First things first, my apologies for going silent throughout the summer. Surely you heard the big news: Ryan Biech, NextGen Hockey co-founder (as well as CanucksArmy managing editor and Athletic contributor), was snatched up by the Vancouver Canucks in a video analysis role.
There’s no way around the fact that this has been a big loss for our young site. Ryan contributed more profiles that anyone else here in advance of the 2019 NHL Draft, and that is void not easily filled.
That said, we always knew that an NHL gig was a possibility, what with Ryan’s clear scouting value and CBA knowledge, and CanucksArmy’s history of launching editors and contributors into NHL gigs. The deal was always that if a gig was offered, you take the plunge and not look back.
For both of us, working with an NHL team, to experience the wins and losses and not just judge them, was always the number one goal. Far be it from me to stand in the way of a friend realizing their dream – I’m just thankful that the Canucks waited until after the draft to make their move, allowing us to provide some of the best draft content around.
For fans of the site, the good news is that all of Ryan’s aforementioned profiles will remain on the site, so no subscriptions will go to waste.
It does, however, leave the future of this site a little uncertain. As of right now, I have no plans to close up shop. Ideally, I’d like to continue to provide draft coverage to the level that we managed over the months leading up to the draft, continuing to lean on the support provided by our additional contributors, and add a few new names to an already formidable roster of prospect analysts.
Given the current circumstances, the plans that we had in mind for the summer and the fall (reviews of drafts classes and prospects pools, among other ideas) have proven a bit of a daunting task without Ryan around. Content during the season will be quite intermittent, though I hope to work back up to profiles next spring for the 2020 draft.
With the situation being as fluid as it is, I will be switching off any automatically recurring subscription payments for site memberships. The next several months will allow us to re-evaluate the feasibility of delivering content at the level we did previously. The idea is that when the 2020 draft begins to near, further subscriptions will be earned on the merit of that year’s unique content.
In the meantime, I have put together a set of preliminary rankings for the 2020 draft, replete with the underlying numbers that we’re known for, as a bonus for those who handed their hard earned money over to us. Those will be showing up here in just a couple of hours.
This year was a whirlwind. We had some pretty big plans, and while we didn’t fulfill all of our goals, I’m extremely proud of what we accomplished – both in terms of what we published, and the career that we launched. I’m excited to see what next year will bring, and who knows, maybe NextGen Hockey can help launch a few others to the next level.
Dad, husband, hockey fan. Founder/analyst/editor/admin of NextGenHockey.ca. Contributor at CanucksArmy and the Nation Network. Blending video analysis and statistical modeling. pGPS, SEAL, etc. The Minnesota Twins are finally good again!