The Ottawa Senators have now stripped down their roster to the bare bones and have basket full of draft picks and young roster players. The question is what do you do they do now? The General Manager speaks of Player Development, and most of the hockey public nod their head and buy into the phrase. What is the definition of player development?
Player Development consists of four key areas:
Technical: Passing, Shooting, Skills Moves, Stick Handling, Skating, and Defending.
Tactical: Zone Penetration, Puck Possession, Offensive and Defensive Systems of Play, Points of Attack, Pace of Play.
Physical: Post-game Recovery, Game Day Exercise, Strength Development and Nutrition.
Psychological: Leadership, Discipline, Self-Confidence, Competitive Spirit, Understanding and Developing Team Culture, Increasing Hockey IQ, and Off Ice Habits.
The Ottawa Senators roster is very young and trying to find their way in the world of professional sports. Fifty-six percent of the roster is twenty-five or younger. The average salary of these players is 1,291,000 dollars. I just have to wonder what the Development Staff is doing to help these players off the ice. Do they have people mentoring them? Do they offer them Life Coaches? Do they offer the services of a Chef and a Nutritionist so they have the necessary fuel to play and compete at the highest level? Making 1.2 million a year and being 20 years old can lead you down a path that disrupts the focus you should have. Players are assets and must be developed and protected so you get maximum value. Right now they have bought low, but in 5 to 8 years these assets will be sold at a higher price. That is the trend in professional hockey.
I look at this group of players and keep seeing Kevin from the Home Alone movie. He wakes up and is in a big house all by himself and has to fend for himself.
Hopefully, the Development staffs are investing in the fourth area as much as they are in the first three because without the fourth they are not getting maximum value out of the first three.