I realize that it is only just over a third of the way through the season, but has anyone else noticed how the development of prospects for the draft seems to have been severely retarded? In previous seasons, it was not uncommon for players to grow ~10 overall in their draft year, yet none of the top 16 rated prospects have grown more than 1 overall. I wouldn't be too concerned with these, as most of them don't have too far to grow to be GHL ready, but this spurred me into looking at the junior leagues, particularly younger players not eligible for the draft this year (15 and 16 years old). The results are very similar. Of age 15 and 16 players in the USJHL, only 10 have grown more than 1 overall so far, (8 of which have grown 2, one 3, and one 4). I think this is a serious concern, as growing 1 overall at this point in the season translates to growing about 3 overall in the entire season. Not only that, but you have to remember that these are age 15 and 16 seasons, when players should be growing the most. Since there are 3 seasons between player generation and draft, we would expect players to grow between 0 and 9 overall between generation and draft at the current rate. Since players generally start in the 40s and 50s overall, I am afraid that this would mean that virtually no players drafted will ever be GHL ready (especially since their development slows after age 15/16), essentially rendering the draft worthless. Assuming a player is generated at 50 overall and 80 overall is GHL ready (which is a really generous estimate as to the starting point and a conservative estimate on being GHL ready), a player would need to be growing 10 overall per pre-draft season to be GHL ready their draft year (one fifteen year old in the entire USJHL, who started at 44 OVA, is on this development pace). I know players don't need to be GHL ready in their draft year, but I am still afraid that junior leagues will simply not produce any GHL caliber players, especially since development slows as players get older and their skills get harder to improve on.
I don't know if this change was purposeful or whether this is a bug, but I thought that attention should be brought to it either way.