Thursday, February 26, 2009

NTDP Partners With USHL

Well this is being reported all over the Internet now so it's not exactly "news" to you die hards out there but for those of you who aren't aware, the NTDP will be a part of the USHL next season. In the past, the NTDP has played a full NAHL schedule.

Team USA will play a full, 60-game schedule in the USHL, as well as maintain its commitment to international and college competition. They will compete for the Anderson Cup in the regular season, and will be a participant in the Clark Cup playoffs. Team USA will also participate in the annual USHL Fall Classic, which has evolved to become the most heavily scouted and most significant try-out showcase event in hockey. The USHL expects that nearly 200 scouts will participate in this year's showcase in Sioux City, Iowa, home of the USHL Sioux City Musketeers.

I think this is a great move for the NTDP. They have had a tough time getting all the top end players like they used to and one of the issues is that kids simply don't want to play in the NAHL. For example, a player like Seth Ambroz who would be a lock for the U-17 squad next year is already playing in the USHL. There is no chance he leaves Omaha to go to the NTDP and play in the NAHL. Now, he still might not go to the NTDP but the chances are a LOT higher. Overall this should help them land higher end kids who are wary of playing in the NAHL.

There is also a huge drop off in competition for the kids playing on the U-18 squad. Part the time they are playing against D-1 college programs where the players are between 1-7 years older than they are, part of the time they are playing international competition against the best players in the world in their age group, and the other part of the time they are playing games against the NAHL? It just doesn't add up. Now having that third part of the schedule in the USHL can only help the program.