Sunday, October 13, 2013

NHL Rookie Turkey Dump

It's Canadian Thanksgiving which means it's Turkey Dump time. Defined quite simply as:
"The turkey dump occurs when a college or university student returns home during the Thanksgiving holiday to break up with their significant other from high school."
Translating that to hockey is when NHL rookies get sent back to junior around the 9-game mark (close enough to Canadian Thanksgiving) to save a year on their entry-level contracts and let them get more development with their peers. Due to the transfer agreement between the NHL and CHL, rookies that don't turn 20 before December 31st may only play for either the NHL or their junior team which makes for some difficult decisions for NHL GM's. Some players have already been dumped back to junior like Griffin Reinhart by the New York Islanders, and with most teams already having played 6 games this season there will be many more broken hearts to come.

Here are some of the rookies that might be sent back to play junior hockey to pad their stats on and off the ice:

Connor Carrick, Washington Capitals

Drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Carrick surprised many when he made the opening night roster. Carrick is a mobile, offensive defenceman who scored 12 goals and put up 44 points last year for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL. While Carrick did score his first NHL goal in only 3 games played, the 1-4-0 Capitals already made the decision to dump him to Hershey in the AHL. Carrick can still be sent to Plymouth if he's struggling in the AHL because he wasn't drafted out of the CHL and let that entry-level contract slide.

Morgan Rielly, Toronto Maple Leafs

Many people expected the Leafs to give Rielly a good look before sending the d-man back to the WHL to dominate (and play a major role for Canada at the World Juniors in December). So far Rielly has played 4 games for the Maple Leafs with a stat line of 1 assist and a minus -3 rating while logging 17:24 minutes a game. At times he has looked NHL-ready showing poise and elite skating ability, but at other times he just looks like a kid playing ball hockey against his dad. Rielly is above junior hockey, but the AHL isn't an option and the Leafs just aren't ready for him with too many other NHL-ready defensive options.

Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild

The 7th overall pick from 2012 NHL Entry Draft scored his first NHL goal last night and has showed he will be a pretty decent NHLer one day. Having only averaged just over 12 minutes a night and sitting as the 7th defenceman on the depth chart it might be best for Dumba to play major minutes in junior and just like Morgan Rielly get a chance to play for Canada at the World Juniors. His entry-level contract can slide one more year and we can't see him stealing a job just yet from Marco Scandella or Clayton Stoner.

The Finnish d-man made his way onto the opening roster thanks to a strong preseason and injuries on the Pens blueline, but now it's decision time. Mainly paired up with Roberto Bortuzzo and playing just under 15 minutes a game, it's probably best for Maatta's development to go back to London for another Memorial Cup run. The Pens have plenty of d-men to fill their top 6 and it wouldn't hurt them to return Maatta to the OHL where he can play half the game and gain more confidence as a stud d-man.

Tom Wilson, Washington Capitals

At 6'4" and 210 pounds, Wilson is physically ready for the NHL game, but he is averaging under 7 minutes a night on the 4th line. At 19-years-old, Wilson would benefit from getting some major minutes back in junior and polishing his offensive game with the Plymouth Whalers. There's just no reason to burn a year of a kids contract when he's barely playing and with the Capitals off to a rough start it's not like he's a key piece to their puzzle just yet.


  1. Rielly won't be sent down. He looks like the real deal

    1. He has been decent. But the smart thing would be to send him back to junior and save a year on his rookie contract.


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