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Is That Darn Millennial Culture Key To Vegas Success?

Younger players have been taking over the NHL. Is millennial culture the reason?

by Dan Marrazza @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com

Those darn millennials.

They're so lazy, and won't stop texting. That is unless they're taking a break to put photos of their dinner on Instagram, all while refusing to move out of their parents' basements.

Those darn millennial stereotypes. We've all heard them.

And if you're reading this on your iphone 7 or found this page via a link on social media, there's a decent chance that you are one.

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But while millennial stereotypes are often superficially associated with negative implications, an observation that Golden Knights general manager George McPhee (a baby boomer) made at the World Juniors suggests that millennial culture may be positively impacting hockey players.

That as many experts continue to search for reasons why the average age of NHL players has perpetually dropped over the past 20 years to a mere 26.7-years-old in 2016-17, that it may be millennial culture more than a philosophical change in the sport driving this.

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"I think that young people are better educated in many ways," McPhee said. "Certainly, anything they need to know about the game or learn about the game, whether it's nutrition or training, how to carry yourself or how to play, it's there on the internet at their fingertips."

 

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Entering play on January 5, six of the NHL's top 10 scorers, nine of the top 15 and 14 of the top 25 were born in the 1990s. In other words, it's not only that the league's average age is dropping; a majority of the league's most impactful scorers are even younger than the average league age.

"They play lots of international hockey now," McPhee added. "So the young players get to play in all kinds of tournaments as they're growing up, and understand the game in ways that other generations didn't, in terms of how different countries play the game."

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In hockey, compared to other sports, success is more significantly correlated to Entry Draft success, as opposed to trades and free agency. In fact, for 10 of the past 11 Stanley Cup champions, the team's leading scorer was acquired by his team through the NHL Entry Draft.

This trend dictates that as the Golden Knights stock the franchise with players this June and in coming years, even despite a favorable Expansion Draft format, that any team success Vegas has will be dependent on its ability to acquire talent in the NHL Entry Draft.

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That the recently passed World Juniors, perhaps even more than current NHL games, might be what influences any success that the Golden Knights ever have.

All thanks to that darn millennial culture.

McPhee added:

"All of that experience that young people have in individually becoming better players, and understanding what is out there and how the game is played, it really makes them better experienced and more worldly players when they get to the NHL.

"They're better prepared to play than ever before."

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