunately, the next five teams I call answer. Although one scout rushes me off the phone, the other four give me a few minutes of their time. I feel good after speaking with them – once again I at least know that Kuchin will be in the back of their minds.

10:33am: I send out a “good luck” text to one last scout. He works for a team that I’m pretty sure isn’t interested in Kuchin, but he’s a good guy that I grew pretty close with over the past season. I get a pretty quick response back letting him know that he brought Kuchin up in their meeting the night before and that he’d be sure to mention him again. By no means does that mean the team’s now seriously considering him, but it helps to have someone on the inside pushing for your guy.

12:00pm: Round two begins as Edmonton selects Tyler Pitlick from Minnesota State (WCHA) with the 31st overall pick.

2:16pm: It’s already in the fifth round and while Kuchin’s still on the board, I’m not nervous yet. I send a few texts to some of the scouts asking what their respective clubs are thinking about Kuchin. At this point most of the teams let me know that they still have a few guys who they’d take before Kuch. If those guys aren’t there when the clubs’ sixth or seventh round selections come up, they let me know there’s a chance they’ll go with Kuchin. The only problem is that each guy I talk with is only one of maybe ten people in the selection committee. While they’ll bring Kuchin’s name up, one person can only control so much.

3:10pm: It’s late in the sixth round and I’m starting to get a little anxious. I send out one last text asking four of the teams if they’ll burn their seventh round picks on Kuchin. Two teams let me know that it’s not likely, and as their selections pass, it starts to sink in that Kuchin might not go at all. One scout lets me know that his team is sending their final pick off in a trade that hasn’t been announced yet. Chicago had expressed some interest, and they hold the last pick of the Draft – probably our only legit shot at getting him selected.

3:24pm: I see that Bruins Twitter account has announced that they’ve acquired Chicago’s final pick in the draft. I’d spoken with Boston a few times, but by now I’m not feeling too confident.

3:39pm: With the last pick, Boston takes Zach Trotman from Lake Superior State College (CCHA) and thus the 2010 NHL Draft has come to an end.

After a few minutes passed, I gave Kuchin a call. He seemed disappointed but not discouraged. He’s gone through this before and he knows that he can come back even stronger this season. Just like me, Kuch wants nothing more than to show the NHL teams they made a mistake passing him up.

As I mentioned, while Kuchin not getting selected was a bit of an emotional let down, in the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t mean much. Regardless of his draft status, Kuchin still would be playing another year of Junior hockey and looking to sign a pro contract next spring.

I took the rest of Saturday night to relax and unwind with Lindsey after a long couple days. It was nice to be able to take my mind off things for a bit, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have the wheels turning somewhere in the back of my mind.

Yesterday for the most part was spent sending out emails to the teams I’d been in contact with throughout the weekend. Even though Kuchin didn’t get selected, most of the guys I’ve been dealing with have been great. The days of the Draft are complete chaos for those involved, and words can’t express how thankful I am for them taking the time to keep me in the loop.

Well as if the NHL Draft wasn’t enough action for one week, this Tuesday, the annual CHL Import Draft will be held online. One of the Russian clients I picked up during the Steel camp should be going in the first round, but I still have to speak with the coach today and confirm that he’ll come over to Canada to skate when he gets selected. To complicate things a bit (do you see a trend here?), as with Kuchin, he also has a year left on his Russian contract, so I’ll have to get in touch with his club in Moscow and start working on getting a transfer card from them.

On top of all that, I’ve got to get a hold of Zhamnov today regarding my trip to Moscow and possibly getting Szypura into their KHL camp. Having to get a Visa for travel over to Russia makes planning your trip a lot more difficult, so I’m hoping that Vityaz will end up sponsoring a Business Visa for me – at least that should speed up the process.  If all goes well, I should be heading to Moscow around July 20th or so and then flying back to Chicago with Kuchin on August 11th. And I’m sure I don’t have to explain once again that since I’m making plans in advance, I’m sure they’ll end up changing in some respect.

Well with another busy week ahead of me, it’s time to get back to work. Before I go, I want to give a quick, early Happy Birthday wish to Lindsey. Saturday’s the big day so it should be a nice, fun weekend. And thanks to all of you who sent good luck wishes this weekend and followed along as the Draft progressed. Having such a great support system is a big reason why I’ve been able to find the success that I have so far. But all this is just the beginning…both for me and Kuch. I hope you all have a great week in store for you, a safe Fourth of July weekend, and until next week…it’s time to hit the showers.