Sunday, 27 May 2012

Will Danny Kristo spurn the Canadiens, like Justin Schultz with the Ducks?

Some Canadiens fans are worried that Danny Kristo's decision to not turn pro this summer but rather return to the University of North Dakota is a bad portend of things to come.  They liken it to the Justin Schultz situation with the Anaheim Ducks.  Mr. Schultz is setting up to become an unrestricted free agent by spurning Anaheim's offers, and who can blame a player in his shoes for choosing his own future as opposed to having it dictated to him by the NHL's rules?

In Danny Kristo's case though, I am not concerned.  He has never expressed any reluctance to join the Canadiens, as Justin Shultz has with the Ducks. His reasons for going back to school is that for him playing at the University of North Dakota is a boyhood dream. His options are taking a year off hockey to become a UFA, signing with the Canadiens and playing in Hamilton next season, or playing another season at UND and shoot for a Frozen Four berth and even a national championship.  It shouldn't be seen as a bad omen that he chooses to stick with his team and teammates and takes another shot at a title.
His links to the Canadiens are not strong, but neither are they tenuous. He’s good buddies with Louis Leblanc, having roomed with him in the USHL. He also played this season with Mark MacMillan at UND, so it’s likely that the two Canadiens draft picks talked to each other about the Grand Club.
His goalie at UND, Aaron Dell, had a tryout at the Canadiens development camp last season, and there was a rumour that he had signed a contract, but ultimately he returned to UND for his final season. Mr. Dell will be back at the development camp this summer, and it’s not unlikely that he may be offered a contract that he accepts.
Taking all this in consideration, with the fact that there will be a flood of rookies joining Hamilton this fall, he made a good decision to follow his heart back to UND, which won’t hurt him since he hasn’t dominated competition at the college level to the point that he doesn’t have anything left to learn there.


  1. Do you think the new CBA will eliminate the clause that has allowed the likes of Wheeler, Kessel, Gregoire and now Schultz to withdraw from school in order to become free agents? Also, by staying in school for four years Kristo should graduate a year from now, thus preventing him from officially withdrawing and utilizing the aforementioned clause.

    As for Dell, he still has one year of eligibility remaining at UND, but most around here fully expect him to sign a pro contract this summer.

  2. I'm sure the owners will try to close that loophole, but the players will push back hard. I use the term loophole, but it's more of an onerous escape clause. Same as for junior players who can wait out two years before being able to re-enter the draft, if a NCAA player wants to avoid signing a contract with the team that drafted him, he has to sit out for four years when he could conceivably have been earning pretty big money. Most players won't have the stones to do that.

    I expect the owners to squeeze the players on their guaranteed portion of league revenues, which were 57% but which the NBA and NFL have hammered down to 50% in their latest agreements. Another big piece the owners will want to roll back is allowing players to become free agents at age 27 or earlier. They gave that right to players in exchange for the salary cap, but now they want to peg it back up to 29 or 30. In light of this, I can see them wanting to eliminate the out clauses, so that a player has to sign with the team that drafts him, no ifs ands or buts.

  3. As far as Aaron Dell is concerned, I'd appreciate any intel. He had a good development camp with the Canadiens, to the point where it was tweeted that he'd accepted a contract, which was quickly denied and hushed up. He may have gotten cold feet, changed his mind and didn't want any trouble with the NCAA.

    He will attend the next Canadiens dev camp, and it wouldn't be surprising if they did sign him. The organization is devoid of talent in nets, with no one in juniors developing, and the AHL incumbents being seen as not likely NHL material.

  4. I've heard that it's a foregone conclusion Dell will be signing a pro contract this summer. North Dakota has graduated one goalie, and has a freshman and a junior transfer coming in next season. If Dell opted to return to school, UND would have four goaltenders, three of which would be fully capable of starting.

    I would be VERY surprised if Dell didn't sign as all signs point in that direction. And Montreal has to be the leading candidate IMO, particularly considering the "flirtation" last summer and that he will again be attending the Canadiens' development camp this summer. If I hear anything else, I'll be sure to share.

  5. Good to have a source at UND. Keep us updated on how Mark MacMillan is doing.