USHL Tenders: Risks and Rewards

Following the NTDP Evaluation Camp, many top prospects in the U.S. and Canada will be offered tenders to USHL clubs. With the draft only a few weeks out, more and more players signing tenders, including Alex Gaffney, Ruben Rafkin, Colby Ambrosio, Chase Bradley and Wyatt Schingoethe signing with Waterloo.

A tender is a binding contract between a player and USHL organization, where the team gives up a first-round pick for rights to that player. By signing a tender, a player can sign with the team before the draft and earn a roster spot and certain percentage of games for the following season. Without signing a tender, there is no guarantee a drafted player will be in the lineup the following season.

Last year Robert Mastrosimone tendered with the Chicago Steel and was put right in the lineup at the beginning of the season. But Grant Silianoff, the first overall pick in Phase I of the USHL Draft, only played a few games with Cedar Rapids.

A team may want to use a tender on players who can help their organization but could be possibly drafted earlier by a different team. For players, it takes away the uncertainty of where they will be drafted and gives them more power in the decision-making process.

In 2016, Jaxon Nelson tendered with Sioux Falls because it was close to home. If he hadn’t tendered and had been drafted by a different team, he may not have gone to the USHL at all. But with tenders, teams are gambling on whether players are ready and willing to play in the USHL the next season.

Some people measure the success of a tender based on if that player made the NHL or how many points the player scored. We looked at the short-term success in the USHL and long-term success following the USHL.

There have been 48 Tenders since the league decided to adopt this rule in 2012. Below is a list of each player who was tendered, the team that tendered them and corresponding statistics and information.

 

Tenders First Year in the League 2012-2017

Name Year Team GP Goals Points Plus/Minus
Robert Mastrosimone 2017 Chicago 60 16 45 2
Trevor Kuntar 2017 Youngstown 43 2 4 -8
Emilio Petterson 2016 Omaha 57 10 27 -32
Curtis Hall 2016 Youngstown 59 7 21 7
Jaxon Nelson 2016 Sioux Falls 54 7 18 -13
Christian Krygier 2016 Lincoln 50 2 5 9
Calen Kiefiuk 2016 Bloomington 52 4 11 -4
TJ Walsh 2016 Cedar Rapids 47 8 16 -21
Sampo Ranta 2016 Sioux City – 2 30 6 9 -2
Jack Randl 2016 Omaha-2 59 9 19 -19
Andrei Svechnikov 2016 Muskegon-2 49 29 58 29
Max Ellis 2016 Youngstown-2 49 5 16 5
Baron Thompson 2015 Dubuque 26 2 4 2
Joey Keane 2015 Dubuque 55 2 11 12
Liam Walsh 2015 Cedar Rapids 13 2 3 1
Graham Lillibridge 2015 Muskegon 47 1 12 0
Brandon McManus 2015 Omaha 58 17 39 -11
Eeli Tolvanen 2015 Sioux City 49 17 38 -14
Mikey Anderson 2015 Waterloo 57 1 16 6
Jacob Tortora* 2015 Youngstown* *NTDP
Hugh McGing 2014 Cedar Rapids 54 11 19 -4
Derek Daschke 2014 Cedar Rapids -2 55 3 12 9
William Knierim 2014 Dubuque 60 12 28 -6
Mitch Elliot 2014 Muskegon 58 0 4 1
Hank Crone 2014 Omaha 54 2 11 -6
Sam Rossini 2014 Waterloo 44 1 5 -4
Ty Farmer 2014 Youngstown 39 0 5 2
Cameron Askew 2013 Indiana *QMJH
Chaz Switzer 2013 Muskegon 23 0 1 0
Tory Dello 2013 Tri City 46 2 7 -6
Christian Cakebread 2013 Fargo 44 8 15 -33
Ivan Provorov 2013 Cedar Rapids 56 6 19 -6
Jake Henderson 2013 Omaha 57 7 20 -7
Brent Gates Jr 2013 Green Bay 50 11 15 5
Aaron O’Neil 2013 Green Bay-2 32 1 2 -2
Dennis Smirnov 2013 Indiana-2 47 15 41 20
Paul O’Connor 2012 Cedar Rapids 37 0 4 -3
Chris Birdsall 2012 Cedar Rapids -2
Keegan Ford 2012 Dubuque 43 4 16 19
Seamus Malone 2012 Dubuque 50 6 27 12
Butrus Ghafari 2012 Fargo 48 1 7 14
Brendan Lemieux 2012 Green Bay 11 1 2 -2
Jake Linhart 2012 Green Bay-2 58 1 7 -1
Joshua Jacobs 2012 Indiana 48 2 15 -5
Ryan Tait 2012 Omaha 56 3 18 -7
Ryan Mantha 2012 Sioux City 52 1 7 15
Kyle Connor 2012 Youngstown 62 17 41 -17
JJ Piccinich 2012 Youngstown-2 63 3 15 -14

Averages                 48             6               16                  -2         

 

USHL Tenders Second Year in the League 2012-2017

Name Year Team GP Goals Points (+/-)
Robert Mastrosimone 2017 Chicago *DNQ
Trevor Kuntar 2017 Youngstown *DNQ
Emilio Petterson 2016 Omaha 60 14 46 4
Curtis Hall 2016 Youngstown 54 13 31 -4
Jaxon Nelson 2016 Sioux Falls 58 8 17 -2
Christian Krygier 2016 Lincoln 48 0 8 10
Calen Kiefiuk 2016 Bloomington 60 18 46 -21
TJ Walsh 2016 Cedar Rapids 32 2 8 -11
Sampo Ranta 2016 Sioux City – 2 53 23 37 -14
Jack Randl 2016 Omaha-2 49 20 32 11
Andrei Svechnikov 2016 Muskegon-2 *Went OHL
Max Ellis 2016 Youngstown-2 58 17 38 -4
Baron Thompson 2015 Dubuque *Went WHL
Joey Keane 2015 Dubuque *Went OHL
Liam Walsh 2015 Cedar Rapids 48 4 6 -7
Graham Lillibridge 2015 Muskegon 59 4 28 15
Brandon McManus 2015 Omaha 53 18 39 6
Eeli Tolvanen 2015 Sioux City 52 30 54 18
Mikey Anderson 2015 Waterloo 54 5 34 29
Jacob Tortora* 2015 Youngstown* *NTDP
Hugh McGing 2014 Cedar Rapids 60 23 51 32
Derek Daschke 2014 Cedar Rapids -2 60 2 13 -12
William Knierim 2014 Dubuque 53 14 27 -2
Mitch Elliot 2014 Muskegon 55 5 13 -7
Hank Crone 2014 Omaha 62 17 41 -5
Sam Rossini 2014 Waterloo 46 2 8 1
Ty Farmer 2014 Youngstown 19 3 6 2
Cameron Askew 2013 Indiana *QMJHL
Chaz Switzer 2013 Muskegon 50 0 4 -2
Tory Dello 2013 Tri City 53 2 17 9
Christian Cakebread 2013 Fargo 46 3 4 -12
Ivan Provorov 2013 Cedar Rapids *Went WHL
Jake Henderson 2013 Omaha * Went OHL
Brent Gates Jr 2013 Green Bay 33 10 27 -9
Aaron O’Neil 2013 Green Bay-2 41 1 2 -17
Dennis Smirnov 2013 Indiana-2 53 18 40 -4
Paul O’Connor 2012 Cedar Rapids *NAHL-Minot St
Chris Birdsall 2012 Cedar Rapids -2
Keegan Ford 2012 Dubuque 60 1 17 -13
Seamus Malone 2012 Dubuque 55 23 46 10
Butrus Ghafari 2012 Fargo 41 1 6 -5
Brendan Lemieux 2012 Green Bay *Went OHL (in rookie season)
Jake Linhart 2012 Green Bay-2 58 2 20 7
Joshua Jacobs 2012 Indiana 56 5 23 36
Ryan Tait 2012 Omaha 59 16 29 9
Ryan Mantha 2012 Sioux City 53 3 15 11
Kyle Connor 2012 Youngstown 56 31 74 -15
JJ Piccinich 2012 Youngstown-2 60 27 58 -12
Averages: 52 10 27 1

 

Based on this chart, we can see that three tendered players (Kyle Connor, Ivan Provorov, Eeli Tolvanen) have played in the NHL. All but two have played in the CHL or Division I college hockey. Two players never played in the USHL, only one goaltender has been tendered and only one player has averaged a point per game or more in their rookie season.

Some players have had great success, some have had mediocre and some have struggled in their rookie years. But players have shown considerable improvement in their second years, at times almost doubling their rookie-season point totals.

Of the 48 players who were tendered, only 12 played a third season in the league. So 25 percent of players play one season or less, 50 percent play two seasons and 25 percent play three seasons or more. This means teams will most likely tender players who will play two seasons or less, and that players will not have an extreme impact in their rookie campaigns.

When players tender with teams, they indicate they are choosing the USHL over their high school, prep or midget teams. Most players will see limited ice time in their first year. While in the USHL players may sacrifice playing time, they will be able to work out, practice and play with some of the top prospects in the country.

While some may say it’s important for players to tender and complete their rookie year so they hit their stride in draft year, thinking about the draft year is short-sighted.

 

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images