Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More on Chase Drake

As was mentioned earlier, Badger recruit Chase Drake was traded from Green Bay of the USHL to Sioux City. It was a bit of a surprising move especially being a kid who is from state of Wisconsin.

I got a chance to speak with Chase earlier today and he explained that the coaches from Green Bay just didn't feel he was aggressive enough. "They thought i was a good USHL defensemen but due to my style of play and me not being aggressive enough that it wouldn't' work out for me in Green Bay."

He add's in that talent definitly wasn't an issue, "They said that skill wise i was top 3 on the d-core. But because I let the play come to me instead of going to the play, that I would drop down to the 6th or 7th d which would jepordize playing time, and my margin for improvement so they looked to see if any teams were interested."

Sioux City jumped at the opportunity to land the defenseman who is still raw, but holds loads of upside, and Drake sounds excited for the new opportunity, "Sioux City was very interested since the Asst. coaches were from Des Moines last year and they wanted to draft me. In the end it works out and I'm going to a place that wants and needs me."

Chucks Analysis: Cooper (Green bay's new head coach and GM) is definitely turning the Gamblers into "his team." Green Bay returns only 6 players off last seasons disappointing last place finish. He set the tone right away trading a very talented core of players in a blockbuster deal that saw goaltender (and wisconsin recruit) Aaron Crandall, Jacob Youso (Minnesota) and Joe Gleason (North Dakota) go to Des Moines in exchange for the rights to Jefferson Dahl (Wisconsin) as well as their first round (#2 overall, Reid Ellingson from Northern Michigan) and third round (#23 overall, Reed Seckel) picks in the 2008 draft.

After the blockbuster draft trade was announced, Cooper talked about getting Dahl and how it was special to bring a Wisconsin kid to Green Bay and how the trend was going to continue. Obviously it must not be THAT big of a factor in his decision making process since Drake, as we all know is from Mosinee, Wisconsin.

Last season, which was Drakes senior season at Mosinee, he had offerers to play hockey outside of high school. Drake felt that his Mosinee squad had a great opportunity to get to the state hockey tournament (which they did) and do some damage. After the season was over, he was presented with an opportunity to play in the USHL with a few teams. This is a common occurance, and can help both parties.

For the team, if they get a kid like Drake in the lineup for 10 or more games at the end of the season, they don't have to use a draft pick on him after the season. Any less and his rights are available to anyone in the draft. Essentially he's a free draft selection. The player gets the bonus of not only getting in great experience of 10 games in the best junior league in the country before he has to play a full season there, but he can also pick and choose from the teams that are presenting him this offer, instead of not knowing where he would end up in the USHL draft. (Honestly, no one want's to play for Chicago) Drake, who also plays baseball, chose Green Bay so that he could still go to Mosinee high school during the week, play baseball, and go to Green bay on the last few weekends and play for the Gamblers.

Why Drake should be pissed: He helped out Green Bay by playing in those last 10 games of the season and saving them a draft pick. He could have very easily chosen a team that was far better than Green Bay. Add in the fact that Cooper talks about how he wants to get and keep Wisconsin kids and goes out and trades you, a Wisconsin player, and UW recruit? It also puts a burden on his family and friends who were planning on making a nice trip to Green Bay to see him on the weekends to play close with the Gamblers.

Why Drake should be excited: I still don't think Green Bay is going to be any good this season. Sioux City should be a better squad at least on paper. I'm also not sold on Cooper. Green Bay didn't hire the best candidate, I think that much is obvious in my opinion. They should have hired Luke Strand, current assistant coach with the Houston Aeros. (Minnesota Wild AHL affiliate) Strand was a former assistant of Mike Osiecki's with the Gamblers. He also was an assistant at National D-3 powerhouse St. Norberts. He moved onto the head coaching job at his alma matter UW-Eau Claire and did a fantastic job in 2 seasons before being offered a job that he couldn't refuse in the American Hockey League. Strand was a finalist for Green Bay and should have gotten the job. Another reason to be excited is that he's going to a team that actually want's him. Lot's of times when new coaches like Cooper come in, there is a lot of animosity between the old vets and the new guys that Cooper has brought in. Sioux City should offer calmer waters for Drake to settle into.

Overall, I think this will turn into a good thing for Drake. He goes to a situation that is a lot better team wise with Sioux City and it is probably the first time in his hockey career that he has experienced some turmoil. It will be good for him to go through the experience of being traded. He will also be more prepared living further away from his family. While it sucks that they probably won't be able to see him play as much, he should become more independent and better prepared for college once he comes to Wisconsin.