Harvard's Vesey the Latest Reason All Drafts Need Fixing

Published on 09-Jul-2016 by Alan Adamsson
NHL / NHL Daily Update

The NHL's own draft dodger.

If there was ever a propaganda move that all pro sports made brilliantly, it was this:

Convincing both amateur athletes and the public that being drafted is an honor.

Fans buy into the competitive balance concept, which the draft has aided on very few occasions.

  • One of them is not MLB's Houston Astros; they had a good season in 2015, but they're currently 47-41 and out of a playoff spot this season;
  • The NBA's Philadelphia 76ers and their process? Don't go there; and
  • The NFL's Detroit Lions are the living, breathing antithesis of draft impotence, even in a league where parity is rigged into schedules.

The only real advantage to players is the political gravitas that comes with signing bonuses affixed to draft positions.

Yes, the enrichment is good, but the fact that a front-office suit must justify why the team splashed all that cash on a player gives him more chances to succeed than others might have.

Think Johnny Manziel and JaMarcus Russell.

To date, only the most elite of amateurs have beaten the draft's dictates.

The NFL's John Elway and Eli Manning simply refused to play for the club that drafted them, forcing a trade.

Now, it's the NHL's turn, and it has been for a while.

Jimmy Vesey was drafted out of Harvard by the Nashville Predators in 2012, but he never went out of Harvard.

Dude also made it quite clear he wasn't going to Nashville. Not then. Not ever.

So the Buffalo Sabres traded for his rights, and now, they're recruiting him the way an established pro star would expect.

The pressure's on, too, as his four-year servitude to the draft ends on 15 August, and he'll be free to sign with anyone.

Frankly, it's the pro version of how colleges recruit elite athletes out of high school.

The same colleges that manage without a draft. Sorta like the sports leagues everywhere else in the world, where levels of parity have been consistent. And sometimes, surprisingly so.

There has to be a better way to disperse talent fairly, if a draft is the accepted format.

Super sports geek -- and stat god -- Bill James thinks he's found a solution:

Revise the draft so that each player can be selected up to three times, and let the bidding begin, with a bonus cap such as MLB has instituted.

Baking the recruiting process into a draft system at least gives players some sort of choice as to where they start their careers.

It's sure as hell more fair to all parties than what's in place now.

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